Can potassium really regulate blood pressure?


Can potassium really regulate blood pressure?

 | By Holly Trueman | @hollytrueman

In the world of minerals, potassium is basically a superhero. Why? Because if you consume the recommended amount, it can do WONDERS for your body. From promoting healthy kidneys to regulating the heartbeat…the mineral has countless benefits.

But what does it do to your blood pressure?

Nowadays, so much of our food is jam-packed with salt. Whilst that’s great news for the taste buds, it’s not good news for our bodies. Too much sodium (salt) in our diets can increase blood pressure, making us more likely to have a stroke or develop heart disease.

This is where potassium-rich food comes in handy. Since potassium almost blunts the effects of sodium, having a higher intake of the mineral can make you less likely to spend those future years tucked up in a hospital bed and suffering from heart disease.

What has potassium in?

When we hear 'potassium', we automatically think of bananas. But if you’re not a fan of the yellow fruit, don’t panic! There’s plenty of other foods that are jam-packed with goodness.

What happens if I don’t have enough?

For the avid gym-goers, potassium is super-important. Why? Because it’s great for muscle growth, and without it, you may continually experience muscle cramps and fatigue.

What’s more? When you’re low on potassium, your bodily functions will slow down - this is pretty bad news for your digestive system, as it may lead to constipation, bloating and cramps.

And last, but by no means least, without enough potassium, your heartbeat may become irregular. This is because potassium is an electrolyte that transports electricity from cell to cell. Without sufficient amounts, the electrical current won’t be steady, which often leads to heart flutters.

How much potassium do I need?

To avoid all of the above, the typical adult should consume around 4,700mg per day. To put that figure into perspective, in a medium sized banana, there’s 422mg of potassium. Another figure? In a medium sized sweet potato, there’s around 438mg of the mineral. So if you’re maintaining a balanced diet, there’s absolutely no need for supplements! 

So there you have it! The low down on potassium.

We hope we’ve given you a motive to tuck into a banana with your breakfast this morning!