Best food source for potassium to lower blood pressure

It has long been known that people who eat large amounts of potassium experience low blood pressure. Raising average potassium intakes to the population recommended level of 4.7 grams per day would lower systolic blood pressure levels by 1.7 to 3.2 mm Hg. This reduction is equivalent to that which would be observed if Westerners reduced their salt intake by 4 grams per day.

The link between potassium and blood pressure

For your body to function properly, it is essential to maintain a good balance of potassium, both inside and outside of cells. Since potassium is an electrolyte, it is a positively charged ion that must remain sufficiently concentrated (about 30 times more concentrated inside cells than outside). In order to be able to play its role, this means, among other things, interacting with sodium in order to control nerve transmission, muscle contractions and heart function.

So much research has shown the link between low potassium and high blood pressure that researchers are now convinced that increasing potassium levels is as important in controlling high blood pressure as a poor-salt diet.

Signs of potassium deficiency

Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, but if you have a diet rich in processed foods, you probably aren’t getting enough of it. In addition, it is generally recommended to consume five times more potassium than sodium. But since most of the population in industrialized countries eats a diet rich in processed foods that are loaded with sodium, the majority of them have two times higher intakes of sodium than potassium.

If you have high blood pressure, this could be a sign of a deficiency in potassium, this precious mineral. Likewise, dehydration caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sweating can lower potassium levels, as can some medications, including diuretics, laxatives, chemotherapy, and steroid anti-inflammatories.

Signs of severe potassium deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, abdominal pain and cramps. In severe cases, arrhythmia and muscle paralysis may be observed.

The best food sources for potassium

When talking about potassium, most people immediately think of bananas. But you don’t have to eat bananas to ensure you get enough potassium. Especially since bananas are also high in sugar.

Bananas contain potassium, but like the vast majority of other fruits and vegetables. Potassium is the predominant nutrient in most fruits and vegetables, but there are other food sources of potassium.

Avocados, for example, have twice as much potassium as bananas and are rich in the good monounsaturated fats.

However, as a general rule, you should get enough potassium by eating a variety of vegetables, including:

Swiss chard (960 mg potassium per 175 g)

Avocado (874 mg per 230 g)

Spinach (838 mg per 180 g)

Cremini mushrooms (635 mg per 140 g)

Broccoli (505 mg per 160 g)

Brussels sprouts (494 mg per 160 g)

Celery (344 mg per 150 g)

Romaine lettuce (324 mg per 90 g)

If you have high blood pressure, it is recommended that you improve your potassium intake. The current recommended daily allowance for adults is 4,700 mg.

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* Presse Santé strives to impart medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In no way can the information provided replace medical advice.

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