For those who suffer from high blood pressure, finding ways to lower it can be a challenge. From stress management to leading a healthier and more active lifestyle, there are a variety of ways to help lower your blood pressure. Nutrition, of course, is an integral part of good health in general. While excessive salt is often viewed as the enemy of blood pressure (and rightfully so), there is something that can be increased in order to help lower your blood pressure: potassium.
A report by Dr. Michael Roizen and Dr. Mehmet Oz appearing in The Toronto Star encourages individuals with high blood pressure to increase their potassium intake. The doctors call potassium the “missing mystery mineral in your own better-blood-pressure equation.” The report further states that potassium actively lowers blood pressure because of its ability to fight back against sodiums attempt to spike it. While it’s important to increase the potassium in one’s diet, addressing the issue of sodium intake is a growing concern. By lowering your sodium levels and increasing your intake of potassium, hopefully high blood pressure can become a thing of the past.
For every 600-milligram increase in the amount of potassium you intake, your blood pressure can actually lower by a point. However, for the 50 percent of American’s who suffer from high blood pressure, they are actually getting twice as much sodium as they are potassium. This is largely due in part to overly processed and unhealthy diet choices, and it really should be the other way around. Ideally, one would ingest about two to five times more potassium than sodium.
The good news is that there are a lot of ways to increase your potassium intake. Leafy greens like Swiss chard and spinach are typically high in potassium, as are kale and cabbage. Try throwing them into a salad. If salads aren’t really your thing, turn to your spice cupboard. Cooking with certain spices can also help get your potassium intake up. Cooking with ginger or turmeric is a great way to start as both spices are rich in potassium. And of course, there are bananas, which are also an excellent source of potassium.
Image: It’s Greg