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Lower Blood Pressure Through Potassium Intake

Bananas: The #1 Source of Potassium Although the traditional activities of exercise and diet are cited as the best contributors toward better blood pressure, current research shows that potassium intake can also be an effective factor. As was published in the July 2008 issue of Journal of Clinical Hypertension, an adjustment in one’s consumption of high potassium foods can not only prevent the risk of high blood pressure, but also help in lowering the blood pressure of those already afflicted with hypertension.

Tennessee Doctors Mark C. Houston of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Karen J. Harper of Harper Medical Communications, Inc. both note the reasoning behind high blood pressure and heart disease is the lack of potassium in the typical diet. They refer to vegetarians and people living in isolated areas to solidify this point. Potassium is found in fruits and vegetables and both of these groups are known to include a significant amount in their diet. Furthermore, they are also prone to consume less sodium. A healthy balance between the levels of potassium and sodium one eats is what helps potassium function efficiently within the body. 

This is a tremendous contrast with the average person’s processed diet, which has them eating double the recommended amount of sodium and half the recommended amount of potassium (which is 4.7 grams per day, according to the American Heart Association as of 2006). In societies where fruits and vegetables are typically undesirable and rarely eaten, the effect is startling.  Houston and Harper found that while only one percent of those living in isolated areas have been diagnosed with hypertension, a staggering one out of three citizens of industrious areas suffer from it.    

Houston and Harper strongly advocate eating potassium as an effective strategy, saying, “An increase in potassium with a decrease in sodium is probably the most important dietary choice (after weight loss) that should be implemented to reduce cardiovascular disease.” Should those living with hypertension heed this vital advice, more than ten percent of them can lower their blood pressure significantly.  The daily intake of five hundred to a thousand milligrams of magnesium and over eight hundred milligrams of calcium have also been proven through other studies to assist with blood pressure.

It must be noted that potassium provides other benefits and to be deficient allows room for risks to the body. This can range from acne or extremely dry skin to hypoglycemia or hypokalemia to even insomnia or depression. The most obvious way to lack potassium is through diet, but there are other ways that make it difficult for the body to absorb it. Taking certain prescription drugs like steroids, penicillin, ACE-inhibitors and diuretics, eating disorders, alcohol or laxative abuse can all negatively affect potassium intake. 

When potassium is consumed correctly it can aid in allergies and blood pressure, as previously discussed. It is a mineral that brings nutrients to the cells and carries waste away from them. Again, it requires a healthy balance with sodium to be effective. The balance lessens the chance of a stroke and assists in the conversion of carbohydrates to energy. The level of potassium must be larger than the level of sodium in the body. This creates the membrane potential, which contributes to a person’s nerve, muscle and heart functions through the carrying of electrical messages between them.

Related Posts

  1. Walk to Lower Blood Pressure
  2. Potassium-Enriched Salt Lowers Cardiovascular Disease Risk, Research Suggests
  3. Cocoa Flavonoids Lower Blood Pressure, Study Shows
  4. The health risks of Beta-Blockers to lower blood pressure outweigh the benefits…
  5. Study Says High Sodium Levels in Children is Cause for Concern
  


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