I'll tell you a secret. Two years ago I was diagnosed with hypertension, or high blood pressure. At that time, I gave in to the doctor's pressure to take high blood pressure medication ("don't you want to be there for your daughter?"). I was prescribed Metoprolol, a beta blocker.
While the drug did lower my blood pressure somewhat, it also made me dizzy, and tired. The doctor recommended I eliminate all salt from my diet, which I did. I stopped salting my food, and stopped eating anything out of a package or can, because these packaged foods are typically very high in sodium. Result? Absolutely zero change in my blood pressure.
I felt there had to be a better answer, and began looking. I learned about sodium, and that traditional white table salt is as stripped of nutrients as white flour, and about as healthy as cocaine. I learned about Good sodium, and Good salt- pink Himalayan and Celtic grey salts. Since the pink salt was in my grocery store, I got some, and started using it. Within a few days of using the pink salt, my blood pressure went DOWN ten points. So much for the myth that "all sodium raises your blood pressure".
The truth is, White processed salt raises your blood pressure, because in stripping away the trace minerals that were originally there, your body doesn't have what it needs to process it. Pink and Grey salts still have the nutrients that were there to begin with- the companion nutrients, or cofactors, necessary for your body to properly utilize the sodium.
So if eating the right sodium lowered my blood pressure naturally, what Else could I do naturally to get my blood pressure down those last few points? I wanted to get off those beta blockers as soon as possible.
Thankfully, my research led me to potassium. Hopefully, you've already read the previous potassium post- if you haven't, this is a good time to review it. When your body does not get enough potassium, your blood pressure goes up. Hmm. Seems a natural assumption then, that if lack of potassium will CAUSE high blood pressure, then eating enough potassium will FIX high blood pressure. And it does.
I started eating more potassium rich foods every day. I skipped a dose of the Metoprolol to see how my bp would react, now that I was eating a healthy salt and getting enough potassium- and my bp stayed normal. I spoke with my doctor and pharmacist about quitting the medication. They gave me a tapering schedule, and I was completely off the med in a few weeks.
That's it. It's all about the potassium. You need potassium every single day- it's not something you can build up on the weekends and expect it to last you during the weekdays. Every day. Just like water, oxygen, sleep, and other daily necessities, potassium is so vital for every part of your body- and potassium needs balanced with Good sodium and magnesium. But if you read the previous blogs, you already know that.
I now liberally salt my food with pink or grey salt, to my taste preferences. I try to eat potassium with every meal, snack on dried apricots, drink lots of tomato juice and coconut water, and if I've missed and I'm feeling low in potassium, I make a potassium smoothie.
Potassium Smoothie: 1 banana, 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt, 1/2 cup coconut water, 1/2 cup other fruit (preferably frozen), 1/2 teaspoon Camu Camu powder, 1/2 teaspoon Maca powder
You can omit the last two items if you don't have them. Camu Camu is a tropical fruit and a great source of whole food vitamin C, as well as an added potassium boost. Maca powder has potassium and iron, and is good for regulating blood sugar. We have made this smoothie using for the other fruit blueberries, cherries, and mixed berries. This week we got some frozen mango, and I made spinach ice cubes to add to it as well. (measured how much water the ice cube tray holds; put spinach in blender with a little water, measured the resulting pulp, added water to bring it up to original content of ice cube tray, poured it out, froze it, popped frozen cubes into freezer bag)
We try to drink a smoothie a day. With that, the tomato juice, having a baked potato with lunch, substituting plain Greek yogurt for sour cream, and munching on the dried apricots, I do pretty well at hitting the RDA of 4,700 mg of potassium.