There may be a solution in the produce aisle to controlling high blood pressure or even reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure.

It seems the potassium in your diet is just as important for maintaining healthy blood pressure as reducing the sodium in your diet. And one of the best ways to get more potassium in the diet is to eat more fruits and vegetables.

A study published in The Journal of Clinical Hypertension suggested, “If Americans were to boost their potassium intake, adult cases of high blood pressure would fall by more than 10 percent.” An additional new study looked at the ratio of sodium to potassium, and the evidence found lowering dietary sodium intake, while increasing potassium levels, might also reduce the incidence of cardiovascular disease.

The American Heart Association guidelines recommend 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day. But many Americans fall short. In fact, levels of potassium in the American diet have decreased. Potassium is plentiful in a wide variety of foods, especially fruits and vegetables, fish, pork and dairy products.

Along with increasing potassium in the diet, Americans still have work to do to decrease the sodium. The average American consumes 3,600 mg of sodium daily, mostly from processed or packaged foods. The current dietary guidelines recommend sodium of less than 2,300 mg per day.

Other studies have also found that, along with potassium, magnesium and calcium may help control blood pressure and lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.

The best potassium picks are potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach, winter squash, soybeans, prunes, apricots, bananas, melons, orange juice, kidney beans, lima beans, halibut, cod, pork loin chops, tuna and low-fat dairy.

Spring Asparagus and Potato Salad

Serves 8.

All you need:

• 2 pounds small, waxy red-skinned potatoes

• 1 pound asparagus spears, trimmed

• ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

• ¼ cup white wine vinegar

• ⅛ tsp cayenne pepper

• Salt and pepper, to taste

• ½ medium red onion, thinly sliced

• ¼ cup chopped roasted red pepper

• ¼ cup finely chopped fresh chives

• 2 tbsp packed sliced fresh basil

• 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

All you do:

Rinse potatoes and place in a large pot. Cover with lightly salted cold water. Bring to boiling and cook until knife-tender. Using a slotted spoon, remove potatoes to a plate; reserve cooking water.

Return water to boiling. Meanwhile, chop asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Keep the tips separate. Fill a large bowl with ice water.

Place asparagus (except the tips) into boiling water. Cook 1 minute, then add the tips. Cook 1 minute more. Remove asparagus from boiling water and immediately plunge into ice water. Drain and set aside.

For dressing, in a large bowl whisk together oil, vinegar, cayenne, and salt and pepper to taste. Quarter the potatoes; add them to the dressing. Stir gently to coat. Add the asparagus, onion, roasted pepper, chives, basil and parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper; add more vinegar, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Nutrition facts per serving: 160 calories, 7g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 15mg sodium, 20g carbohydrates, 3g fiber, 4g protein.

Tracey Shaffer, RD, LD, is a Hy-Vee dietitian at the Blue Springs location The information provided should not be construed as professional medical advice. Email her at