High blood pressure (hypertension) is called the “silent killer” for good reason. It has no symptoms, but it’s a major risk for heart disease and stroke. And these are the leading causes of death in the United States. About 1 in 3 American adults has high blood pressure.
Your blood pressure depends on how much blood your heart is pumping, and how much resistance there is to blood flow in your arteries. The narrower your arteries are, the higher your blood pressure.
The good news about high blood pressure is that lifestyle changes can reduce your numbers and lower your risk — without taking drugs.
While medication can lower blood pressure, it may cause side effects such as leg cramps, dizziness, and insomnia. Fortunately, most people can bring down their blood pressure naturally without medication with home remedies for low blood pressure. First, get to a healthy weight.
Researchers studied the association between blood pressure and dietary sodium, potassium and the sodium-potassium ratio. What they discovered is that higher dietary potassium was linked to lower blood pressure, regardless of sodium intake.
“Decreasing sodium intake is a well-established way to lower blood pressure,” Alicia McDonough, professor of cell and neurobiology at the Keck School of Medicine, said in a press release. “But evidence suggests that increasing dietary potassium may have an equally important effect on hypertension.”
High potassium intake lowers blood pressure by using sodium to keep close control of potassium levels in the blood critical to normal heart, nerve and muscle function.
“When dietary potassium is high, kidneys excrete more salt and water, which increases potassium excretion,” McDonough said. “Eating a high potassium diet is like taking a diuretic.”
As compared to the recommendation, diets these days often consist of processed foods with added salt that are usually low in potassium, the researchers say.
“If you eat a typical Western diet, your sodium intake is high and your potassium intake is low,” McDonough said. “This significantly increases your chances of developing high blood pressure.”
Foods to Eat for Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally
When we think about potassium, we typically focus on bananas. In fact, there are many foods that have more potassium than a banana.
Some high potassium foods:
- Sweet potatoes
- White potatoes
- Tomato sauce
- White & black beans