Over one billion people worldwide are affected with high blood pressure which is responsible for at least 51 percent of deaths due to stroke and 45 percent of deaths due to heart disease.
Recent research suggests that potassium intake may have a greater influence on managing blood pressure than sodium intake according to a recent study in the American Journal of Physiology- Endocrinology and Metabolism (1). Researchers followed 2,632 men and women between the ages for 30 and 64 years and found that a diet low in sodium had no long-term effect on blood pressure, but those with the higher intakes of potassium had lower blood pressure. This study supports other findings that have indicated the importance of potassium independent of sodium intake for the management of blood pressure.
In addition to supporting healthy blood pressure, potassium is important for strong bones, muscle contraction, and nerve transmission. Adults fifteen years and older should consume 4,700mg daily. Potassium is not required on food labels, but if it is listed you can determine the amount of potassium in a food by its percentage based on a 3,500mg daily value. For example, a food with 15% would provide 525mg. Fruits, vegetables, and milk are great sources of potassium.
Food Potassium content (mg)
Sweet potato (1 medium) 450
Spinach (1/2 cup) 420
Banana (1 medium) 425
Nonfat yogurt (6oz) 260
Nonfat milk (8oz) 350
1.) Alicia A. McDonough, Luciana C. Veiras, Claire A. Guevara, Donna L. Ralph. Cardiovascular benefits associated with higher dietary K vs. lower dietary Na evidence from population and mechanistic studies. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology And Metabolism, 2017; 312 (4): E348 DOI: 10.1152/ajpendo.00453.2016