Reducing your intake of salt is not enough to control blood pressure. Actually increasing your potassium intake will help you keep your blood pressure in check. The first step that you should take if you have blood pressure issues is to reduce your intake of salt. This means cutting down on chips, cheese, pizza, or anything else with a significant amount of salt.
A study from The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension project or DASH shows that a significant diet change to include more magnesium, calcium, fiber, and potassium could significantly reduce blood pressure. Other studies have supported this idea, especially one from France that found blood pressure is best controlled by reducing sodium and increasing potassium levels.
Recent research has shown that consuming potassium regulates the amount of sodium that the kidney excretes. The higher the intake of potassium, the more sodium the kidney is forced to release. There is this built-in "potassium sensor" in the kidneys. This same sensor controls the transport of sodium and when triggered, sends more sodium into the bloodstream to be excreted.
Not too much, not too little
However, small portions of potassium can actually be deadly. The normal blood plasma concentration of potassium is between 3.5 and 4 millimoles per liter. If the concentration goes beyond that, it could be deadly.
Prisoners on death row are given a high dose of potassium, for instance, since this will eventually lead to cardiac arrest. The kidneys maintain the balance of potassium inside and outside the kidneys, just like with sodium. It is important to control the amount of potassium found in foods.
Not too Little Salt
Your body generally deals very well with sodium. Even if you consume a little, the body will not excrete that much. But if you are sick with vomiting or diarrhea, you can lose significant amounts of it. In that case, salt becomes critical because it helps control the volume of water surrounding the cells and prevents dehydration.