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Sodium and Blood Pressure

A cornerstone of high blood pressure management is lifestyle changes. This includes eating healthy, decreasing processed foods, regular exercise, weight control and limiting alcohol intake. One of the common recommendations is to limit sodium intake to less than 1500 milligrams per day. In fact the American Heart Association estimates if Americans would decrease sodium intake to this level the lowering of blood pressure would result in over $26 billion in savings.

Potassium, and Blood Pressure

Sodium is only part of the puzzle. So lets introduce you to potassium. Potassium is an important ingredient in managing blood pressure.  A diet high in salt (or sodium) is associated with high blood pressure. People who cut back on their salt intake can lower  blood pressure by as much as eight points. 

Potassium can can have an effect on blood pressure also.  Instead of cutting back on potassium the goal is to increase potassium intake.  The average American adult consumes only half of the recommended 4700 mg of potassium every day. Increasing potassium intake to this level would result in significant reductions in blood pressure, enough to lower your risk of dying from heart attack and stroke.

Increasing Potassium Intake

Even though consuming more potassium is associated with lower blood pressure,  the evidence that potassium supplements will lower your blood pressure is not very compelling.  On the other hand, evidence supporting an increase in potassium intake through diet is very strong. In fact, the DASH diet strongly recommends eating foods high in potassium. DASH is an acronym for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and it is the gold standard diet for people with high blood pressure.

Foods High in Potassium

Since diet is the best way to increase potassium intake, it makes sense to select foods high in potassium. A few examples of foods high in potassium include a medium peach (200 mg),  a small banana (467 mg), a medium potato with the skin (422 mg), a sweet potato with skin (508 mg), 1/2 cup of cooked asparagus (200 mg), raisins: one of those 28 gram boxes (210 mg) and 1 cup of shredded coconut (285 mg).

There many more foods rich in potassium. Here is a list high potassium foods. https://rxdon.com/foods-high-in-potassium/ Use this list and include these items in your diet. In addition to having plenty of potassium these foods provide lots of other healthy nutrients.