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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Controllable Risk Factors: Low Potassium Intake — an article on the Smart Living Network
March 2, 2010 at 5:32 AMComments: 0 Faves: 0

High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Controllable Risk Factors: Low Potassium Intake


High Blood Pressure (hypertension) Controllable Risk Factors: Low Potassium Intake This eight-part series continues with the controllable risk factor of high blood pressure: low potassium intake.

Low potassium intake

It's been scientifically and medically proven potassium benefits blood pressure. In a 2001 study, participants ate 8.5 servings of fruits and vegetables a day. These servings provided 4,100mg of potassium. The direct result of this diet was evidenced by the lower blood pressure levels - 7.2/2.8mmHg. The recommended daily dose of potassium is 4,700mg. The DASH diet will be discussed as an option for healthy diet for those who live with high blood pressure.

What food sources provide excellent potassium properties?

Simply put, fruits and vegetables are the best and most delicious way to get your potassium intake. Excellent sources of potassium include bananas, beans, potatoes, and tofu. Most fruits and vegetables contain good sources of potassium.

Cooking tips include

Baked, roasted, and steamed vegetables provide the best sources of potassium. Boiling draws the potassium out of foods.

Some interesting food facts

When considering food choices, you should know ham contains eight times more sodium than it does potassium. And, canned chicken soup as 34 times more sodium than it does potassium. An orange doesn't contain any sodium, but contains a lot of potassium. And, you will find 33 times more potassium in boiled peas than sodium.

The science behind it

  1. Adequate potassium intake lowers hypertension.
  2. An increase in potassium reduces salt and together, they lower high blood pressure.
  3. An abundance of potassium reduces the risk of stroke.
  4. Potassium prevents Glomerular, renal vascular, and tubular damage.
  5. An increased potassium intake reduces urinary calcium excretion. In turn, that reduces the chance of kidney stones and prevents bone destruction.
  6. Increased potassium is known to reduce heart disease, heart failure, ventricular arrhythmias, and ventricular hypertrophy risk.
  7. Potassium and sodium work together to control fluids and neutralize acid-alkaline in the blood.
  8. For potassium and sodium to work in perfect harmony, the ratio of 5:1 must be present. That is, potassium must be five parts to one part sodium.
  9. When the body has too much salt and not enough potassium, fluid retention results as potassium is lost through the urine.
  10. The culmination of too little potassium and too much salt provide the perfect foundation for high blood pressure.

Usually, when sodium or potassium is mentioned, they are discussed together. It seems most Americans eat too much sodium and too little potassium. Specifically, Americans consume twice as much salt as potassium. The balance of potassium and sodium are evidenced when potassium actually combats the presence of too much sodium to favor blood pressure. The balance also results in reduced risk for bone loss and kidney stones.

What else can be done?

As long as you're considering changing your diet, look at other healthy options. Eliminate unhealthy fats and include low-fat foods. If you smoke, stop. If you drink, do so in moderation. While you're concentrating on including potassium in your diet, don't forget to address your high blood pressure.

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