The problem of hypertension aka high blood pressure is pretty close to being declared an epidemic. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Hypertension, about one-third of India’s urban population and one-fourth of its rural population are hypertensive. No doubt, the pathetic lifestyle and poor dietary habits are the root causes for the same. With this piece, I will be talking about that one crucial dietary mineral which will help you tame high blood pressure. So what is that key mineral that I am talking about?
High blood pressure is a condition under which your blood pressure exceeds its normal range of 120/80. If your blood pressure goes above 140/90, one should take it as a wake-up call. Hypertension is also known as a ‘silent killer’ for a reason. With almost no major symptoms, it damages your arteries, heart and other vital organs. As a result, the person becomes highly vulnerable to a stroke, heart attack and even blindness. Lack of exercise, smoking, alcohol and excess consumption of junk food (as it is very high in sodium and trans fats), are the most common reasons for hypertension. The first advice a BP patient is given is to cut down their salt (sodium) intake. High sodium in your diet spikes the blood pressure and therefore worsens the condition for the hypertensive person.
Potassium is one of the key electrolytes that our body needs for the healthy functioning of our vital organs (heart and brain). Potassium determines our heart beat, pulse, blood pressure, muscle contraction and various nerve signaling processes. Even kidney function is affected by the potassium levels in our body. Better the potassium level, the better the filtering ability of the kidneys.
Symptoms of Potassium Deficiency
High blood pressure, constipation, muscle cramps, insomnia, excessive sugar craving and fatigue are some of the common symptoms of potassium deficiency.
There are so many research papers available that show a direct relation between potassium and hypertension. A majority of hypertension patients are also potassium deficient. Potassium is basically known for relaxing the arteries and also to regulate the cellular fluid ratio. It controls the high sodium ratio in the blood that spikes blood pressure. Adequate amount of potassium will make your kidneys excrete the excessive sodium from the body. As a result, it helps bring down high blood pressure.
Required Dosage and Sources
We require 4700 mg of potassium on a daily basis, which is almost 4 times the daily sodium requirement. The irony is, most people take these electrolytes in a reverse ratio, i.e. 4 times of the required dosage of sodium and ¼ of the required dosage of potassium.
Here are 5 best and easily available potassium sources you can find:
1. Spinach – 1 cup of cooked Spinach gives you around 839 milligrams of potassium
2. Sweet Potato – 1 large sized sweet potato gives you around 855 milligrams of potassium
3. Coconut Water – 1 large glass of coconut water gives you around 600 milligrams
4. White beans (lobiya) – ½ a cup of white beans offer 502 milligrams of potassium
5. Banana – 1 large size banana gives you around 487 milligrams of potassium