A study published this month in Internal Medicine showed that those with the highest dietary potassium intake, coupled with the lowest sodium intake, had the lowest risk of dying from cardiovascular events (heart attack, stroke). With the opposite diet (high sodium, low potassium), there is a 46% increased chance of cardiovascular death.
What this means is that we not only should be cautious about our salt intake, but also make sure we’re getting plenty of potassium-rich foods, too — namely fruits and veggies, like bananas, oranges, grapes, carrots, and leafy greens. Keep in mind that, on average, about three-quarters of the salt in the Standard American Diet (S.A.D.) comes from processed foods (packaged foods, fast foods), not the salt shaker. By sticking with freshly prepared whole foods, then, you take care of both lowering sodium and raising potassium in one fell swoop. Sounds like the Mediterranean diet to me.
Once again, we can dissect out individual nutrients like this, but by focusing on whole, minimally processed foods, we usually have all the bases covered.