It's the last week of the year. Time to make New Year's resolutions. The most common resolution is to lose weight. Another good resolution is to improve your blood pressure if you have high blood pressure. A perfect way to start for either of these is to begin a diet of high potassium foods. For most of us a high potassium diet will result in a lower blood pressure. Because of the foods in a high potassium diet, most of us will feel more energetic and lose weight over time.
The effect from a high potassium diet on blood pressure can be seen within 2 weeks, so you will know right away if it is working. If it is going to help you, you will know before February. If you go on a high potassium diet by eating high potassium foods, you will also be lowering your sodium intake, since almost all of the high potassium foods have little sodium. The IOM recommendation of 4700 mg of potassium and less than 1500 mg of sodium is easily attained on a high potassium foods diet.
How to start? The easiest way is to start with breakfast. Smoothies or cooked cereal can be made high potassium by including some of the high potassium foods in the tables we have on the website. Click on the “Links to Food Potassium Tables” at the top of the page to find some high potassium foods. Lunch and dinner also can be easily made into high potassium meals.
For lunch, a raw vegetable and a fruit, as well as a few nuts and some dairy such as milk or yogurt, with a small portion of meat or poultry will do. If the food has not been highly processed, which often results in a higher sodium load, just taking a portion from each of these groups can result in a high potassium diet.
The vegetables table will give you a list to choose from for the vegetable to include in the meal. Just eat it raw, or steam it, and it will lose no potassium. Cooking by boiling will leach out the potassium and should be avoided. Of course, fruit is usually eaten raw.
The nuts will add a lot of potassium in a small volume, and give healthy fats (unless coconut). Walnuts and macadamias are good choices. Using olive oil for salads provides a healthy fat, but gives no potassium.
Most meats will have a favorable potassium to sodium ratio, unless they have been injected with sodium for preservation. If you choose from the poultry and fish categories or wild game, you will also be getting healthy fats in an appropriate amount.
And finally, dairy has a favorable potassium to sodium ratio, except for cheese. Cheese generally has much more sodium than potassium and should be avoided or minimized.
A good New Year's resolution is to switch to a high potassium foods diet to reduce blood pressure. It will also help you strengthen your bone density. And over the long run, it will help to bring your weight into the normal range.