Reduce Risk of Stroke and Osteoporosis with Potassium

If we were to tell you that with just one minor adjustment in your diet, you could reduce the risk of stroke, lower your blood pressure, and prevent bone loss, you’d probably think we were part of a pyramid scheme. Now, before you start tallying up expenses, let us reassure you, that this is true, and it has nothing to do with medications or powders or magic bars.

Boost your potassium intake!

When the World Health Organization and American Heart Association speak up, it’s time to listen. And what they’re emphasizing is the importance of increasing our potassium consumption.

So, what’s all the fuss about? It’s all about fruits and vegetables—more precisely, potassium-rich foods. Increasing your potassium intake has been shown to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attacks. Potassium not only helps lower blood pressure but also enhances the flexibility of your blood vessels, allowing them to expand when needed. Furthermore, there’s compelling evidence suggesting that potassium counteracts the adverse effects of excessive salt consumption—a common dietary habit among Americans.

However, it’s not just about potassium in isolation. It’s the harmonious combination of potassium with citrate, malate, and other compounds found in fruits and vegetables that our bodies convert into alkali. The typical American diet tends to be highly acidic due to an overabundance of processed grains and protein, and a scarcity of fruits and vegetables. When we consume meat and grains, our bodies produce acids as part of the metabolic process. If these acids accumulate and tip the balance towards excessive acidity in our body fluids and tissues, we rely on alkalis to neutralize them. Unfortunately, in the absence of sufficient potassium, our bodies turn to our bone reserves, which store alkalizing components like calcium. This results in the leaching of calcium from our bones to counteract the acid load.

Over years of tapping into our bone’s alkali reserves, we expose ourselves to the risk of osteoporosis—a condition characterized by reduced bone density, making us susceptible to fractures later in life. But, by adopting a high-potassium diet, which includes natural fruits and vegetables in proportion to grains, nuts, and beans (replacing some animal protein), our bodies generate ample alkali to balance out the acid intake, sparing our bones from deterioration.

It’s worth noting that obtaining potassium from food is far more effective than relying on potassium pills. Potassium pills usually contain potassium chloride, which is less effective at preventing bone loss compared to natural foods rich in potassium citrate and malate. Additionally, potassium chloride pills can be harsh on the stomach.


How much potassium should you eat a day?

According to recommendations from the National Academy of Medicine and the USDA, the target is 4700 milligrams of potassium per day, a significant jump from the average 3000 milligrams typically consumed by most Americans. Wondering what that translates to on your plate? The USDA provides a comprehensive chart listing various food sources of potassium, with sweet potatoes standing out as a top contender.

To strike the right balance, remember that both protein and grains contribute to body acidity. Aim to include twice as many fruits and vegetables in your diet as grains. Keep in mind that restaurant portions often far exceed these recommendations, so consider substituting some of your animal protein with vegetable-based sources like beans and soy to further reduce acidity. Fish is another excellent source of potassium and omega-3 fats, making it a worthy replacement for poultry and red meat. Lastly, most adults only require 3 ounces of animal protein per meal, so downsizing your portion size will also help reduce acidity.

With potassium-rich options spanning a wide array of fruits, vegetables, grains, and dairy products, achieving your daily potassium goal is entirely feasible. Nature has bestowed upon us an affordable and delectable means of promoting heart and bone health. All it takes is a mindful adjustment of these nutrient-rich foods in the right proportions within your diet.