We all know that eating vegetables is good for us. But it seems like new research is coming out every day that further explains why these nutrient-rich foods are so beneficial. The latest is a study that sheds light on how upping your vegetable intake can help you outsmart one of the major culprits behind heart disease and stroke.
You probably know by now that high blood pressure raises your risk of cardiovascular issues. Yet over a billion people around the world still struggle to keep their hypertension in check. That may be because many people don't fully understand how their lifestyle choices are contributing to this problem.
If I asked you what dietary changes you should make to lower your blood pressure, you'd probably talk about limiting your sodium intake. And while it doesn't work for everyone, for some people that's not a bad idea. But most people don't understand that decreasing sodium is only going to solve half the equation. The other half involves a nutrient we don't hear much about: potassium.
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It's a shame that we don't talk about potassium more, as it's very important to our health. In fact, the heart, muscles, and nerves all need potassium to function properly. And eating more potassium helps the kidneys flush out more salt and water. If you don't have enough potassium, your body will retain sodium. And that can increase blood pressure just as if you ate a high-sodium diet. Having enough potassium helps your body feel free to keep flushing sodium out. In fact, it can be just as effective as taking a diuretic — and it's a lot healthier.
Vegetables are a great source of potassium. The vegetables highest in potassium are: potatoes, sweet potatoes, vegetable/tomato juice, asparagus, spinach, cabbage, sprouts, mushrooms, Brussels sprouts, zucchini, winter squash, avocado, and broccoli. One easy way to increase your vegetable intake is to make a smoothie and add a couple scoops of Advanced Greens Formula. You'll get nutrients from 22 different superfoods and fruits, including some extra potassium. And you'll be ahead of the curve whenever researchers release the next new study extolling the benefits of vegetables.
Yours for better health,
Frank Shallenberger, MD