Increasing Potassium in Diet Can Lower Blood Pressure


Potassium and sodium work in opposition to one another in the body. A decrease in potassium levels causes the body to hold onto sodium and water, and this may increase blood pressure. An increase in potassium causes sodium and water to leave the body, and this may decrease blood pressure. Diets high in potassium are linked to a decreased risk of stroke in people with normal and high blood pressure.

There is no better way to lower blood pressure than by indulging in potassium-rich fruit and vegetables. Melons such as cantaloupe and watermelon are particularly high in potassium. One-fourth of a cantaloupe contains 800 to 900 milligrams of potassium, roughly 20 percent of the recommended daily value. Two cups of watermelon contains nearly 10 percent of the daily recommended value. Apricots, avocados, figs, kiwi, oranges, raisins, dates, beans, potatoes, tomatoes, and grapefruit are other good sources of potassium.

Aside from weight loss, this is the most important dietary choice to help lower blood pressure associated with hypertension. Increased fruit and vegetable dietary choices can be beneficial for treating these problems. If people increased their potassium intakes, the number of adults with high blood pressure could be decreased by 10 percent.

(Source: Journal of Clinical Hypertension, 2008; 10:2-11.)

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