A recent study indicates a direct correlation between potassium intake and reduced blood pressure. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. However, the relationship between potassium and blood pressure is not yet fully understood. A number of factors are involved. First, dietary potassium is important for healthy blood pressure. It helps regulate the body’s sodium and nitrate levels. It is also essential for normal kidney function.
While some researchers are skeptical of the relationship between potassium and blood pressure, others believe it is an inverse one. People who consume high amounts of potassium tend to have lower blood pressure than those with low levels. The reason for this may be related to the fluid and electrolyte levels in the body. If your potassium levels are high, your sodium levels will be low. But this does not mean that you should completely cut sodium from your diet.
While a low potassium intake may be a contributing factor to high blood pressure in African Americans, the relationship is still substantial in white people and men. This could be due to a gene that affects potassium’s effects on blood pressure. However, the association between potassium and blood pressure was significant regardless of age, race, or other cardiovascular risk factors. It appears that potassium is essential for maintaining healthy electrolyte and fluid balance. Consequently, potassium helps keep the blood vessels relaxed, which lowers blood pressure.