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Can a high-potassium diet help lower my blood pressure?

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 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.

Fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy foods are all excellent sources of potassium!
Dariush Mozaffarian, MD
Internal Medicine
People with diets high in potassium have lower blood pressures than those with potassium-poor diets, according to a number of studies. The results of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) trial lends further support for a potassium-rich diet's beneficial effect on blood pressure. The control group consumed an average of 3.5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, which provided 1,700 mg of potassium per day, while the treatment group's diet included an average of 8.5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, providing 4,100 mg of potassium per day. On average, the high-potassium diet lowered blood pressure by 2.8/1.1 mm Hg (systolic BP/diastolic BP) in people with normal blood pressure, and by 7.2/2.8 mm Hg in people with high blood pressure. The DASH diet also contained less sugar and red meat than the average American diet, along with more calcium from low-fat dairy products, so the benefits are likely due to the entire dietary pattern.

As you might expect, the effects of potassium supplements alone on blood pressure are weaker. However, one meta-analysis that combined results from 33 small trials found that potassium supplements do lower blood pressure slightly, especially in people with high blood pressure or those whose diets include a lot of salt.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.