Cashews – The Potassium Link

Cashews – The Potassium Link

 In order for the body to function properly, it needs the mineral potassium. Potassium helps the nerves and muscles of the body communicate. It can also help with preventing negative effects on a body which has high levels of sodium, effecting blood pressure. According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, “Potassium is a mineral that, among other things, helps your muscles contract, helps regulate fluids and mineral balance in and out of body cells and helps maintain normal blood pressure by blunting the effect of sodium. Potassium may also reduce your risk of recurrent kidney stones and possibly bone loss as we get older.” (It’s About Eating Right”)

When the body gets enough of the potassium it needs, it is able to perform necessary functions and it also reduces the risk of issues to the body later in life. So it’s pretty important to have a diet with plenty of potassium in it. The good news is, potassium is found in cashews, which are one of the best tasting nuts you can buy.

The Sodium and Potassium Link

 According to the Department of Health & Human Services, “Nearly all Americans eat too much salt (sodium). Most of the salt comes from eating processed foods (75%), or adding salt to food while cooking and using the salt shaker at meals (5% to 10%). On average, the more salt a person eats, the higher his or her blood pressure. Eating less salt is an important way to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, which may in turn reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney damage. To reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, eat less processed food and use less salt while cooking and at the table.” (“Sodium and Potassium”)

For people who eat too much sodium, high blood pressure is a problem. High blood pressure is known in the medical world as ‘hypertension’. But what can high blood pressure do to a body? According to The Mayo Clinic, high blood pressure can do damage to your arteries, heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. It can also cause sexual dysfunction, bone loss, and cause trouble sleeping. (“High blood pressure dangers: Hypertensions effect’s on your body”)

Let’s take a look at just one of these organs – the brain. Hypertension causes problems which can be hard to counteract once they are in place. The brain needs a vast supply of blood for it to work properly. When hypertension is in place, it can cause a transient ischemic attack, also known as a TIA, which is like a mini stroke and often a clue that a true stroke is on the way. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A stroke occurs when part of your brain is deprived of oxygen and nutrients, causing brain cells to die. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to stroke by damaging and weakening your brain’s blood vessels, causing them to narrow, rupture or leak. High blood pressure can also cause blood clots to form in the arteries leading to your brain, blocking blood flow and potentially causing a stroke.” (“High blood pressure dangers: Hypertensions effect’s on your body”)

Hypertension can also cause dementia which can cause problems with the thought process, reasoning, memory, and vision. It also leads to mild cognitive impairment. So when you look at just one of these issues, it’s important to understand the benefits of eating a healthy diet, with foods that have potassium in them, such as cashews.

Diet Changes – Easier than You Think

 Many people eat fast food as a convenience. Whether you’re working late at the office and need a quick bite to eat or are a mom on the go, taking kids to and from school and practice, many people stop for fast food. There are fast food restaurants on every corner, beaconing with their neon lights and dollar menus. But changing your diet and getting away from fast food doesn’t need to be hard.

One way to accomplish this would be to keep healthy snacks around for when those cravings hit, snacks such as nutrient rich cashews. In addition to potassium, they have copper, iron, zinc, magnesium, and manganese. Your body needs all of these and it’s easy to carry cashews around. They are portable and can be kept easily in your car for those moments when you’re tempted to eat what you know you shouldn’t. Giving your body healthy cashews is easy, and can help to keep it in top working condition for years to come.

References

 “It’s About Eating Right.” Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, n.d. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.eatright.org/Public/content.aspx?id=6801>.

 “Sodium and Potassium.” Health Facts. Department of Health & Human Services. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.csrees.usda.gov/nea/food/pdfs/hhs_facts_sodium.pdf>.

“High blood pressure dangers: Hypertension’s effects on your body.” Diseases and Conditions. The Mayo Clinic, 12 Feb 2014. Web. 31 Mar 2014. <http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-pressure/in-depth/high-blood-pressure/art-20045868>.