Potassium has the power to force excess sodium out of a person’s body, but could a sweet potato – rich in the life-saving mineral – really help to lower blood pressure readings? One serving of sweet potato contains 950mg of potassium, according to Nutrition Data. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommended that adults consume between 2,600mg to 3,400mg daily (this doesn’t include those with kidney disease).
Evidently, this would suggest that eating one sweet potato for lunch wouldn’t be enough to gain the amount of potassium needed in 24 hours.
However, any amount of potassium “helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls”, said the American Heart Association (AHA).
The AHA added that this effect would “further lower blood pressure”, in addition to the benefits potassium already provides.
“Increasing potassium through diet is recommended in adults with blood pressure above 120/80mmHg who are otherwise healthy,” said the AHA.
There are plenty of foods that contain potassium, such as apricots and avocados.
To increase the amount of potassium in your diet, try to eat more of the following:
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melon
- Fat-free yogurt
- Lima beans
- Raisins and dates
Introducing more potassium and less salt into your diet is only part of the solution to lower blood pressure readings.
Anybody diagnosed with hypertension (i.e. high blood pressure) should monitor their blood pressure readings regularly.
It is a lifelong commitment to manage high blood pressure effectively.
The AHA recommended lifestyle choices to live by, which will make managing your blood pressure that much easier.
Firstly, unhealthy habits need to go; this includes smoking and drinking more than the recommended 14 units of alcohol per week.
Another key element is to introduce daily exercise into your life – whether that’s a brisk walk, gardening or online fitness classes.
Moving your body is integral to good health; it can also help people to maintain a healthy weight, or to lose some if needs be.
It’ll also be helpful to learn effective stress management techniques, such a deep breathing.
These lifestyle guidances might seem repetitive, as they’re recommended by all health bodies, but it helps to ward off further disease.
Following such key information can be started at any point in life, but creating these habits earlier may be more beneficial.
Some people may be prescribed anti-hypertensive medication to help manage their blood pressure.
As well as following key lifestyle recommendations, it’s still wise to take the medication prescribed to you.
There’s no harm in speaking with your GP to discuss dosage, and perhaps coming off medication, if you’re taking successful steps to be healthier.
Having an open dialogue with your doctor is a great way to monitor your health.