A study conducted out of the Wageningen University and Research Centre revealed that an increased intake of “good” potassium salts could contribute significantly to improving blood pressure on average across the population.
This type of salt is not the type of salt found in processed foods or in your salt shaker (sodium-based), it refers to potassium, which is sometimes referred to as the “other” salt.
The research found that the positive effect brought about by potassium was even estimated to be comparable with the blood pressure reduction achievable by reducing consumption of “bad” sodium salts by as much as a half.
As researchers noted, as your blood pressure increases, your risk of developing heart disease also increases. In Western countries, where processed and fast foods are common, as well as the challenges of liberally using the salt shaker, just 20 to 30% of the population have optimal blood pressure, which is considered to be a systolic pressure of less than 120 mm Hg and diastolic pressure lower than 80 mm Hg.
Diet and lifestyle are key factors in managing blood pressure, and a high intake of sodium has long been known to increase pressure, while low intakes of potassium can also result in unfavorable effects on those numbers. Reducing your consumption of sodium and increasing your consumption of potassium are good ways to help improve that blood pressure reading.
The average intake of potassium across 21 different countries, including the U.S., China and Germany, is said to vary between 1.7 and 3.7 grams per day, which is considerably lower than the recommended amount of 4.7 grams per day. In Western countries salt consumption may be as high as 9 to 12 grams per day, much higher than the recommended amount of 5 grams, according to ScienceDaily.
Their research revealed that consuming just 4.7 grams of potassium is the equivalent of cutting out 4 grams of “bad salt,” or sodium, in terms of reducing blood pressure.
You probably already know that bananas are packed with potassium (0.5 grams each), but you probably don’t want to consume an entire bunch every day. Other foods that are high in potassium include:
- Swiss chard (1 cup = 1 gram of potassium)
- Winter squash (1 cup = 1 gram)
- Dried apricots (½ cup = 0.9g)
- Baked potato (1 large = 0.9g)
- Avocado (½ = 0.8g)
Adding bananas as well as some of the other high-potassium foods to your diet, while limiting or avoiding processed foods, along with regular exercise is a great way to improve your blood pressure levels and help to ensure optimal heart health.
-The Alternative Daily