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Potassium and blood pressure

Did you know that consuming too little of the electrolyte potassium can actually increase your blood pressure and your chances of having a stroke? And increasing it might help some to reduce the amount of blood pressure medication they are taking. This latest news is according to the Harvard Medical School. Foods that are high in potassium are meat, fish, poultry, bananas, apricots, honeydew melon, avocado, spinach and a host of others.

Most of us get adequate levels of potassium in our diet, but for those who exercise and sweat a lot and for those who follow a very restricted diet with few calories, they should be very aware of consuming enough of this mineral.

A deficiency is usually marked by generalized weakness. But those who need to be concerned about getting too much are those with diabetes and in renal failure. They can no longer metabolize or break down electrolytes and therefore run the risk of having too much potassium running through their systems. If you’re concerned that you fall in either of these extreme categories, talk to your doctor.

April 11th, 2008

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5 Responses to “Potassium and blood pressure”


Sophie Luckford
Apr 12th, 2008
1:32 am

One year ago now, I had been diagnosed with hypertension and started on diuretics. Fortunately for me, I did not view this as a permanent state but started vigorous exercise daily. I also found click2loseweight natural weight loss guide that was full of weight loss recipes and information on how to lose weight and prevent or reverse the diseases of being overweight. Today, my blood pressure is normal and I have been able to stop taking medication with the approval of my doctor – something that she said is usually very difficult to accomplish. My diet is 90% fish from the Caribbean Sea to avoid fish with high mercury levels.


heather
Apr 13th, 2008
6:01 pm

That is amazing Sophie! Congratulations on being able to regulate your own blood pressure and stop taking medication.

If you don’t mind, would you elaborate more on your diet? There is so much information right now on safe and unsafe fish. Whether it is because of mercury levels or unsafe fishing practices, I know that many of my friends have been more reserved in eating fish than other meat and poultry because of these reasons. Many of us would be eager to learn more about how you accomplished such an amazing endeavor.


Jannie
Dec 21st, 2008
5:31 am

Great tips, thanks!


Carol
Mar 13th, 2009
8:53 am

I am looking for meals that contain very low potassium. My husband has high potassium which is just as bad as low. Can anyone help? Thanking you in advance.


Heather
Mar 15th, 2009
12:37 pm

Hi Carol. Eating a low potassium diet takes just about as much effort as eating one that is high in the electrolyte.

Here are few tips to follow recommended by Jeanne Cullen, MS, RD, CD, CDE.

Try to consume refined grains as opposed to whole grains like whole wheat. Look for “refined flour” on the label. Cream of wheat and processed cereals like corn flakes are all good bets so are breads that don’t use whole grains.

Fats like oils, butter and margarine are low in potassium as are cheeses that contain less than 5 grams of fat per serving. Fish, meats, vegetables and fruit all contain a decent amount of potassium. It is best to avoid certain fruits like honeydew, bananas, apricots, citrus fruits, kiwis and watermelon as well as veggies like beets, artichoke hearts, leafy greens, mushrooms, tomatoes, winter squash, yams and potatoes. Meats and fish can be consumed but they need to be limited to just one or two small servings each day. Cullen recommends that you can “leach” potassium out of your vegetables by soaking them in water in lots of water for several hours and then cook them in lots of water.

In addition, egg whites, limited amounts of nuts and nut butters, berries, crackers, certain vegetables and certain grains like processed flours and popcorn can be consumed regularly on a low potassium diet.

These are just some general guidelines to follow but since a low potassium diet is fairly complex, I encourage that your husband works with a renal dietitician to best formulate a nutritious, safe and satisfying meal plan.