More potassium cuts stroke risk for women
Eat your bananas. A new study published in Stroke from the American Heart Association says older women who consume high amounts of potassium may have a lower risk of stroke and death compared to those who don't eat those foods.
Potassium has long been linked to reducing high blood pressure and this study adds reducing stroke risk to its health benefits. Researchers analyzed 90,137 postmenopausal women between ages 50 and 79 for an average of 11 years. They looked at the amount of potassium the women ate, if they had strokes and who died during the course of the study. On average, the women had 2,611 mg of potassium per day. The study included only potassium received from food, not supplements.
The results showed women who ate the highest amount of potassium were 12 percent less likely to suffer a stroke and 10 percent less likely to die compared to women who ate the least amount of potassium. Interestingly, women with high blood pressure who consumed the most potassium did reduce their risk of death; however, the potassium did not affect their risk of stroke. As a result, researchers believe it may be most beneficial to have a high potassium diet before high blood pressure develops.
The recommended amount of potassium women should consume is 4,700 mg daily. Too much potassium, however, can be hazardous to the heart. More studies are needed to determine the effects of potassium, particularly in other age groups and when sodium intake is accounted for.