Only 20% to 30% of the Western population have an ideal blood pressure of lower than 120/80 mmHg.
While blood pressure tends to rise with age, diet and lifestyle play a vital role in managing blood pressure. Science has previously confirmed that low intakes of potassium and high intakes of sodium are not congruent with maintaining a healthy blood pressure level.
A new study, by food researchers at Wageningen University’s Human Nutrition Dept., investigated potassium consumption in 21 different countries, including the United States. The study was published in the Internal Medicine journal.
The research further confirmed that increasing “good” potassium salts have a role in maintaining blood pressure. Specifically, the study concluded that increasing potassium could help improve blood pressure, and that this favorable blood pressure effect would be equivalent to halving intake of “bad” sodium salts.
The study found that certain countries, such as New Zealand, Germany, United States, Netherlands, and China, only have an average potassium intake of 1.7 to 3.7 grams per day; substantially lower than the recommended 4.7 grams per day. Meanwhile, the average salt consumption for Western countries could be as high as 12 grams per day. WHO recommends salt intake not exceed 5 grams per day.
Many people are unaware that table salt is not their only salt intake source, as processed foods (from bread to soups) are full of salt. Many brands of frozen dinner entrées can provide over three times the daily recommended allowance of salt. In fact, the USDA estimates that 77% of the average persons’ salt intake is from processed food. However, as the above study shows, healthy blood pressure is achieved not only with decreasing salt intake, but by simultaneously increasing potassium.
Examples Of Potassium Rich Foods
- Swiss Chard
- Soy beans
- Lima beans
- Winter squash
- Sweet potatoes
- Baked potatoes
- Tomato paste and puree
- Plain non-fat yogurt
- Prune juice
- Carrot juice
- Yellow fin tuna
- Pacific Cod