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Potassium rich foods lower blood pressure

Last Updated: 15 December 2018

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Potassium rich foods lower blood pressure

It’s probably no surprise that a high salt diet can negatively impact blood pressure. But, did you know a potassium rich diet can help reverse salts negative impacts?

Salt vs potassium

Salt is important in our diet as it helps our body to function efficiently. It is particularly responsible for sending nerve impulses, contracting muscles and maintaining hydration and mineral balance. Too much salt in the diet however can cause high blood pressure resulting in damage to blood vessels and increased risk of complications such as stroke and heart disease.

Potassium on the other hand helps to lessen the effects of salt on blood pressure. The mineral helps the body to eliminate salt by excreting it through the urine. Potassium also eases the tension in blood vessel walls, reducing the damaging nature of high blood pressure.

 

Potassium in your diet

It is recommended that the average adult has an intake of 4,700mg of potassium in their diet per day. For some context, an average size banana contains roughly 420mg. Recommended intakes can vary depending upon age, gender and health status so it is important to check your personalised recommendation (a good place to start: Nutrient reference values).

 

Potassium rich foods:

  • Apricots

  • Bananas

  • Cantaloupe and honeydew melon

  • Fat-free or low-fat (1%) milk

  • Fat-free yogurt

  • Grapefruit (talk to your GP if you’re taking a cholesterol-lowering drug)

  • Green vegetables

  • Halibut

  • Lima beans

  • Mushrooms

  • Oranges

  • Peas

  • Prunes

  • Spinach

  • Sweet potato

  • Tomatoes

  • Tuna

 

Please be aware: A high potassium diet can be harmful for people with kidney disorders. Please seek personalised advice with a healthcare professional before drastically changing your dietary habits.

 

Salt in your diet

It is recommended salt intake is less than ¾ teaspoon per day. This may seem easy to control until realising that the majority of salt in our diet comes from pre-packaged foods. Foods such as sauces, cheese, breads, ready-meals, cereals and processed meats are the worst culprits. It can be quite surprising how much salt is in everyday food items. Therefore it is important to check nutrition panels to choose the best low salt option. As a quick guide, low salt is considered to be less than 0.3g per 100g and high salt to be more than 1.5g per 100g.

Avoid adding salt to meals while cooking and also when eating at the table. Instead of salt, reach for herbs and spices! Spices are a great way to reduce salt intake but to also keep your taste buds happy.

 

Written by

Perri Simon

SiSU Wellness Nutritionist

 

 

Sources
https://www.nrv.gov.au/nutrients/potassium
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HighBloodPressure/MakeChangesThatMatter/How-Potassium-Can-Help-Control-High-Blood-Pressure_UCM_303243_Article.jsp#.WZOeddOGPSw

Categories:
Blood pressure
Heart health
Nutrition
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