Research shows that boosting levels of potassium in the diet may lower a person's risk of developing high blood pressure and may decrease blood pressure in people who already have "hypertension," according to a special supplement to The Journal of Clinical Hypertension this month. Dr. Mark C. Houston, from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine and Dr. Karen J. Harper from Harper Medical Communications, Inc. in Nashville, also point out that a healthy intake of potassium is thought to be one reason why vegetarians and isolated populations have a very low incidence of heart disease. In isolated societies consuming diets low in sodium and high in fruits and vegetables, which have and therefore high levels of potassium, hypertension affects only 1 percent of the population, they note. In contrast, in industrialized societies, where people consume diets high in processed foods and large amounts of dietary sodium 1 in 3 persons have hypertension. The typical American diet contains about double the sodium and half the potassium that is currently recommended in dietary guidelines. Low potassium intake is thought to contribute to the prevalence of high blood pressure in Americans. Based on their review of published studies on the topic, Houston and Harper say if Americans were to boost their potassium intake, the number of adults with known high blood pressure could fall by more than 10 percent. Some studies also show that diets containing at least 500 to 1,000 milligrams magnesium daily and more than 800 milligrams of calcium daily may help lower blood pressure and the risk of developing high blood pressure. "A high intake of these minerals through increased consumption of fruits and vegetables may improve blood pressure levels and reduce coronary heart disease and stroke," Houston and Harper conclude.
Bonnie - I love that they make this look like new research. Give me a break!