IT’S ALL A QUESTION OF BALANCE
The human body requires potassium and sodium in a balanced molar ratio of 1:1 and a mass ratio of 1:1.7. When this is the case, it has different positive effects on a person’s health. Sodium and potassium help the nervous system function properly, support muscle function and keep blood pressure at a balanced level.
SALTY FOOD, HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE
Unfortunately, many foodstuffs contain too much sodium. Examples include snacks and frozen food as well as dairy products, salad dressing, and baked goods. Due to this excess, we consume more sodium each day than we actually need. This creates health problems, because too much sodium leads to high blood pressure, promotes heart diseases, and increases the risk of a stroke. One billion people worldwide suffer from high blood pressure.
Potassium plays a key role in combating this problem. Leading health experts from the WHO, the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA), and the German Nutrition Society (DGE) have recommended a more potassium-rich diet for years. The DGE, for example, recommends that adults consume about 4,000 mg of potassium per day, which is much higher than the current intake. The situation is reversed when it comes to sodium, for which the estimated average intake is much higher than that recommended by the DGE. The recommended intake is 1,500 mg per day, which corresponds to less than one teaspoon of table salt.
Potassium replaces sodium
For this reason, more than 35 countries have to date launched initiatives for reducing the proportion of sodium in the body. The aim is to increase potassium intake in order to restore a healthy human electrolyte balance. In addition to potassium-rich foods such as bananas and nuts, potassium derivatives from Evonik can play an important role in achieving this goal. Evonik offers a wide variety of such products, ranging from potassium hydroxide and potassium carbonate to potassium bicarbonate, also known as potassium hydrogen carbonate.
The possible uses are correspondingly varied. Potassium bicarbonate, for example, is contained in effervescent tablets. When the potassium bicarbonate dissolves in water, it reacts with the citric acid contained in the tablet. This releases CO2 and causes the water to fizz.
HEALTHIER BAKING WITH POTASSIUM BICARBONATE
Potassium bicarbonate is also of interest for producers of baked goods who pursue statutory or self-imposed reduction goals for sodium. That’s because conventional baking powders often contain sodium bicarbonate. If manufacturers use potassium bicarbonate instead, baked goods such as rolls and muffins can greatly reduce the amount of sodium in the body.