High potassium foods make up a diet that improves hypertension and the associated heart and vascular diseases and strokes. It also improves bone density and reduces the chance of kidney stones. More and more medical studies show how less sodium and more potassium in our diet improve our health.
What Is Hypertension?
Hypertension is persistent high blood pressure. Blood pressure is the amount of force that the blood stream exerts against arterial walls. It consists of two numbers. The first is the higher number. It happens when the heart pushes more blood into the arteries. This temporarily causes more pressure, and is the systolic pressure. The second number happens when the heart chamber refills with blood. This is the diastolic pressure. Hypertension is when blood pressure is 140/90 or more on a consistent basis.
Below 120/80 is normal blood pressure. Blood pressure between normal and high blood pressure previously was pre-hypertension. Those who are pre-hypertensive are more likely to eventually develop hypertension. Now systolic blood pressure of 120 to 129 is elevated blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure of 130 to 139 or diastolic blood pressure of 80 to 89 is Stage 1 hypertension.
High potassium foods are especially helpful to hypertensives and pre-hypertensives. The hypertensive person can lower blood pressure, possibly reducing the need for medication. And the pre-hypertensive may be able to put off or avoid the day for the need for medication. However, you should never go off or change your medication until told to do so by your doctor.
Some Causes Of Secondary Hypertension
There are a few conditions that cause hypertension that will not be helped by a high potassium diet, or any change in lifestyle. Chronic kidney disease, parathyroid or adrenal gland problems, certain pills, a narrowed kidney artery, and some pregnancies can cause hypertension that would not be helped by a high potassium diet.
Lifestyle Choices Are Key
But in the great majority of cases, changes in lifestyle will have a big impact on blood pressure. Being overweight, smoking, diabetes, and drinking too much alcohol are all aspects of lifestyle that, if corrected, will improve blood pressure. However, the most often neglected, and incredibly common, contributor to hypertension in America is a poor ratio of potassium to sodium in the diet.
About one third of American adults have hypertension. Even those who have normal blood pressure at age 50 have a 90% chance of eventually developing it. More and more young people develop it. A key factor to preventing hypertension is lifestyle.
Can Damage Be Reversed?
A change in lifestyle makes an enormous difference. The earlier started, the better. Although researchers think much of the damage in the heart and blood vessels becomes irreversible, there are increasing reports of objective reversal of the damage. Nonetheless, it is better to prevent the damage than to try to correct it.
Physicians often mention changing certain lifestyle factors to improve or prevent hypertension. Stop smoking, exercise regularly, limit alcohol to one or two drinks a day, lose weight, and eat a heart healthy diet. But the details of a heart healthy diet are usually limited to the advice of avoiding saturated fat and limiting salt.
A high potassium foods diet is automatically a heart healthy diet. Although it would be possible to get too much saturated fat on a high potassium foods diet, it would be difficult. There are only a few high potassium foods that are also high in saturated fat.
The high potassium foods diet consists of getting 4700 mg of potassium and less than 1500 mg of sodium a day. This is easily possible by eating a balance of vegetables, fruits, meats, dairy, and nuts from the tables on this website. Click on the tab labeled “Links To Food Potassium Tables” at the top of the page to find the tables. We discussed how to start the diet on a prior post. By creative use of spices, the meals will be as tasty as they are healthy.