Our bodies are designed to function best on a low-sodium, high-potassium diet (this is the pattern of mineral content in natural, unrefined foods). But while we're processing foods we not only add a lot of sodium, we also leach out potassium. So the typical diet of Americans and other industrialized societies—most of whose food is grown, stored, processed, and even cooked by others—tends to leave us short of potassium.
Potassium, just by itself, promotes a loss of salt (sodium chloride) from the body. It acts like a diuretic and so can be an important factor in reducing blood pressure. Doctors at London's Charing Cross Hospital reported this effect in the Lancet (1982).
It's important for people with high blood pressure to eat foods that contain plenty of potassium—particularly when they're taking diuretic pills that may reduce the body's potassium level even further. Processedfoods are high in sodium and low in potassium, but unprocessed fresh fruits, vegetables, and grains are the reverse and are wonderful sources of potassium.
You'll find your body is a lot happier if you eat more of a natural diet of fresh vegetables, fruits, and grains and cut back on all those processed foods.
Author: Cleaves M. Bennett MD FACP
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