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Potent Potassium

Bananas have potent potassiumOranges have potent potassiumSlice of orange

Potassium for Blood Pressure

Potassium helps keep blood pressure down and aids muscle contractions, aids healthy electrical activity in the heart and rapid transmission of nerve impulses throughout the body. With the exception of calcium and phosphorus, no other mineral is as abundant in the human body as potassium.

Most people don't need to take supplements of this mineral because it's so widely available in foods such as bananas, orange juice, and potatoes. Potatoes, avocados, steamed clams, lima beans and apricots also contain potassium.

Studies now show that people who eat a diet high in potassium rich foods have a much lower risk of high blood pressure. Since high blood pressure can lead to heart attack and stroke, one can also say potassium helps prevent these diseases.

Potassium is important because it seems to calm the spiing effect that salt has on blood pressure. The landmark Intersalt study looked at more than 10,000 people from 32 countries. They found that people with the highest amounts of potassium in their blood had the lowest blood pressure.

Potassium aids in converting blood sugar (glucose, the body's foremost fuel), into glycogen. Glycogen is a form of energy that can be stored in the muscles and liver and released as needed.

Most adults easily get an adequate and safe amount of potassium from foods every day. A safe amount is said to be about 5.6g. There is no RDA for potassium.

Herbs and spices that contain potassium are black pepper, cayenne, cinnamon, chili, cloves, ginger, gurmeric, sage, thyme, cumin, coriander, dill, allspice, fennel, fenugreek, basil, marjoram, oregano, rosemary, peppermint, curry, garlic, paprika, nutmeg, savory, chives, caraway seed, tarragon, anise, saffron, parlsey and chervil. (Source: Nutrition Data)

By law, over-the-counter supplements cannot contain more than 99mg of potassium per pill, a ruling that applies to multivitamin and mineral preparations as well. Higher doses of potassium are available only by prescription and are necessary only in very special situations, such as the use of diuretics that promote potassium loss.

Warnings:  If you take a medication to control high blood pressure or heart disease, or if you have a kidney disorder, never take potassium supplements without medical supervision. Consuming potassium-rich foods is considered fine, however.

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