Teens: Keep the Salt, but Eat a Banana

Teens: Keep the Salt, but Eat a Banana

Bananas (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)
Bananas (AP Photo/Amy Sancetta)

 

(Nature World Report) – Teenagers, with their innate drive to do things that will come as close as possible to killing them without actually doing so, eat a lot of salt. And that’s bad, kind of! As the thinking goes, a higher salt intake leads to higher blood pressure, which leads to a higher chance of being dead. However, according to a new study of teenage girls by Boston University’s School of Medicine, salt intake appears to have no effect on blood pressure. Potassium, however, does.

“It may be that potassium is more of a determinant of blood pressure than sodium is,” said Lynn L. Moore, the study’s lead author and an associate professor of medicine at Boston University. “The kids who consumed the most potassium had much lower blood pressures by the end of adolescence. What we need to focus on is increasing potassium intake rather than focusing on restricting sodium intake.”

The study tracked the eating habits and blood pressure of 9- and 10-year-old girls for up to 10 years. Their findings were surprising: Not only did a high sodium intake appear to have little negative effect on blood pressure, but some girls who consumed up to 3,500 mg of sodium per day had lower blood pressure than those who consumed 2,500 mg daily. The real determinant, they found, was potassium. Teenage girls who consumed more potassium routinely had healthier blood pressure levels.

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