Why is Potassium Important to Good Blood Pressure?

When an older adult is diagnosed with hypertension or high blood pressure, the first thing family caregivers may think about in terms of dietary changes is decreasing the amount of salt they eat. That’s definitely an important step to take. However, there’s another change you should make—adding more potassium.


Elderly Care in Aurora: Potassium Importance

Elderly Care in Aurora: Potassium Importance


What Potassium Does

Potassium has a similar makeup to sodium. It helps to regulate blood pressure by moving into cells while at the same time moving sodium out. This process is needed to make cells function the way they should and to produce energy. The excess sodium is then flushed out of the body through urine. As a result, sodium has less of an effect on the body. Potassium also serves to relieve some of the tension in the walls of blood vessels, which also contributes to lowering blood pressure.

Most people don’t maintain a good balance between the sodium and potassium in their diets. The recommended amount of sodium per day is no more than 2,300 mg. That’s a little less than a teaspoon of salt. Most people eat far more than that. Even if your aging relative eats the recommended amount of potassium daily, which is 4,700 mg, the balance between the two substances may still be off. Unfortunately, in addition to eating too much salt, many people don’t eat enough potassium.


Good Sources of Potassium

One way to regain the balance between sodium and potassium is to focus on a diet comprised of whole foods. That’s because processed foods are usually high in sodium, so you want to avoid them as much as possible. And, the best place to find potassium is in certain whole foods. Some good sources of potassium are:

  • Avocados.
  • Yogurt.
  • Acorn and butternut squash.
  • Greens.
  • Whole potatoes, including the skin.
  • Apricots.
  • Cantaloupe.
  • Bananas.
  • Some fish, including halibut, tuna, salmon, and sardines.
  • Tomatoes.
  • Lima beans.
  • Mushrooms.


Use Potassium with Caution

Before you increase your aging relative’s potassium intake, talk to their doctor. Certain medical conditions can make eating more potassium inadvisable. For example, older adults who have kidney disease should not consume too much potassium. There are also other conditions that impact the way the body uses potassium.

Home care can help your older family member to improve their blood pressure by eating more potassium and less sodium. Home care providers can plan meals that include plenty of healthy whole foods, including those that contain potassium. And, a home care provider can cook for your loved one to ensure they always have delicious meals that can help them to be healthier overall.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Elderly Care in Aurora, please contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.





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