What do halibut, avocadoes, peas, and potatoes have in common? They are all good sources of potassium. According to the American Heart Association, that also makes them good for reducing blood pressure levels. Understanding how potassium affects blood pressure is an excellent way for older adults and their family caregivers to take control of managing hypertension.
How Does Potassium Lower Blood Pressure?
Potassium helps to decrease blood pressure by counteracting the sodium your aging relative eats. Consuming potassium causes the body to flush more sodium out through urinating. In addition, it helps to reduce the tension in the walls of the blood vessels.
The American Heart Association says there is a caveat to eating potassium that seniors should be aware of. Only people who are otherwise healthy should attempt to lower blood pressure by eating more potassium. That’s because increasing potassium intake can be bad for people who have kidney problems or any condition that impacts how the body uses potassium. There are also certain medications that make extra potassium dangerous. Therefore, it’s important to talk to the senior’s diet before increasing the amount of potassium they eat.
How Much Potassium Should Older Adults Consume?
Most adults should have about 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium per day. Unfortunately, most people only get about half of that. At the same time, most people also eat much more sodium than they should. That means potassium and sodium levels are often out of balance, which can make blood pressure worse.
What Are Some Good Sources of Potassium?
Most people think of bananas when they think of foods that are good sources of potassium. While bananas are often considered the best source of potassium, there are other foods that are better choices. Bananas contain 420 mg of potassium, but a half cup of mashed sweet potatoes contains 475 mg. Some other good sources of potassium are:
- Lima beans.
- Tomatoes, tomato juice, and tomato sauce.
Senior care can help your older family member to eat more potassium by making meals and snacks that contain potassium rich foods. For example, rather than your aging relative reaching for a bag of chips when they need a snack, a senior care provider can encourage them to eat a banana or some broccoli and vegetable dip instead. Senior care providers can also offer drinks that contain potassium, like tomato juice or prune juice.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Senior Care in Gold Hill, OR, please contact the caring staff at Southern Oregon In-Home Care today! Proudly Serving Seniors in Josephine & Jackson Counties, Oregon. Call us today! (541) 236-4247.