• The Natural Way to Reduce High Blood Pressure Levels

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    Potassium is a mineral found in varying amounts in almost all foods. Vegetables, especially green leafy varieties, are generally our richest sources of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that's crucial for life. It's necessary for the heart, kidneys, and other organs to work normally. Here are some of the foods that we should eat to gain more Potassium.

    According to Time Healthland:

    “A recent report shows that consuming just 4.7 grams of “good salt” (potassium) is the equivalent of cutting out 4 grams of “bad salt” (sodium) in terms of reducing blood pressure.

    But there are only so many bananas (.5g each) you can eat. Just in time for lunch, here's a list of 5 foods that can help boost your potassium intake.”

    The article goes on to list the following sources for potassium:

    1. Swiss chard (1 cup = 1g of potassium)
    2. Winter squash (1 cup = 1g)
    3. Avocado (1/2 Florida variety = .8g)
    4. Dried apricots (1/2 cup = .9)
    5. Baked potato (1 large = .9g)

    The new study found increasing intake of potassium could improve blood pressure levels at the population level.

    swiss chardDr. Mercola's Comments:

    Potassium, an essential mineral “salt” sometimes referred to as the “good salt,” is making headlines for its role in your blood pressure health. I do not agree with TIME's five food choices for potassium listed above (I'll explain why later), but I do suggest you make sure your diet includes foods high in potassium.

    It's long been known that people with higher intakes of potassium tend to have lower blood pressure levels, but a new study revealed just how great the benefit may be.

    Researchers determined that increasing average potassium intake to the recommended 4.7 grams a day would reduce systolic blood pressure by between 1.7 and 3.2 mm Hg on a population-wide scale. This decrease, they suggest, is similar to the reduction that would occur if Westerners lowered their salt intake by 4 grams a day.

    You can read my take on salt and blood pressure in this past article (namely, I believe sugar is a far greater contributor to high blood pressure than salt), but it's clear that processed foods are far too high in refined sodium. The researchers suggested a novel solution — using mineral salts in processed foods, which would replace some of the sodium with healthful potassium.

    The Potassium Blood-Pressure Connection

    A proper balance of potassium both inside and outside your cells is crucial for your body to function properly. As an electrolyte, potassium is a positive charged ion that must maintain a certain concentration (about 30 times higher inside than outside your cells) in order to carry out its functions, which includes interacting with sodium to help control nerve impulse transmission, muscle contraction and heart function.

    There is so much research showing a link between low levels of potassium and high blood pressure that researchers now believe increasing your levels should receive just as much attention as a low-salt diet in blood pressure management.

    The Best Food Sources of Potassium

    Many people immediately think of bananas when it comes to potassium, but you don't need to eat bananas to make sure you're getting enough (and because bananas are so high in sugar, I recommend you do not eat many of them at all).

    Bananas do contain potassium, but so does the vast majority of other fruits and veggies. Potassium is the predominant nutrient among most all fruits and vegetables, and there are other foods high in potassium out there.

    An avocado, for instance, has more than twice as much potassium as a banana and is rich in beneficial monounsaturated fat. The avocado was one of the five foods to make TIME's list above, and it, along with Swiss chard, are two great options.

    However, I do NOT recommend eating dried apricots or baked potatoes for their potassium. Both of these foods are high in sugar (white potatoes are a vegetable, but they digest more like a grain) and will raise insulin levels beyond what is ideal for most people — especially if you are struggling with high blood pressure.

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    Read full article: http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/10/16/foods-rich-in-potassium.aspx


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