(NaturalNews) High blood pressure, which afflicts roughly one-third of Americans, and heart disease, the leading cause of death in the US, are both often attributed to bad habits like excess sodium intake and poor overall diet. However, a new report released by the US Institute of Medicine suggests that potassium deficiency may also be a critical factor in these diseases, and that Americans would do well to consume more potassium-rich foods as part of their regular diets.
According to the report, the average American consumes half of the recommended daily amount of potassium, which is 4,700 milligrams (mg) a day for adults. A 2010 study published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine found that consuming this amount of potassium every day can significantly improve blood pressure, as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/09...).
Potassium is also responsible for helping to keep a balanced pH level inside the body. When pH levels go awry, the body is more prone to developing disease. And maintaining healthy bone mass, nervous system health, muscle function, kidney health, and adrenal function, all require regular high intake of potassium.
But to put 4,700 mg of potassium into perspective, a person would have to eat roughly ten bananas a day in order to meet the government's bare minimum threshold for potassium intake, which is most likely lower than what is needed to obtain full, optimal health benefits. Even an whole avocado contains only about one-third of this minimum recommendation.
So what can you do to help increase your daily consumption of health-promoting potassium? Besides eating more bananas and avocados, which contain about 500 mg and 1,600 mg of potassium each, respectively, you can also integrate more beets, Brussels sprouts, Swiss chard, Lima beans, potatoes, and raisins into your diet. Winter squash, tomatoes, spinach, and prunes also have very high levels of potassium.