High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects one out of every three adults (about 75 million people) in the U.S.
If left unchecked, this condition may lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision loss, and even sexual dysfunction.
Some of the risk factors associated with high blood pressure include age, health conditions like diabetes, family history, lifestyle choices like smoking, and diet.
The last one is well within your control, and we’ll discuss how you can make a dietary change that will significantly reduce your risk of high blood pressure.
What Does Potassium & Sodium Have to Do With Blood Pressure?
The kidneys help control your blood pressure by filtering your blood and sucking out any extra fluid, which it then stores in the bladder as urine.
This process uses a delicate balance of potassium (K) and sodium (Na) to pull the water across a wall of cells from the bloodstream into a collecting channel that leads to the bladder.
According to the American Heart Association, the recommended potassium intake for an average adult is 4,700 milligrams (mg) per day. For sodium, they recommend no more than 2,300 mg a day and moving toward an ideal limit of no more than 1,500 mg per day for most adults.
Unfortunately, modern diets typically contain more sodium, which upsets the balance.
When there is an excess amount of sodium in your bloodstream, it pulls water into your blood vessels, increasing the total amount (volume) of blood inside your blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure.
Increasing your potassium intake can restore the balance and help ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which lowers your blood pressure.
What Is the K-Factor?
The K-factor is the ratio of potassium and sodium in the food we eat and in our bodies.
You can get this ratio by dividing the amount of potassium by the amount of sodium. Basically, the higher the K-factor, the better.
Here’s a comparison between natural and processed foods:
* Same serving size
** In milligrams
In the above chart, you’ll notice how the K-factor goes down once the natural ingredient undergoes some form of processing. That’s because sodium is often used to add flavor or as a preservative.
To achieve the ideal K-factor, you need to increase your intake of potassium to at least four parts to every part of sodium.
Green vegetable juicing is an excellent way to ensure that you’re getting enough nutrients for optimal health, including about 300-400 mg of potassium per cup.
Other good sources of potassium include:
– White beans
Tips on How to Cut Down on Sodium Consumption
Sodium doesn’t come solely in the form of salt. In fact, 70 percent of the sodium Americans eat comes from packaged, prepared, and restaurant foods—not the salt shaker.
Sodium can come in the form of sodium nitrate, sodium citrate, monosodium glutamate (MSG), or sodium benzoate, which are all used in food processing.
Here’s a list of six foods that add the most salt to your diet:
– Breads and rolls
– Cold cuts and cured meats
This list might come as a surprise, but there is hidden sodium in almost everything we eat that is processed in some way. Even healthier food options like veggie burgers (especially the ones that taste most like meat) contain significant amounts of sodium.
When cutting down on sodium, always read the Nutrition Facts label. We also recommend preparing your own meals, avoiding “instant” products, adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and using spices instead of salt to add flavor.
High Blood Pressure Supplementation
Besides improving your diet by lowering your sodium and improving your k-factor ratios, you can also add specific heart-friendly supplements.
Our scientifically supported SmartHeart™ Blood Pressure Regimen is designed to help reduce your risk of heart disease by supporting optimal cardiovascular health and helping to retain healthy blood pressure. This regimen includes:
- Blood Pressure: Proprietary blend addresses 2 of the key mechanisms to help retain healthy blood pressure
- OmegaGuard®: Ultra pure, pharmaceutical grade Omega-3s to help reduce the risk of heart disease
- CoQHeart®: CoQ10 and resveratrol supports energy production in the heart and promotes healthy arteries
As you can see, there’s a lot you can do to take control of your blood pressure. Drugs should be the last choice, not the first choice when it comes to managing your heart health.