According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), having high blood pressure (hypertension) puts you at risk for both heart disease and stroke. These conditions are leading causes of death in the United States. About 78 million Americans (32%) have high blood pressure. This contributes to about one million heart attacks and 800,000 strokes each year. The higher your pressure reading, the greater your health risk. Only about half (54%) the people have the condition under control.
People are frequently unaware they have hypertension as there are no obvious symptoms. For that reason, an elevated blood pressure reading during a doctor of clinic visit might be your first sign of a problem. As pressure readings change frequently, it’s important to keep a regular eye on your blood pressure. In addition to regular blood pressure checks, try to address diet and lifestyle modifications if necessary.
Decreasing stress and lowering weight are two important and effective strategies for addressing this problem. But, there is another little known diet strategy to decrease your blood pressure. That strategy is decreasing your sodium along with increasing your dietary potassium. It’s an easy first step to controlling what is called the “silent killer.”
Potassium rich foods to lower blood pressure naturally
We’ve all heard that reducing sodium intake can help lower blood pressure. What consumers are less aware of is that decreasing the salt in your diet may be only 50% of what you need to do to prevent high blood pressure and stroke risk. The rest of the story has to do with eating enough potassium rich foods. Potassium is found primarily in unprocessed whole foods. Consequently, it’s easy to get to the 4700 mg recommended potassium intake when eating lots of calories and unprocessed foods.
However, if you limit your calories and eat a lot of junky processed food, it’s much harder to reach your potassium recommendations. In order to get the most potassium for the least amount of sodium, consider eating the listed foods. In addition to being loaded with nutrients to lessen stroke and heart attack risk, these foods are high in fiber to fill you up. It’s noteworthy, that all that extra fiber is a great way to control appetite and shed a few pounds as well. Finally, weight loss can be very important in decreasing blood pressure.
Potassium rich foods that are also low in sodium
Potassium (mgs) Sodium (mgs)
One medium potato 926 17
One cup winter squash 896 2
One cup low sodium V-8 juice 820 140
½ cup pitted dates 584 2
One cup low sodium tomato juice 556 24
½ cup spinach 510 25
3.5 oz. sweet potato 398 68
½ cup kidney beans 370 1
One small banana 362 0
1/3 avocado 356 2
½ cup prune juice 353 5
½ cup uncooked oatmeal 335 2
1.5 oz. box raisins 322 5
3 oz. cooked beef or chicken 290 47
½ cup cooked broccoli 278 29
One cup raw sliced mangos 257 3
¼ cup wheat germ 256 3
½ cup any melon 242 27
4 ounces orange juice 240 1
½ cup cooked carrots 183 45
One oz. walnuts (14 halves) 125 1
One tablespoon ground flaxseed 82 4
By choosing more of these foods, you will slash your sodium while boosting your potassium. This boosts your chances of steering clear of stroke and heart attacks by normalizing your blood pressure! And, you may be able to eliminate or decrease your use of medication.