According a new study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, most Americans are falling short of their daily potassium needs, which could be wreaking havoc with their blood pressure. While losing excess weight, reducing sodium in the diet, and being physically active all can reduce blood pressure, so can consuming adequate amounts of potassium-rich foods.
Research suggests that a diet plentiful in potassium lowers blood pressure, especially in salt-sensitive individuals who respond more intensely to sodium’s blood pressure–raising capabilities. Potassium helps negate some of the blood pressure-raising effects of excessive dietary sodium as it causes the kidneys to excrete excess sodium from the body. Reducing sodium levels in the body helps lower blood pressure.
The good news is that potassium is found in a variety of foods, with vegetables, fruits, low fat dairy foods, and beans being potassium powerhouses:
- Potato, baked including skin, 738 mg
- White beans, ½ cup, 595 mg
- Yogurt, nonfat, plain, 579 mg
- Sweet Potato, baked with skin, medium, 542 mg
- Orange juice, 1 cup, 496 mg
- Halibut, cooked, 3 ounces, 490 mg
- Soybeans, cooked, ½ cup, 485 mg
- Cod, cooked, 3 ounces, 439 mg
- Banana, 1 medium, 422 mg
- Spinach, cooked, ½ cup, 370-419 mg
- Tomato sauce, ½ cup, 405 mg
- Milk, skim, 1 cup, 382 mg
- Apricots, dried, ¼ cup, 378 mg
- Soy milk, 1 cup, 372 mg
- Kidney beans, cooked, ½ cup, 358 mg
Here’s some easy ways to pump up your daily potassium:
- Pour an 8-ounce glass of orange juice at breakfast.
- Add leafy greens to your sandwiches. Spinach is a potassium dynamo!
- Add dried apricots to yogurt for a one, two (apricots and dairy) potassium punch.
- Have bean soup with your lunchtime sandwich.
- Baked regular or sweet potatoes are potassium powerhouses on your dinner plate
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