High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a leading cause of heart disease, strokes, and kidney failure. In the United States, almost half of the adults have high blood pressure, yet, according to the CDC, only about one in four adults with hypertension have it under control, largely due to diet. The average American diet has way too much sodium and not nearly enough potassium. And this is a problem because potassium actually is very helpful in lowering blood pressure. But be careful because a high potassium diet is actually not for everyone, as we will discuss. So today, we're going to talk about high potassium foods, and I'm going to answer the question: Are these 21 high potassium foods really good for lowering blood pressure? Keep reading.
Daily Potassium Requirement
Many studies have revealed that low potassium is actually associated with high blood pressure and a high risk of strokes. And most Americans take in less than half of the daily recommended amount of potassium, which is, for the average American, 4,700 milligrams. High potassium diets can be good for lowering blood pressure because the more potassium you take in, the more sodium you put out. When you have a high potassium diet, that high potassium allows you to excrete more sodium through the urine. And of course, high sodium is not good for blood pressure. Also, potassium tends to decrease the tension in blood vessels. This helps the blood vessels to relax, which also lowers blood pressure.
A High Potassium Diet Is Not For Everyone
When it comes to high potassium foods, please be careful because a high potassium diet is not for everyone. If you are a person with advanced kidney disease, for example, then you will likely have an issue with excreting potassium, so your physician will probably want you to have a limited amount of potassium. Also, suppose you're taking certain medications which cause potassium to be high in your body, such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, and aldosterone inhibitors like spironolactone. In that case, you also need to consult with your physician because you also will likely need to limit the potassium you take in.
And then there are people who have certain disorders or diseases which cause them to have high potassium. These patients, again, should not have a high potassium diet. Always consult with your physician when making dietary changes. Nevertheless, for the average American adult, if you have elevated blood pressure or blood pressure that's higher than 120 over 80, then you should increase the potassium in your diet and try to get it to at least 4,700 milligrams per day.
21 Foods High In Potassium For Lower Blood Pressure
I'm sure you've heard that bananas are a rich source of potassium, and they are. One medium banana has about 425 milligrams of potassium. Here's the issue. If you were to solely depend on bananas for your daily potassium intake, you would have to take in like 10 bananas. So bananas are high in potassium, but unfortunately, they're also high in sugar, carbs, and calories. So if you're trying to maintain a healthy weight, this could be an issue, so you want to also rely on other sources for your potassium intake.
2. Tomatoes and Tomato Juice
Both of these are also high potassium foods which can reduce your high blood pressure. However, when you're taking in tomatoes, you want to make sure that they are fresh. You want the tomato juice to be fresh, not canned. Because when you're dealing with canned tomatoes and juice, they may have high sodium, which will counteract the purpose of the potassium lowering your blood pressure.
3. Oranges and Orange Juice
Oranges and orange juice are also very rich in potassium and can help to decrease your blood pressure. However, you again want to make sure that the orange juice is fresh and not from concentrate because it will have added sugar. And we know that too much sugar can actually lead to weight gain and high blood pressure.
4. Grapefruit and Grapefruit Juice
Grapefruit is definitely a high source of potassium. Here's the issue. Grapefruits and grapefruit juice can interact with certain medications like certain cholesterol-lowering medications, so you want to consult with your physician when choosing this high potassium food to help lower your blood pressure.
5. Apricots and Apricot Juice
Apricots and apricot juice are high potassium foods that can help reduce blood pressure. In fact, just one cup of sliced apricots has 427 mg of potassium, and one cup of apricot juice has about 149 mg of potassium. Dried apricots are also an excellent source of potassium and just a half cup of dried apricots has over 1100 mg of potassium!
Just one kiwi has about 215 mg of potassium. Kiwis are also a good source of fiber and antioxidants, both of which have been shown to be beneficial for heart health.
One medium nectarine has 285 mg of potassium and just 63 calories. So if you're looking for a low-calorie, high potassium food to help lower your blood pressure, nectarines are a good choice.
8. Cantaloupe and Honeydew
Both cantaloupe and honeydew are great sources of potassium with one cup of cantaloupe containing about 473 mg of potassium and one cup of diced honeydew melon containing around 388 mg. Just be careful when enjoying your cantaloupe and your other melons because there are certain cultures that enjoy adding salt to melons. However, when you add the salt, that sodium will counteract the good work of the potassium, and so you want to eat your melon and all of your fruits fresh.
9. Prunes and Prune Juice
If you're looking for a high potassium food that's also a good source of fiber, then prunes and prune juice are great. Just one cup of pitted prunes has about 1274 mg of potassium, and one cup of canned prune juice has about 707 mg. Also, dried plums or prunes are a good source of potassium with just 1/2 cup providing nearly 700 mg.
1/2 cup of raisins provides nearly 600 mg of potassium and they're also a good source of fiber and other nutrients like iron. Raisins are a great way to get a quick dose of potassium when you need it and they're also portable so you can take them with you on the go.
Avocados are high in potassium and good for lowering blood pressure. Half of an avocado has 345 mg of potassium and only 5 mg of sodium so this is an excellent choice for many reasons. They are also a great source of healthy fats and fiber.
Greens like collard greens, kale, and arugula tend to be high in potassium. One cup of cooked collard greens has over 200 mg of potassium. So if you're looking for a high potassium food to help decrease your blood pressure, these leafy greens are a good choice. Again, you want to make sure that you're not adding salt, because having that sodium counteracts the effects. And you want to make sure that, if you are using a salt substitute, consult with your physician, because many salt substitutes already have potassium and you want to make sure that you're not adding even more potassium than necessary.
Spinach is another great source of potassium and is also a good source of magnesium which is also beneficial for lowering blood pressure. One cup of cooked spinach has about 838 mg of potassium.
Broccoli is a vegetable with many health benefits including being high in potassium. One cup of raw broccoli has almost 300 mg of potassium. Broccoli is also a good source of fiber and vitamins A, C, and K.
15. Beans (white beans, lima beans, lentils, pinto beans, kidney beans)
Beans are an excellent source of potassium and fiber. Just one cup of cooked lima beans has over 900 mg of potassium! Here's a breakdown of the potassium content of some of the other beans (1 cup cooked):
- White Beans - 1190 mg
- Lima Beans - 955 mg
- Pinto Beans - 745 mg
- Lentils - 730 mg
- Kidney Beans - 713 mg
So if you're looking for a high potassium food to help reduce your blood pressure, beans are an awesome choice! What's also great about beans is that they also are loaded with fiber and that helps to decrease cholesterol. Be sure to watch my video on how to unclog your arteries naturally after you finish reading this article.
Peas provide many nutrients including potassium, fiber, and vitamins A and C. One cup of cooked peas has over 400 mg of potassium. So if you're looking for a high potassium food to help lower your blood pressure, peas are a smart choice.
17. Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is wonderful for lowering blood pressure. It's loaded with potassium, fiber, and magnesium. Just one cup of cooked butternut squash has almost 600 mg of potassium! But when you're eating that butternut squash, again, you want to make sure you're not dealing with recipes that have a lot of sodium and added sugar, or you can run into other health concerns.
18. Potatoes and Sweet Potatoes
Ooh, those infamous high carbohydrate potatoes! Well, guess what? They're an excellent source of potassium and one baked white potato can have up to 700 milligrams! You want to make sure that when you're eating potatoes, you're not loading them up with all the fixings like sour cream, butter, and cheese because that will add unnecessary calories and fat.
A half-cup of mashed sweet potatoes has 470 mg of potassium. They're also a good source of fiber which can help to lower blood pressure. Sweet potatoes also contain a type of starch that has a low glycemic index, meaning it doesn't cause spikes in blood sugar levels. This is important because spikes in blood sugar can lead to high blood pressure.
19. Seafood (tuna, halibut, salmon, mackerel)
Now, here is one of my favorite sources of potassium, seafood. Fatty fish like tuna, salmon, mackerel, and halibut, are all sources of high potassium which can help to lower your blood pressure. They are also excellent protein sources. They have omega-3s, and vitamin D, and most seafood are just excellent, nutritious food all around. But again, be careful when preparing it. Try to use seasonings like garlic, and onion. You want to avoid sodium. You also want to avoid sauces with a lot of sugar because you don't want to counteract the health benefits of seafood. Be sure to avoid brine fish or fish that has been treated with chemicals like sodium metabisulfite because these can also increase your blood pressure.
20. Nuts (pistachios, peanuts, almonds)
Nuts like pistachios, peanuts, and almonds are all excellent sources of potassium and protein, and heart-healthy food. But you want to make sure that your nuts are unsalted. Please do not add sodium because again you'll be counteracting the benefits of the potassium.
Lastly, milk. Yes, milk can do the body good. When you're dealing with low-fat milk, 1% milk, or even yogurt, the milk is high in potassium, and again, this can help to lower your blood pressure. Be sure to watch my video on 15 foods to avoid if you have high blood pressure after you finish watching reading this article.
So I've just given you 21 foods high in potassium, and the answer is yes, these 21 high potassium foods really are good for lowering your blood pressure. Remember, the average person should be taking in 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. But again, if you are a person with advanced kidney disease, if you're taking medications like ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, spironolactone, or if you have a disease or a disorder that causes you to have high potassium, then you want to limit your potassium and be sure that you consult with your physician. Also, please do not take potassium supplementations unless you do it under the advisement of your healthcare provider. In addition to having a high potassium diet, you want to make sure you're doing other heart-healthy things such as limiting the sodium in your diet, exercising, and drinking enough water. You also want to make sure that you're meditating and that you're having a heart-healthy, mostly plant-based diet. Again, always consult with your physician about what's best for you for managing your high blood pressure.