High blood pressure and heart disease are among the leading causes of death here in the US.
High blood pressure affects about one-third of all Americans. That is a really huge number and the long term effects of high blood pressure can be very debilitating to the person and their family.
Generally, it has been accepted that bad habits like having an excess of sodium intake (eating too much salt) and a poor diet and poor food choices were the major factors in getting these two diseases.
Now a new report that was released by the US institute of Medicine suggests that it may be a potassium deficiency that may be a critical factor in having these diseases. The report suggested that Americans would be better off to consume more potassium-rich foods as part of their daily lives.
The report said that the average American consumes half of the recommended daily amount of potassium. That is about 4,700 milligrams (mg) a day for adults.
In the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, a 2010 study found that consuming 4,700 mg of potassium a day can significantly improve blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Potassium is also important in helping to keep the pH level balanced in our bodies. When pH levels go south, your body is much more prone to developing a disease than when you have a normal alkaline pH.
A regular high intake of potassium is also important in maintaining a host of other items in our bodies. Muscle Function, Kidney Health, a Healthy Bone Mass, Nervous system Health, and Adrenal function are all dependent upon a sufficient potassium intake to operate like they are supposed to.
An intake of 4,700 mg of potassium is not as easy to get as you might think. This level is actually the government’s minimum threshold and that is likely too low to actually get the full optimal health benefits that you could.
Just to get the recommended 4,700 mg a day, a person would have to consume about 10 bananas a day or 3 to 4 avocados. Neither one of which is very practical in most people’s diets.
So what are you to do to increase your daily consumption of this very important mineral? One answer is to eat a larger variety of potassium rich foods.
Brussel Sprouts, Beets, Lima Beans, Swiss Chard, Potatoes, Raisins, Winter Squash Spinach, Tomatoes, and prunes are some food that can help you reach the needed daily level.
Another option would be to supplement your intake to reach the needed level. Just make sure that it was derived from natural sources and is not just the raw mineral which is not utilized by our bodies very well.
There are likely a lot more things that are helped by having a sufficient level of potassium in our bodies which this study did not address.
Keeping ourselves healthy and strong and with a fully functioning immune system is the one thing we can have a direct effect on to keep ourselves from becoming sick.
It is up to us to do what we can, the consequences of not doing that can be anything from feeling miserable to not being with the living any longer.