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Potassium-Rich Diet Could Be Key To Lowering Blood Pressure

9 April 2017, 8:48 am EDT By Livia Rusu Tech Times
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A research review suggests that a potassium-rich diet is efficient against hypertension. High blood pressure, which currently accounts for many health complications, is an increasing worldwide problem that can be prevented.  ( Adam Berry | Getty Images )

Potassium-rich food could be the key to lowering blood pressure. As hypertension becomes an increasing worldwide problem, scientists have turned to food rich in substances that can restore the balance.

A review study carried out at the University of Southern California has found a link between dietary potassium and lower blood pressure. It was published in the April 2017 issue of the American Journal of Physiology-Endocrinology and Metabolism.

Potassium-Rich Diet, Efficient Against High Blood Pressure

Aside from being beneficial to the body, diets rich in potassium are also very trendy at the moment, which could increase the number of people who are willing to try them out.

From sweet potatoes and beans to bananas, avocados, and the very popular coffee, many "trendy" foods can actually help our bodies, preventing health complications.

"Decreasing sodium intake is a well-established way to lower blood pressure, but evidence suggests that increasing dietary potassium may have an equally important effect on hypertension," noted Alicia McDonough, lead author of the study and professor of cell and neurobiology at USC.

For the review, the researchers analyzed data from prior research indicating that rodent models have supported the idea that potassium is highly beneficial to the body.

"Together, the findings suggest that public health efforts directed toward increasing consumption of potassium-rich natural foods would reduce BP and, thus, cardiovascular and kidney disease," noted the researchers.

McDonough analyzed the connection between dietary sodium, potassium, and the sodium-potassium ratio and their effects on blood pressure. The researcher and her team analyzed recent studies carried out among rodents to illustrate their hypotheses on the benefits of consuming potassium-rich food.

The studies analyzed suggest that the body employs sodium in balancing the control of potassium levels in the blood, which is a crucial mechanism when it comes to normal heart, muscle, and nerve function.

A typical Western diet is often rich in sodium and poor in potassium. This causes an increase in the risk of suffering from high blood pressure, McDonough explained.

In the event that the body doesn't have enough dietary potassium, it uses sodium retention to keep the remaining potassium inside the body, which has the effects of a high-sodium diet.

According to a 2004 Institute of Medicine report, the dietary recommendation from the Food and Nutrition Board is that adults should consume at least 4.7 grams (0.16 ounces) of potassium every day to lower blood pressure.

Three-quarters of a cup of black beans should account for approximately half the daily potassium adults need to consume.

Hypertension, An Increasing Problem

Hypertension is a condition in which the blood vessels have a continuous high pressure. With every heartbeat, blood is carried from the heart to all parts of the body. Blood pressure describes the force that blood exerts on the walls of blood vessels as it makes its way around the body.

It is normal for blood pressure to increase at certain times - such as during a stressful or exciting activity - then return to normal. However, if the pressure is continuously above normal, it can lead to serious health complications, such as heart attack and kidney failure.

Hypertension is a global health issue that affects more than 1 billion people worldwide. The World Health Organization estimates that at least 51 percent of deaths due to stroke and 45 percent of deaths due to heart disease can be attributed to hypertension.

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