FOODS RICH IN POTASSIUM LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Eating fruits and vegetables is known to bring us maximum benefits on our health. But the mystery of the potential of certain vegetables and fruits still places them on the benches of research laboratories. In this way, a study by the University of Southern California ( USC ), published in the American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism , in April 2017 , reveals new avenues for lowering blood pressure type of food.
EATING FOODS HIGH IN POTASSIUM COULD LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Eating foods rich in potassium such as avocados, spinach, sweet potatoes, beans, bananas – and even coffee – could be the key to lowering blood pressure, the study explains . Decreased sodium intake is a well-established way of lowering blood pressure, but current data suggest that increasing dietary potassium can have an equally important effect on hypertension.
Hypertension is a global health problem that affects more than one billion people worldwide. The World Health Organization ( WHO ) estimates that hypertension is responsible for at least 51% of deaths due to stroke and 45% of deaths due to heart disease.
WHY IS HYPERTENSION A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH PROBLEM?
“Cardiovascular disease is responsible for about 17 million deaths a year worldwide, nearly one third of total mortality. Of this number, 9.4 million deaths a year are attributable to complications of hypertension. – WHO
The study explores the relationship between blood pressure and sodium, potassium and the sodium-potassium ratio. The review focused on population, intervention and molecular mechanisms studies that investigated the effects of sodium and potassium on high blood pressure. The evaluation revealed several population studies demonstrating that higher dietary potassium (estimated from urinary excretion or dietary recall) was associated with lower blood pressure, regardless of sodium intake. Intervention studies with potassium supplements have also suggested that potassium provides a direct benefit.
The research team reviewed recent studies of rodent models in their own laboratory and others to illustrate the mechanisms of potassium advantage. These studies indicated that the body performs an equilibrium act, which uses sodium to maintain close control of potassium levels in the blood, which is essential to normal cardiac, nerve and muscle function.
When the dietary potassium is high, the kidneys exceed more salt and water, which increases the excretion of potassium. Eating a high potassium diet is like taking a diuretic.
OUR ANCESTORS HAD A DIET RICH IN POTASSIUM
Our early ancestors had primitive diets rich in fruits, roots, vegetables, beans and grains (all higher in potassium) and very little sodium. As a result, humans evolved “to fear” sodium – but not potassium. However, modern diets have changed drastically since food processors add salt to satisfy our cravings – and processed foods are usually low in potassium.
If you eat a typical Western diet, our sodium intake is high and our intake of potassium is low. This greatly increases our chances of developing high blood pressure. ” When dietary potassium is low, the ‘balancing process’ uses sodium retention to contain the limited potassium, which is like eating a higher diet ,” the study said.
BUT HOW MUCH FOOD POTASSIUM SHOULD WE CONSUME?
“A report in 2004 recommends that adults consume at least 4.7 grams of potassium per day to lower blood pressure, bypass the effects of dietary sodium and reduce the risk of kidney stones and bone loss,” the researchers said.
Eating about ¾ of a cup of black beans, for example, helps to reach nearly 50% of the daily potassium goal.Finally, researchers recommend developing public health policies to increase the intake of dietary potassium from plant sources. They also advocate adding specific potassium content to nutrition labels to educate consumers about potassium sources.