Shield against high blood pressure with a high potassium, low sodium diet.
Many articles covering high blood pressure repeatedly warn against sodium overload, which is a major health problem in the U.S. and globally. According to American Heart Association, the average American consumes about 3,400 milligrams of sodium a day – more than twice the 1,500 milligrams recommended. The problem is not just in chips ― more than 75 percent of a person’s sodium consumption comes from processed and restaurant foods.
In fact, the AHA has even identified what it calls the “Salty Six” ― the top sources for sodium in today’s diet: breads and rolls; cold cuts and cured meats (one 2 oz. serving, or 6 thin slices, of deli meat can contain half the daily recommended sodium intake); pizza (1 slice with toppings can have more than half the daily intake); poultry; soup (1 cup canned can contain more than half the daily intake); and sandwiches (a fast food burger or sandwich can contain more than 100% of daily intake).
By cutting the average daily sodium intake by more than half — to less than 1,500 milligrams per day, high blood pressure could decrease nearly 26 percent and more than $26 billion in healthcare costs would be saved over just a year. However, cutting sodium intake alone will not eliminate hypertension.
There is another secret weapon against sodium, and that is potassium. Potassium is gaining scientific recognition for its role in lowering blood pressure by relaxing blood vessel walls and in counteracting the negative impact of sodium ― the more potassium one consumes, the more sodium is excreted through urine and out of the body. The recommended daily intake of potassium for an average adult is about 4,700 milligrams. So, while high sodium intake may cause hypertension, if combined with a low potassium diet ―the risks are much higher. This combination is typical of Western diet, such as in the U.S.
Consuming more potassium is not an excuse to not be concerned about the amount of salt in one’s diet, but it can definitely help blunt the blood pressure-raising effects of sodium. Potassium is also only part of a total diet and hypertensives need to watch their intake of dietary fat, cholesterol, protein, fiber, calcium and magnesium.
Besides increasing potassium, people with high blood pressure seeking a natural way to deal with their condition can try RESPeRATE — the first medical device that has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure and reduce stress.