Overweight and obesity, smoking, physical inactivity and stress are known contributing factors to the hypertension epidemic. Researchers publishing in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that the imbalance of potassium to sodium in the diet is a significant factor driving high blood pressure. Maintaining an optimized ratio of 2:1 (potassium to sodium) by cutting salty processed foods and increasing natural fruits and vegetables is shown to significantly lower out of control blood pressure readings.
Potassium to Sodium Ratio in Diet is Critical to Improve Hypertension
potassium, the balance of potassium to sodium in the diet has shifted from an ideal ratio of 2:1 to a blood pressure raising rate of 2:3. Current potassium intake is fully one-third that of our generational ancestors and is attributed to the skyrocketing increase in high blood pressure incidence and associated cardiovascular risk.
Researchers examining the potassium intake across 21 countries including the US found that average daily consumption of the mineral ranged from 1.7 to 3.7 grams, well below the recommended daily allowance of 4.7 grams. Similarly, sodium consumption averaged 5 grams per day with many individuals taking in as much as 9 to 12 grams. The recommended sodium intake is 2,400 mg daily and 1,500 mg or less is suggested for those with established cardiovascular risk factors.
Increase Dietary Potassium to Significantly Lower Heart Disease Risk
The study concluded that increasing potassium in the diet has a significant effect on lowering blood pressure and is equal to the effect seen by lowering sodium consumption. Higher potassium intake from natural sources including avocados, spinach, carrots and tomatoes and eliminating sodium-infused processed foods (snacks, soup and fast food) can combine to lower systolic blood pressure readings by 5% to 7%. Improving this single risk factor could reduce hypertension rates enough to dramatically lower cardiovascular risk and heart attack deaths.