Increasing the likelihood of heart failure, coronary artery disease and stroke, lowering high blood pressure is very important. A review of scientific studies has revealed that one key supplement could help decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Blood pressure readings consist of two numbers that represent the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
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A systolic reading is the number recorded at the top whereas the diastolic reading is the number recorded at the bottom.
To illustrate, high blood pressure – also medically termed hypertension – would read as follows: 140/90 mmHg.
This is a true reading of hypertension, as pointed out by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The top number showcases the highest pressure in blood vessels when the heart beats, and the bottom number showcases the lowest pressure in blood vessels in between heart beats – when the heart muscle relaxes.
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A 2017 review of studies report that potassium supplements could help decrease blood pressure readings.
The effect was strongest in people who had high-sodium diets, people who had a low intake of potassium before the study, and people who weren’t taking blood pressure medication.
Too much sodium, in other words salt, in your diet can prevent the kidneys from efficiently removing water from the body.
Carrying an excess of water leads to a hike in blood pressure.
Potassium has been found to help regulate blood pressure by clearing sodium (salt) from the body.
Most specifically, potassium helps reduce blood pressure in two ways:
By causing the body to get rid of more sodium in the urine
By relaxing the walls of blood vessels
This second effect of potassium intake (relaxing the walls of blood vessels) is crucial in lowering the risk of a heart attack or stroke.
With constant high blood pressure, arteries – the blood vessels that carry oxygen away from the heart – lose their stretchiness and become stiff or narrow.
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This then makes it easier for the arteries to become clogged with fatty material (atheroma).
As such, reduced blood flow reaches the heart, and possibly the brain – hence a heart attack or stroke.
It’s important to note that potassium supplements can be harmful for those who have kidney disease.
As with any supplement, it’s advisable to consult a doctor before introducing it into your daily routine.
Another way to benefit from potassium is to eat a potassium-rich diet. Such foods can include:
- Dried apricots
- Prunes or prune juice
- Fat-free or low-fat yoghurt or milk
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) recommends four steps to lower blood pressure readings.
For one, the charity advises to eat more fruit and vegetables while eating less salt.
For two, the BHF suggest to reduce how much alcohol you drink.
And, for three and four, it says to be more active and to lose weight.
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