For some people, getting more of this mineral may be as important for controlling blood pressure as is getting less sodium. The third most abundant mineral in the body after calcium and phosphorus, potassium is an electrolyte—a substance that takes on a positive or negative charge when dissolved in the watery medium of the bloodstream. The body uses potassium and other electrolytes to conduct nerve impulses, initiate muscle contractions, and regulate heartbeat and blood pressure. Studies have shown that people who get plenty of potassium in their diets have lower blood pressure than those who get very little, even when their sodium intake remains high. Through its effects on blood pressure, potassium may also decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke. Potassium also may help against osteoporosis by preventing the body from stealing calcium from bones.
Top Potassium-Rich Foods
1. Beet greens, cooked
2. White beans, canned
4. Tomatoes, pureed, canned
6. Potato, baked with skin
7. Trail mix, tropical
8. Soybeans, cooked
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