Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Less Salt & More Potassium

In your battle against high blood pressure, sodium or salt is the enemy and avoiding that enemy is your primary defense. The dangers of sodium affect roughly ninety-eight percent of Americans. Our intake is more than twice as much sodium than is recommended for a healthy diet. That’s why the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association is increasing awareness of sodium because excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Most foods in their natural state contain sodium. However, more than 75 percent of sodium that Americans consume comes from processed foods. Reading labels on food items and making healthy choices when purchasing and consuming foods is important to heart health. Sodium can increase your blood pressure by holding excess fluid in your body which burdens your heart.

What most people don’t know is that they also have an ally and that ally is eating more potassium rich food. Potassium plays a crucial role in lowering blood pressure. The more potassium we consume, the more sodium is excreted through urine. Potassium helps relax blood vessel walls which helps lower blood pressure.

Potassium-rich foods include:

*Sweet potatoes
*Lima beans
*Tomatoes, tomato juice
*Oranges and orange juice
*Cantaloupe and honeydew melons
*Prunes and prune juice
*Apricots and apricot juice
*Raisins and dates
*Fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk
*Fat-free yogurt

A diet high in potassium is heart-healthy and good for your overall health, for anyone. Potassium affects the balance of fluids in your body. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider before taking over-the-counter potassium supplements because as we get older our kidneys become less able to remove potassium from our blood. You should also consult with your doctor before trying salt substitutes which contain potassium chloride that is harmful if you have certain medical conditions.

So what foods contain the most sodium?


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