How Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure in Diabetics

How Potassium Lowers Blood Pressure in Diabetics

When diabetics are learning about good nutrition, one thing they often don't understand is that nutrients act in competition with each other. For example, if there's too much zinc, the copper levels are depleted. Too much calcium can deplete magnesium and phosphorus. Too much sodium can deplete potassium.

Knowing these nutrient balances can give you great insight into why you have high blood pressure as a diabetic. The answer could be very simple – you simply have too much sodium and not enough potassium.

Americans eat too much sodium

It's easy in our society to eat too much sodium, because salt is added to just about every packaged food, prepared food, and processed meat and cheese on the market. It's also in canned foods as a preservative. Just look at the label of canned soup and you will be shocked that the amount of sodium in one can exceeds the amount of sodium you should consume in an entire day. Diabetics should never consume more than 2000 mg of sodium in one day.

Can you reclaim your health after eating too much sodium?

If you do happen to eat 3000 mg in one day, do you know what you should do? Remember the rule about nutrients competing with each other and know that if sodium goes up, potassium is going low. Thus, by adding some potassium supplements – say three 99 mg capsules, you have now helped a little bit to restore the proper ratio between the two elements.

Many people have noticed that by switching to a low sodium diet and by adding two 99 mg capsules of potassium two to three times a day, their blood pressure level starts to come down on its own. This is because the nutrient rule always works.

By the way, you could consume 4000 mg potassium in foods in a day and still be perfectly fine, so you can see that the 594 mg potassium is miniscule compared to the daily needs. You won't overdose on 594 mg potassium.

When to get professional help

But if you want to proceed cautiously, the best bet is to contact your clinical nutritionist and discuss the whole matter with him or her. She'll tell you that if you have kidney problems, it's best to leave your sodium-potassium balancing act on the food level by checking food labels and only eating less than 2000 mg sodium per day and up to 4000 mg potassium a day.

Gain better control of your blood pressure with diet

Lowering sodium levels and increasing potassium levels is a good way for you to gain control of your blood pressure. The foods highest in potassium per serving are melons (215 mg in ½ cup cantaloupe), sodium-free pinto beans (400 mg in a ½ cup cooked beans), and salmon (319 mg in 3 ounces baked/broiled). A half-cup of prune juice has 370 mg of potassium and half of a papaya is 390 mg.

There are vegetables high in potassium, too. One medium sized baked sweet potato has 450 mg potassium; a half cup of broccoli, brussels sprouts or zucchini has 220 to 250 mg, and a half cup mushrooms has 280 mg.

It's easy to start eating a healthier diet when you understand this simple rule about how sodium and potassium interact and affect your blood pressure.