Preventing heart disease is not just about reducing your salt intake, but increasing your dietary potassium as well

Friday, June 08, 2018 by

Heart patients know that reducing or eliminating sodium from meals is a great way to lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease. But not many of them are aware that potassium is the body’s strong ally in preventing heart and kidney problems.

Research conducted by a study team from the University of Southern California revealed that the interplay of sodium and potassium is essential in maintaining heart health. A review of 70 studies found that the sodium-potassium ratio excreted as urine shows how much our body consumes these minerals.

When the body takes in more potassium through meals, the kidney – made up of millions of small tubes functioning together – move fluid to a place near the end of the tubes. This is where potassium finds its way into the urine. This process lowers the amount of sodium and water reabsorbed into the body.

Elevated potassium levels tell the body to reduce the amount of sodium in it. The cycle controls the levels of sodium and potassium in the body and helps lower blood pressure.

This explains why consuming and excreting potassium hinder the progress of heart and kidney diseases.

The researchers also studied ways to enlighten the public on the value of potassium in reducing blood pressure and promoting a healthy heart. Their suggestions are:

  • Persuading families to prepare healthy, plant-based meals together;
  • Promoting inexpensive, readily-available sources of potassium; and
  • Requiring food manufacturers to include the amount of potassium content on Nutrition Facts labels.

Natural sources of potassium

Fortunately, you don’t have to look far to get low-cost, easily-available sources of potassium, which helps communication between nerves and muscles and transport nutrients into cells.

Banana comes to mind. This tropical fruit has 422 mg of potassium, or around nine percent of the 4,700 mg recommended daily intake.

But you can also source out potassium from other natural foods. Here are some:

  • Beets – A cup of cooked, sliced beets provides 518 mg of potassium, while a one-ounce serving of beet chips contains 90 mg of the important mineral.
  • Frozen spinach – Including a cup of this nutrient-rich food to pasta gives you 540 mg of potassium. It’s also less costly than fresh greens.
  • Sweet potato – A piece of medium-baked sweet potato contains 542 mg of potassium. Its tubers are packed with vitamin A. And they taste great as well.
  • Tomato sauce – This favorite pasta topper is packed with 728 mg of potassium per cup.
  • Watermelon – A pair of watermelon wedges provides 641 mg potassium. This juicy fruit is also a rich source of lycopene, a natural plant pigment associated with reducing the risk of developing certain cancers. Besides eating the fruit, you can drink a tall glass of watermelon juice, especially on warm days that make you want to reach out for the nearest thirst quencher.
  • White beans – One cup has a whopping 1,189 mg of potassium, 20 grams of protein, and 13 grams of fiber.
  • White potato – A medium-baked potato contains 941 mg of potassium. It also has gut-friendly resistant starch. That’s why a potato salad always makes for a healthy snack and appetizer.
  • Yogurt – You don’t have to look for yogurt with fancy flavors. The plain variety contains 573 mg of potassium per cup and provides almost half of your daily calcium needs.

Good nutrition need not cost you an arm and a leg the way many kinds of diseases do.

Potassium is one example of this. It is friendly to the health as it is easy on the pocket. That’s why it pays to stock up on sources of this nutrient whenever and wherever you can.

Read more articles on the benefits of potassium and other nutrients you need to achieve your best health at Nutrients.news.

Sources include:

The-APS.org

Prevention.com



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