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The Natural Way to Fight High Blood Pressure

Douglas Merriam

Cutting back on sodium can be one way to lower high blood pressure. Now there's another drug-free way you can reduce your numbers: adding potassium to your diet. What really helps is simultaneously cutting back on your sodium intake while consuming more potassium-rich foods. For the greatest benefits, limit sodium to 2,300 milligrams a day and get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium.

You should also avoid processed foods if you're watching your blood pressure. "When foods are processed, often sodium is added, increasing our risk for hypertension," says Bethany Thayer, RD, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association.

Thayer also cautions against taking potassium supplements unless recommended by your doctor. Some people, those with kidney ailments, for example, have difficulty clearing high levels of potassium from the body, which can make their heart slow -- or stop. Check with your doctor before making any major lifestyle changes, particularly if you're already being treated for high blood pressure.

Potassium Power

Food

Potassium

1 baked sweet potato

694 mg

1 small baked potato

610 mg

8 ounces nonfat yogurt

580 mg

3 ounces halibut, cooked

490 mg

1 banana

422 mg

1 cup milk

380 mg

3 ounces lean center rib pork loin, roasted

371 mg

1 cup cantaloupe

368 mg

1 cup orange juice

355 mg

1 cup oatmeal

120 mg