By Dr. Mercola
Potassium, a mineral and electrolyte, is essential for your cells, tissues, and organs to function properly. It plays a vital role in heart health, digestive, and muscular function, bone health, and more.
While potassium is found in many foods commonly consumed in the US – including fruits, vegetables, dairy products, salmon, sardines, and nuts – only 2 percent of US adults get the recommended daily amount of 4,700 milligrams (mg).1
This is especially problematic because potassium is a nutrient that needs to be kept in proper balance with sodium in your blood. If you consume too much sodium, which is common if you eat a lot of processed foods, you’ll have an increased need for potassium.
Others who are at particular risk of low potassium, or hypokalemia, are those with chronic malabsorption syndromes, such as Crohn’s disease, or those taking heart medicine (particularly loop diuretics).2However, anyone who eats a poor diet – an excess of processed foods and not enough fresh, whole foods – is potentially at risk of inadequate potassium levels.
Optimizing Your Potassium Level Helps Lower Your Blood Pressure
The number of deaths due to hypertension, or high blood pressure, increased nearly 62 percent from 2000 to 2013, according to a new report from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3 Currently, about 70 million US adults struggle with the condition, which amounts to one in every three adults.
Only 52 percent of those who have been diagnosed have their blood pressure levels under control, and another one in three US adults has pre-hypertension, which means blood pressure is elevated and at risk of progressing to full-blown hypertension.4
Yet, many are not aware that an imbalanced sodium-potassium ratio may lead to hypertension, as a higher level of potassium may blunt the effect of
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