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Normal potassium levels also are important for the conduction of electrical signals in the nervous system and in the heart. This protects against an irregular heartbeat.


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Potassium is found naturally in many foods, such as prunes, apricots, sweet potatoes, and lima beans. But food may not be enough to keep up your potassium levels if you take a diuretic for high blood pressure such as hydrochlorothiazide Esidrix, HydroDiuril. These drugs cause potassium to leave your body in the urine, thereby lowering your body's potassium levels.

In those cases, we do use supplements," says Dr.


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Don't try a supplement on your own. Too much potassium, like too little, can lead to dangerous irregular heart rhythms. Magnesium helps regulate hundreds of body systems, including blood pressure, blood sugar, and muscle and nerve function. We need magnesium to help blood vessels relax, and for energy production, and bone development. Just like potassium, too much magnesium can be lost in urine due to diuretic use, leading to low magnesium levels.

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It's best to get the mineral from food, especially dark, leafy green vegetables, unrefined grains, and legumes. Too much magnesium from a supplement or from magnesium-containing drugs such as laxatives may cause diarrhea.

Everyday ways to lower your blood pressure

There are no known adverse effects of magnesium intake from food. Calcium is important for healthy blood pressure because it helps blood vessels tighten and relax when they need to. It's also crucial for healthy bones and the release of hormones and enzymes we need for most body functions.

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We consume it naturally in dairy products, fish such as canned salmon and sardines , and dark, leafy greens. The RDA of calcium for men ages 51 and older is between 1, and 1, mg per day. Potassium and sodium are electrolytes needed for the body to function normally and help maintain fluid and blood volume in the body. However, a person can get high blood pressure by consuming too much sodium and not enough potassium. Vegetables and fruits, such as potatoes, tomatoes, leafy greens, sweet potatoes, beans, and bananas; dairy products, such as yogurt; and seafood, such as salmon and clams, are good sources of potassium.

One gram of salt sodium chloride equals milligrams of sodium. Section Navigation.

The combination of consuming more sodium and having too little potassium in your diet is associated with higher blood pressure. These foods include baked potatoes with the flesh and skin, plain yogurt, salmon, and bananas. Not eating enough potassium is associated with increased risk of hypertension, which can lead to cardiovascular diseases, such as stroke.

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The eating plan is low in sodium and saturated fats and rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, fiber, and protein. Food and Drug Administration issued final rules to update the Nutrition Facts label for packaged foods. The new Nutrition Facts label is appearing on more and more packages and includes mandatory labeling of potassium to help consumers make informed choices about food. In the past, including potassium on the Nutrition Facts label was voluntary. Potassium is required on the updated label because it has been identified as a nutrient Americans are not getting enough of, and when lacking, is associated with increased risk of chronic disease.

Hypertension and Nutrition

Department of Health and Human Services, U. Department of Agriculture. Washington, DC: U. Department of Health and Human Services; Sources of sodium in U. Institute of Medicine. Associations between urinary sodium and potassium excretion and blood pressure among adults in the United States: National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, External.

Urinary potassium excretion and risk of developing hypertension. The prevention of renal and vascular end-stage disease study External. Systematic Review No.