WHO Publishes New Potassium, Sodium Guidance

February 8, 2013

The agency urges for more potassium and less salt.

The WHO has come out with new guidance on potassium and sodium intake, urging the global population to consume more potassium-rich foods and less salt. The organization released guidelines for these nutrients at the same time because they are both understood as being tied to blood pressure:

 

A person with either elevated sodium levels and low potassium levels could be at risk of raised blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.

 

Adults should reach a daily minimum of 3510 mg of potassium, according to the new guidance. The suggested intake should be adjusted down for children. Potassium-rich foods include beans, peas, vegetables such as spinach and cabbage, and fruits such as dates and bananas.

Adults at risk of stroke and heart disease should also aim for under 2000 mg of sodium (5000 mg of salt) daily.

The WHO recommends the use of its new guidance for purposes of food and product labelling, consumer education, updating of national dietary guidelines, and negotiating with food manufacturers for lower salt levels in processed foods. Guidelines for fat and sugar intake are scheduled for an update in the near future.