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Why It’s Not Just About Reducing Sodium


Do you or someone you know have high blood pressure?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), one out of every three adults in the U.S. has high blood pressure.

We all know that high blood pressure significantly increases the risk of very problematic health issues…like heart disease and strokes.  We also know that too much sodium is a significant contributor to high blood pressure.  When we consume too much sodium, it causes our bodies to retain fluids.  These excess fluids put extra demands on our heart and blood vessels, resulting in the heightened blood pressure.

So, reducing sodium intake is certainly good advice that we should all take to heart (no pun intended)!

 

There is another piece of advice that can be just as important, but doesn’t get near the attention:

 

INCREASE YOUR POTASSIUM INTAKE!

How many of your doctors or healthcare providers have given you advice to increase your potassium intake?  It probably doesn’t happen near as often as it should.

 

Why more potassium?

Potassium provides many benefits for our bodies, including offsetting the adverse effects of sodium!  To simplify, potassium helps our bodies get rid of excess sodium, reducing the demands placed on our heart and blood vessels.  This helps to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of conditions like heart disease and strokes.  Potassium also helps reduce blood clots and improve kidney function.

Unfortunately, in our food culture today, many of us get too much sodium and not enough potassium.  The average American consumes over 3,400 mg of sodium every day, when the AHA recommends consuming no more than 2,300 mg or, ideally, no more than 1,500 mg for most adults.  Over 75% of this sodium comes from eating out and from processed foods.

On the flip side, it is recommended we consume 4,700 mg of potassium a day, but in reality, the average consumption is currently less than 2,700 mg...we are falling short!  And, guess what the primary cause is of our potassium deficiency...you guessed it, eating out and processed foods!

If your diet is high in processed foods, you are probably getting too much sodium and not enough potassium…and your blood pressure is probably higher than it should be.  It is important to look at sodium and potassium as a partnership.  Some studies have even shown that not consuming enough potassium may be more responsible for hypertension than excess sodium.

This is why we focus so much on enjoying a wide variety of REAL food!  If you kick the processed foods to the curb and focus on a wide variety of REAL food, you will get both your sodium and potassium levels to where they need to be to support good health!

 

What are good sources of potassium?

You immediately thought of bananas didn't you?  Many may think bananas are the best source of potassium.  The reality is there are many other foods that provide even more potassium than a banana. Here are some fantastic sources:

Avocado – you can get up to 1,000 mg of potassium from a single avocado.

Beans – especially white beans, black beans, lima beans and edamame.

Beets

Acorn squash and butternut squash

Dark leafy greens – especially spinach, Swiss chard and beet greens

Fish – especially cod, halibut, salmon and tuna

Sweet potatoes and potatoes

Tomatoes including tomato sauce

Milk

Nectarines

Oranges

Seeds and nuts

Raisins

Plain Nonfat Yogurt

And, the list goes on...there are even more potassium-rich foods such as fennel, parsnips, kale, Brussels sprouts, bok choy, carrots, broccoli, pumpkin, cauliflower, okra, and rutabagas, plus many more!

 

Can you get too much of a good thing?

It is recommended to get your potassium through food (vs. supplements).  It would be almost impossible to get too much potassium through your diet.

One warning, though, is for anyone whose kidneys are not fully functional…it is important that you work with your physician to determine an optimal amount of potassium intake.

How many people could ditch their blood pressure medications by following Hippocrates’ advice, eating REAL food and naturally getting the appropriate amounts of potassium and sodium?  Probably more than any of us realize.

 

 

 

 

Enjoy these delicious meal ideas to boost your potassium!

Avocado Egg Salad

Roasted Beets and Orange Salad

Salmon with White Beans, Kale and Honey Mustard Sauce

Green Machine Quesadillas with Spicy Chipotle Cream

Spiced Mixed Nuts

Yogurt Fruit 'N Nutty Salad

Sweet Potato and Black Bean Enchiladas

 

 

 

Were you aware of how important potassium is for good health?

 

What can we do to spread the word and help people naturally reduce their risk of heart disease and strokes?

 

 

 

 

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