It has long been recognized that people with high potassium intakes have lower blood pressure. Raising average potassium intakes to the recommended population level of 4.7 g per day would lower systolic blood pressure levels by 1.7 to 3.2 mm Hg. This reduction is equivalent to that which would be observed if Westerners reduced their salt consumption by 4 grams per day.
The link between potassium and blood pressure
In order for your body to function properly, it is essential to maintain a good balance of potassium, both inside and outside the cells. Since potassium is an electrolyte, it is a positively charged ion which must remain sufficiently concentrated (about 30 times more concentrated inside the cells than outside). In order to be able to play its role, that is to say, among other things, to interact with sodium in order to control nerve transmissions, muscle contractions and cardiac function.
So much research has shown the link between low potassium and hypertension that researchers are now convinced that increasing potassium levels is as important in managing hypertension as a poor diet. in salt.
Signs of Potassium Deficiency
Potassium is found in abundance in fruits and vegetables, but if you have a diet high in processed foods, you’re likely not getting enough of it. In addition, it is generally recommended to consume five times more potassium than sodium. But with most of the population in industrialized countries having a diet high in processed foods loaded with sodium, the majority of them have an intake twice as high in sodium as in potassium.
If you suffer from hypertension, this could therefore be a sign of potassium deficiency, this precious mineral. Similarly, dehydration caused by vomiting, diarrhea, or excessive sweating can lower your potassium levels, as can certain medications, including diuretics, laxatives, chemotherapy, and steroidal anti-inflammatories.
Signs of severe potassium deficiency include fatigue, muscle weakness, abdominal pain and cramps; in the most severe cases, abnormal heart rhythm and muscle paralysis can be observed.
The Best Food Sources of Potassium
When talking about potassium, most people immediately think of bananas. But you don’t have to eat bananas to ensure you get enough potassium. Especially since bananas are also so high in sugar.
Bananas contain potassium, indeed, but just like the vast majority of other fruits and vegetables. Potassium is the predominant nutrient in most fruits and vegetables, but there are other dietary sources of potassium.
The avocado, for example, contains twice as much potassium as the banana and is rich in good monounsaturated fat.
As a general rule, however, you should get enough potassium by eating a wide variety of vegetables, including:
– Swiss chard (960 mg of potassium per 175 g)
– Avocados (874 mg for 230 g)
– Spinach (838 mg for 180 g)
– Cremini mushrooms (635 mg for 140 g)
– Broccoli (505 mg for 160 g)
– Brussels sprouts (494 mg for 160 g)
– Celery (344 mg per 150 g)
– Romaine lettuce (324 mg for 90g)
If you suffer from hypertension, it is strongly recommended that you optimize your potassium intake. The current recommended daily allowance for an adult is 4,700 mg.
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* Presse Santé strives to transmit medical knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE can the information given replace medical advice.
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