Have High Blood Pressure? Get More Potassium Says New Study

High quality evidence from a new study shows that increased potassium intake reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension (high blood pressure) and higher potassium intake was associated with a 24% lower risk of stroke.
Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure Stroke Risk

22 randomized controlled trials (including 1606 participants) reporting blood pressure, blood lipids, catecholamine concentrations, and renal function and 11 cohort studies (127,038 participants) reporting all cause mortality, cardiovascular disease, stroke, or coronary heart disease in adults were included in the study.

Study Results

Increased potassium intake reduced systolic blood pressure by 3.49 (95% confidence interval 1.82 to 5.15) mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 1.96 (0.86 to 3.06) mm Hg in adults, an effect seen in people with hypertension but not in those without hypertension. Systolic blood pressure was reduced by 7.16 (1.91 to 12.41) mm Hg when the higher potassium intake was 90-120 mmol/day, without any dose response. Increased potassium intake had no significant adverse effect on renal function, blood lipids, or catecholamine concentrations in adults. An inverse statistically significant association was seen between potassium intake and risk of incident stroke (risk ratio 0.76, 0.66 to 0.89). Associations between potassium intake and incident cardiovascular disease (risk ratio 0.88, 0.70 to 1.11) or coronary heart disease (0.96, 0.78 to 1.19) were not statistically significant. In children, three controlled trials and one cohort study suggested that increased potassium intake reduced systolic blood pressure by a non-significant 0.28 (−0.49 to 1.05) mm Hg. These results suggest that increased potassium intake is potentially beneficial to most people without impaired renal handling of potassium for the prevention and control of elevated blood pressure and stroke.

How To Get Potassium From Foods

While supplements can be a good choice in certain situations, we always recommend food as the best source to increase intake of a certain vitamin, if possible. So what foods are a good source of Potassium?

All meats (red meat and chicken) and fish such as salmon, cod, flounder, and sardines are good sources of potassium. Soy products and veggie burgers are also good sources of potassium.

Vegetables including broccoli, peas, lima beans, tomatoes, potatoes (especially their skins), sweet potatoes, and winter squashes are all good sources of potassium.
Fruits that contain significant sources of potassium include citrus fruits, cantaloupe, bananas, kiwi, prunes, and apricots. Dried apricots contain more potassium than fresh apricots.
Milk and yogurt, as well as nuts, are also excellent sources of potassium.
People with kidney problems, especially those on dialysis, should not eat too many potassium-rich foods. The doctor or nurse will recommend a special diet.

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