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Teens: Potassium-Rich Diet May Mean Lower Blood Pressure

A study found that girls with diets high in potassium have lower blood pressure into their teens. Published in JAMA Pediatrics, the study looked at data on the sodium and potassium intakes, and the blood pressures, of 2,185 girls, ages 9 to 10. The data also included an additional 10 years of follow-up with the girls so that researchers could continue to assess their diets and systolic and diastolic blood pressures. After adjusting for race, height, activity, screen time, energy intake, and other dietary factors, the study found that:

  • Girls consuming higher amounts of potassium had lower blood pressure in their teens compared with girls consuming less potassium.
  • Higher sodium consumption (greater than 3,000 mg per day) was not associated with higher adolescent blood pressure. In fact, girls consuming 3,500 mg/day or more generally had lower diastolic blood pressures compared with girls consuming less than 2,500 mg/day.

This study is important because it suggests that potassium-rich diets may be an effective way to lower blood pressure in adolescence. Only a small percentage of people get the recommended 4,700 mg/day of potassium, but there are many great sources of potassium that are easy to eat daily; these include bananas, raisins, sweet potatoes, avocados, spinach, and kale.

Source: JAMA Pediatrics

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