How Does Potassium Reduce Blood Pressure Levels?
If you have been looking up hypertension diet recipes, you may have come across many foods that are rich in potassium. Potassium-rich foods help reduce blood pressure as the element antagonizes the effect caused by sodium. We also need potassium in our body for normal muscle function, preventing muscle cramps, maintaining fluid balance and relaxation of blood vessels. Popular hypertension diet recipes belong to the DASH diet that has low sodium but abundant potassium, magnesium and calcium.
How to Incorporate Potassium in Your Diet?
The average dietary intake of potassium is 4,700 mg per day for adults (1). There are plenty of potassium-rich foods that are easily available, and including them in your daily diet can help you keep your blood pressure levels under control.
Some of these foods include:
Some interesting ways to sneak in more potassium in your diet are:
How Much Potassium is Too Much Potassium?
We need potassium to control high blood pressure, but too much or too little of it in the body has its own consequences. Abnormal levels of the element in the body can trigger symptoms like muscle cramps, weakness, diarrhoea, frequent urination, dehydration, confusion, irritability, paralysis, and abnormal heart rhythm.
Having blood potassium levels higher than 5.2 millimoles per litre (mmol/L) is considered high. If blood potassium levels go beyond 6.0 mmol/L, it is considered a serious condition that requires immediate attention. Consuming potassium-rich foods does not cause high levels of potassium (hyperkalemia) in a normal healthy adult. This is because any excess amounts of potassium consumed are excreted by the kidneys. However, in individuals with kidney problems, improper excretion of excess potassium can lead to high levels of the element in the blood.
Though patients with high blood pressure are recommended to consume lots of potassium-rich foods, patients taking ACE inhibitors for their hypertension need to be careful with their potassium intake as it can increase the risk of hyperkalemia.
Wrapping It Up,
Note of caution:This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor in case of hypertension or any other health-related problems.