Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Surprising Benefits of Potassium

If you’re one of the 31% of our adult population with high blood pressure, you probably know that it increases your risk of heart disease (the leading cause of death in the U.S.) and stroke (the third leading cause of death). You may also know that high sodium intake can raise your blood pressure. I wonder if you know that potassium can help you lower it.

Potassium is primarily found in foods high in nutrition, which means consuming a potassium-rich diet will improve your cardiovascular health overall. Unfortunately, most Americans eat only half of the recommended 4,700 mg of potassium each day. According to 11 studies involving over 250,000 people (that’s a lot of data!), adding three servings of a potassium rich food to their daily diet was linked to a 21% lower risk of stroke.

To lower your blood pressure and risk for heart disease and stroke, add these foods to your diet (the mg. per serving are listed in parentheses): medium baked potato with skin (925), 1 cup cooked spinach (800), 1 cup prune juice (710), 4 oz. cooked halibut (600), ½ cup canned white beans (595), 8 oz. plain yogurt (580), medium baked sweet potato with skin (540), 1 cup orange juice (500) – more than a medium banana at 420!, 1 cup winter squash or Brussels sprouts (495), 1 cup cooked broccoli (460, 1 cup cantaloupe or tomatoes (430), 1 cup carrots (410), 1 cup corn (380), 1 cup nonfat milk (380), and ½ cup avocado or cooked lentils (365). Source: Wellness Letter August 2011

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