Reducing salt consumption is essential, but it is not the only recommendation to keep pressure under control. Those suffering from hypertension, i.e. blood pressure levels equal to or greater than 140/90 mmHg, must rely on pharmacological therapy and medical advice – points out Prof. Giulio Stefanini, Help – Clinical Research Contact in the cardiovascular field of Humanitas, but can also help themselves with the diet, reducing the intake of salt.
Although the evidence on the relationship between increased consumption of potassium-rich foods and reduced blood pressure levels in adults needs further confirmation, it is now known that potassium is involved in several phenomena that also help regulate blood pressure. For example, potassium helps regulate the balance of fluids and minerals inside and outside the cells, thus also helping to keep the pressure normal, and dampening the effects of sodium, which instead, in excess, tends to increase the volume of liquids intra and extra cellular, also promoting an increase in pressure. In addition, potassium is involved in muscle contraction, including that of the heart muscle, and has a role in regulating the heartbeat. Increasing the consumption of potassium-rich foods, therefore, can help to keep the pressure under control, but it is early to say that it also helps to lower it. Therefore, since potassium-rich foods are typically fresh, poorly processed and sodium-poor foods, increasing their consumption can also help to follow a healthy lifestyle. Food processing, especially salting and cooking, can significantly change the potassium content. Vegetables are therefore the foods to be preferred and not to be missed in case of hypertension, in particular green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, eggplants, but also pumpkin, potatoes, carrots, white beans, bananas and dried fruit.