If you're looking for a low-sodium snack that will also give you a dose of heart-healthy nutrients, have a banana or an orange. These fruits and other potassium-rich foods can help balance your blood pressure. Along with other nutrients, potassium is also important for nerve function and muscle control and helps to keep your heartbeat regular. However, most diets tend to contain far more sodium than potassium. Boost your potassium by eating more foods that are high in this mineral to help counteract the effects of salt on hypertension or high blood pressure.
Add orange-colored fruits and vegetables to your daily diet. Grill, roast or bake yams, pumpkin or squash for lunch or dinner. Eat oranges, peaches, cantaloupe, nectarines and apricots as a snack or dessert. These foods are all rich sources of potassium; a medium-sized orange contains approximately 237 milligrams of this mineral.
Bake a potato for lunch or dinner. A medium-sized potato eaten with the skin on is rich in fiber and will give you about 929 milligrams of potassium. Garnish your potato with low-fat yogurt or sour cream for added potassium. Flavor it with fresh or dried herbs instead of salt to keep your meal low in sodium. Alternatively, grill fish such as salmon, cod or flounder to add potassium to your daily diet. Meats and some types of fish also contain potassium.
Make a bean salad for lunch or a side dish. Toss beans, avocado and tomatoes and flavor the salad with citrus juice. These foods are rich in potassium. Instead of adding salt and store-bought dressings that are high in sodium, make your own with olive oil, vinegar and fresh or dried herbs.
Snack on a banana to get about 422 milligrams of potassium. Dried fruits such as dates, raisins, prunes and dried apricots also contain this nutrient. A 1/2-cup serving of dates provides 584 milligrams of potassium.
- If you have hypertension, your doctor may prescribe medications as well as an eating plan such as the DASH diet -- which stands for dietary approach to stop hypertension -- to lower your blood pressure. This diet is high in potassium, calcium and magnesium and low in fats and sodium.
- The daily recommended potassium dose for adults is 4,700 milligrams; however, women who are breastfeeding require 5,100 milligrams per day.
- If you have hypertension, take your prescribed medication as instructed by your doctor or pharmacist. Reducing or stopping your medication can lead to heart disease and stroke.
- If you have any chronic health condition, consult your doctor before beginning any type of diet.
Nadia Haris is a registered radiation therapist who has been writing about nutrition for more than six years. She is completing her Master of Science in nutrition with a focus on the dietary needs of oncology patients.