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Increasing Potassium Intake Linked to Lower BP

Increased potassium intake can reduce blood pressure and stroke risk.

A review conducted for the World Health Organization found that increasing potassium intake effectively reduced average blood pressure by 3.49/1.96 mm Hg (systolic/diastolic), although this result was significant only in those with hypertension. Consuming 90-120 mmol of potassium daily (twice the current average) was sufficient to achieve this benefit. This increase lowered the risk of stroke by approximately 25%.

PositiveTip: Eat more potassium-rich foods such as tomato products, sweet potatoes, beet greens, soybeans (click for longer list).

Up with Potassium, Down with Sodium

Sodium chloride and potassium chloride are both simple salts but they have profoundly different effects in the body. In the blood stream, sodium is high (135 mg/dl) and potassium is low (4 mg/dl) but the opposite is true inside cells where potassium is high and sodium is low.

Both sodium and potassium are diet essentials, but in the United States we get far more sodium than we need and barely enough potassium.This causes a significant increase in deaths from heart disease.

The U.S. Government just published a study in the Archives of Internal Medicine examining the ratio of sodium to potassium in the diet and the impact on several diseases and death, in more than 12,000 people who were followed for 15 years. During this time there were 2270 deaths.

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Coffee as a Source of Potassium?

There are better ways to get potassium than from coffee.

Reports are circulating on some blogs that coffee is one of the highest food sources of potassium. Fact is that that we get a lot of it from coffee because we don't eat enough of the foods that are the best sources of this important nutrient. For really potassium-rich foods include foods like cooked greens, potatoes, bananas, citrus fruit and dried apricots. Legumes (beans) are also high in potassium, along with whole grain breads.

PositiveTip: When you eat the foods highest in potassium you also get many other important nutrients and health giving antioxidants!