Diet: Lower blood pressure with potassium


Lower blood pressure through diet?

Diet has a major impact on blood pressure, and foods high in potassium, in particular, can help lower high blood pressure. The medic Dr. Raghavendra Makam from the Cleveland Clinic in the US explains how potassium lowers blood pressure and which foods can get it.

Potassium is found in many foods. Consuming a sufficient amount every day lowers blood pressure and thus protects against various diseases.
Potassium is found in many foods. Consuming a sufficient amount every day lowers blood pressure and thus protects against various diseases.

Lower blood pressure with potassium

The German Society for Nutrition ( DGE ) reports that a high potassium intake in people with high blood pressure can have a blood pressure-lowering effect and at the same time reduce the risk of strokes. also, dr Makam confirms this effect and explains how potassium helps to lower blood pressure.

Potassium helps eliminate excess sodium

Potassium contributes directly to lowering blood pressure through its interaction with the kidneys and with sodium. “We know that too much sodium is bad for blood pressure, so the kidneys have a mechanism to excrete excess sodium to maintain blood pressure. Potassium helps the kidneys eliminate excess sodium instead of storing it,” explains Dr. Makam in a press release from the Cleveland Clinic.

Potassium improves vascular health

In addition, potassium can contribute to an improvement in general vascular health. According to the doctor, potassium reduces the tension in the walls of the blood vessels, and this, in turn, benefits heart health.

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“Because potassium has a positive effect on the entire vascular system, it helps to reduce several risks. As it supports the blood vessels in the brain, kidneys, and heart, it reduces the risk of stroke, kidney failure, and heart disease.

What foods can potassium be obtained from?

To meet potassium needs, Dr. Makam’s intake of about 4,700 to 5,000 milligrams of potassium per day. Potassium is found in various foods such as bananas. A medium-sized banana contains about 422 milligrams of potassium.

According to this, an intake of more than 10 bananas per day would be necessary to reach the recommended daily amount of potassium and since bananas are also high in calories, this would not be a good idea, according to Dr. Macam. Although you can eat bananas to get potassium, other fruits and vegetables are better suited here. The doctor cites the following as examples:

  • Cantaloupe-Melone,
  • Grapefruit,
  • Nectarine,
  • Kiwi,
  • carrots,
  • lima beans,
  • Spinach,
  • Avocados.

Are potassium supplements useful?

Some people try to meet their potassium needs by taking supplements. In this respect, the expert reports that natural foods are preferable to dietary supplements and that nutrients and vitamins can be obtained in sufficient quantities from natural sources. He also advises seeking medical advice before taking any dietary supplements.

Dangers of too high a potassium intake?

It is entirely possible to consume too much potassium. “Too much potassium can lead to severe muscle weakness and cardiac arrhythmia, which can become serious if not diagnosed and treated early,” explains the doctor.

Be careful when taking antihypertensive drugs

dr Makam warns against supplemental intake of potassium when already taking medication to lower blood pressure, as it increases the risk of complications. The expert cites angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and aldosterone antagonists as examples of commonly used drugs.

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It is also important that people with kidney disease avoid excess potassium. Damaged kidneys cannot remove excess potassium from the blood, so potassium levels can rise to dangerous levels. When it comes to potassium intake, according to Dr. Makam the balance of keys. Through medical advice, the right approach can be determined individually for each person.

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