Hypertension and Potassium

An adequate daily intake of Potassium may be an important part of preventing high blood pressure. This idea was first explored in rats whose incidence of stroke greatly declined when they were put on a potassium rich diet. Scientists suspected that the potassium was working to decrease the rats’ blood pressure because high blood pressure is the major risk factor for strokes. Their suspicion ultimately proved to be true and further research demonstrated that potassium has similar protective effects in humans. Now we know that people that have a diet low in potassium have increased risk for developing high blood pressure and for suffering a stroke.

Regardless of how exactly potassium accomplishes its positive effects and lowers blood pressure, scientists were able to prove that relaxed blood vessels are the ultimate effect of potassium.

Potassium is a relatively common mineral and can be found in many foods. Some of the good dietary sources of potassium include: Potatoes, Oranges, Bananas and Avocados.

Important:

We should all keep in mind that a balanced diet is the best way to benefit from potassium as studies have shown that potassium consumed in the form of actual food is superior to potassium taken by oral supplements. However, In the case where you need to take dietary supplements, you should only take them under the supervision of a knowledgeable health care provider, because of the potential for side effects and interactions with medications, especially with older adults.

Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper function of all cells, tissues, and organs in the human body. It is also an electrolyte, a substance that conducts electricity in the body, along with sodium, chloride, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium is crucial to heart function and plays a key role in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, making it important for normal digestive and muscular function, too. Many foods contain potassium, including all meats, some types of fish (such as salmon, cod and flounder) and many fruits, vegetables, and legumes. Dairy products are also good sources of potassium.

Having too much potassium in the blood is called hyperkalemia; having too little is known as hypokalemia. Keeping the right potassium balance in the body depends on the amount of sodium and magnesium in the blood. Too much sodium, common in diets that use a lot of salt, may increase the need for potassium. Diarrhea, vomiting, excessive sweating, malnutrition, malabsorption syndromes (such as Crohn’s disease) can also cause potassium deficiency, as well as use of a kind of heart medicine called loop diuretics.

Most people get all of the potassium they need from a healthy diet rich in vegetables and fruits. Older people have a greater risk of hyperkalemia because our kidneys are less efficient at eliminating potassium as we age. Older people should be careful when taking medication that may affect potassium levels. Again, whatever your age, talk to your doctor before taking potassium supplements.

Dosage for Adults: 2,000 mg or 51 Meq, including for pregnant and nursing women.

Bone Health

At least one study shows a positive link between a diet rich in potassium and bone health. More research is needed to determine whether a diet high in potassium can reduce bone turnover in people.

Hypokalemia

The most important use of potassium is to treat the symptoms of hypokalemia (low potassium), which include weakness, lack of energy, muscle cramps, stomach disturbances, an irregular heartbeat, and an abnormal EKG (electrocardiogram, a test that measures heart function). Hypokalemia is usually caused by the body losing too much potassium in the urine or intestines; it’s rarely caused by a lack of potassium in the diet. Hypokalemia can be life-threatening and should always be treated by a doctor.

High Blood Pressure

Some studies have linked low levels of potassium in the diet with high blood pressure. And there is some evidence that potassium supplements might cause a slight drop in blood pressure. But not all studies agree, two large studies found no effect on blood pressure. It may be that taking potassium only helps lower blood pressure if you’re not getting enough of this mineral to start with. Before taking potassium or any supplement for high blood pressure, talk to your doctor.

Stroke

People who get a lot of potassium in their diet have a lower risk of stroke. However, as I said earlier, potassium supplements don’t seem to have the same benefit as real food .

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD)

People with IBD (ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease) often have trouble absorbing nutrients from their intestine, and may have low levels of potassium and other important nutrients. If you have IBD, your doctor may check your potassium levels and recommend a supplement.

Dietary Sources:

Good sources of potassium include bananas, citrus juices (such as orange juice), avocados, cantaloupes, tomatoes, potatoes, lima beans, flounder, salmon, cod, chicken, and other meats.

For your Hypertension , here are 5 Foods Packed With Potassium

If an apple a day keeps the doctor away, then a banana a day may keep the leg cramps away. When people hear the word potassium, they often think immediately of bananas. While the yellow fruit is a decent source of the essential nutrient, it doesn’t pack the most punch though. We do need a good dose of potassium because this mineral not only potentially helps reducing hypertension but it can also help with bone growth and muscle cramping. So check out these five foods that are packed with potassium.

White Beans

One cup of white, mature seed beans contains about 1189 mg of potassium, which is 34 percent daily value.

Avocado

As a substitute for a banana, try an avocado a day to keep the doctor away. One cup of avocados accounts for 33 percent daily value with 1166 mg. Go ahead and snack on guacamole!

Dates

Make a date with dates after your next intense workout. The little fruits pack the potassium with 964 mg (or 28 percent daily value) in one cup.

Baked Potato

There is no doubt that a potato is a potassium hero. One large baked potato (with skin and flesh, without salt) contains 1600 mg of potassium, which accounts for nearly half the daily value of the mineral at 46 percent.

Raisins

If you need a reason to love raisins, this may be it. A cup of seedless raisins has 1236 mg (35 percent daily value).

Eat Healthy… Live Healthy… and have an awesome day 🙂