Salt, salt, salt, and pills. If you have high blood pressure that is probably what you hear from your doc. Lower your salt intake and take these pills. Blah, blah, blah.
I’m not going to tell you to go against your docs advice here. I’m not a doc. But I know what I see in the research on salt and on pills, and let’s just say that the information your docs are getting is a little on the out of date side. In fact, more and more studies are actually showing that too little salt may CAUSE high blood pressure. But that’s a story for another day.
This study shows that potassium (K) not only LOWERS blood pressure, but it also has another very interesting effect when it comes to salt (Na) intake – which should make you feel tons better about putting salt on all and any of your food.
Which is great news for me. I love salt. And I hated feeling guilty about it when I used salt. I don’t anymore for a bunch of reasons. But especially because I always include this certain group of foods in my diet.
Are bananas the superfood for lowering high blood pressure?
I’ve been recommending that people eat lots and lots of ripe fruit in their diets for years. And if you can’t get ripe, then you should cook frozen fruit into a compote, which is so very tasty. Seriously… just warm, sweet goodness.
Your body loves to run on this type of fruit sugar, and you’ll be amazed at how good you feel.
And it turns out that there are even more good reasons to make sure that ripe fruit is in your daily diet. Ripe fruit (especially bananas) and well cooked veggies contain potassium (K – not the same as Vitamin K2) which has been shown to lower blood pressure naturally.
Numerous population studies demonstrate a relationship between higher dietary potassium, and lower Blood Pressure, regardless of salt intake
Regardless of Salt Intake
So this piece is really, really interesting. It turns out that if you eat enough dietary potassium you don’t have to worry about your salt intake. Like not at all. The one negates the other.
And here is why.
The distal tubule Na+-Cl− cotransporter (NCC) controls Na+ delivery downstream to the collecting duct, where Na+reabsorbed by epithelial Na+ channels drives K+ secretion and excretion through K+ channels in the same region
What this science-ease means is that potassium directly influences how sodium is used in the body, causing sodium to be re-absorbed and used correctly.
The body is pretty amazing when we put the right stuff into it. And it seems to self-regulate salt intake when we eat foods high in potassium.
(Although salt is not the devil Big Pharma says it is, but that’s another story)
Potassium supplements may also work.
Individuals who controlled their condition with medication demonstrated that K+ supplementation for one year led to over 80 percent of the participants reducing their use of medications by 50 percent, compared to 29 percent of the non-supplemented control group.
I strongly recommend getting your potassium from ripe fruit and well cooked veggies because they have a ton of other health benefits as well. But if for some reason you can’t stomach this stuff then try a supplement. It may help nearly or just as much.
If you are going to take supplements, I recommend powders, because they have a lot less extra junk in them – compared to pills.
But still… real food, especially in this case, is best.
So if this works then why all the blood pressure pills?
Seriously, if potassium works so well (easy as eating bananas) to not only lower blood pressure, but to make your body use salt correctly, why are doctors still prescribing pills?
The answer is sadly, very simple.
Big Pharma needs to make money from you and they control the research and education. So that’s what the docs know. It’s not really their fault. But it makes me crazy, because so many guys end up on these life long drugs that have horrible side effects when something else would work.
I never recommend you go off meds without consulting with your doc first.
Here is something to try.
Increase your ripe fruit intake – particularly bananas, but other fruit works as well – to 4 to 8 servings a day, and make sure when you do this that you take your blood pressure regularly – you don’t want it to get too low.
This will dramatically increase the natural amount of potassium in your diet and often will lower blood pressure all on it’s own. THEN you can go back to your doc and talk to him or her about lowering your meds.
Potassium really works.
Click for more information on eating more salt, for information on diet and exercise, and for ways to increase your salt intake.