You may be able to eat your way to a lower blood pressure with potassium rich foods

Apr 7 2017 - 5:35am
Enjoying a banana

Researchers say that eating foods which are rich in potassium such as bananas, spinach and beans may be a key to lowering blood pressure.

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High blood pressure is often called the silent killer which you are often not aware of and yet which may be associated with heart attack, stroke and other serious health problems. It appears that a good diet which is rich in potassium may help lower your blood pressure.

Research has linked increased consumption of dietary potassium with lower blood pressure

University of Southern California - Health Sciences has reported that research has linked increased consumption of dietary potassium with lower blood pressure. Alicia McDonough, PhD, who is a professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine of the University of Southern California (USC), says that a key to decreasing blood pressure could be consuming foods which are rich in potassium such as avocados, spinach, bananas, potatoes and perhaps even coffee.

Greater than one billion people across the world suffer from hypertension

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McDonough says that lowering intake of sodium has been established as a way to decrease blood pressure. He thinks that evidence has suggested that increasing intake of potassium may be just as important in fighting hypertension. This is a very significant consideration in view of the fact that greater than one billion people across the world suffer from hypertension. It has been estimated by the World Health Organization that 51 percent of deaths from stroke and 45 percent of deaths from heart disease are due to hypertension.

McDonough has explained that when potassium in the diet is high the kidneys excrete more salt and water, which results on increased excretion of potassium. Therefore it's like taking a diuretic to eat a high potassium diet. If you generally eat a standard Western diet your consumption of sodium intake is high and your potassium consumption is low. McDonough says this diet therefore significantly increases your risk of getting high blood pressure.

Public health policies to increase consumption of dietary potassium from plant sources should be developed

It has been recommended by a 2004 Institute of Medicine report that adults consume a minimum of 4.7 grams of potassium daily to lower blood pressure, while also blunting the effects of dietary sodium and lowering the risks of kidney stones and bone loss. You can achieve 50 percent of the daily goal for potassium consumption by eating
¾ cup of black beans. It has been recommended by McDonough that public health policies to increase consumption of dietary potassium from plant sources should be developed.

This study has been published in the American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology And Metabolism. Hypertension has been ranked as a leading risk factor globally for disease, and specifically for cardiovascular disease, by the World Health Organization. It appears from this study that public health initiatives which are directed toward increasing consumption of potassium rich natural foods would lower blood pressure and therefore risk for cardiovascular and kidney disease. It seems like a good idea to enjoy more potassium rich foods in your daily diet.

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