The study, published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, also said that high intake of these minerals in the diet may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.
Study author Mark C. Houston of Vanderbilt University School of Medicine said that people around the globe consume double the sodium and about half of the potassium recommended. In isolated societies consuming diets high in fruits and vegetables, hypertension affects 1 percent of the population, whereas in industrialized countries which consume diets high in processed foods and large amounts of dietary sodium, 1 in 3 persons have hypertension, Houston said.
If people were able to increase their potassium intake, the number of adults with known hypertension with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg might decrease by more than 10 percent and increase life expectancy.
Similar studies show that diets high in magnesium -- at least 500 to 1,000 mg/d -- and calcium at more than 800 mg/d may also be associated with a decrease in blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension, but data regarding these minerals are not definitive, the researchers said minerals are really necessary for reducing the risk of hypertension.
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