Potassium rich diet reduces stroke risk

March 3, 2011 in Heart Health, Nutrition for Older Adults, Nutrition Topics in the News

Potassium rich diet reduces stroke risk

New study findings from Italian researchers have found that a diet high in potassium-rich foods may offer protection against stroke.

To investigate, researchers reviewed 11 studies with more than 245,000 participants.  

In most of the studies, participants filled out diet questionnaires at the outset, and researchers kept track of who developed heart disease or suffered a stroke over the ensuing years. In a few studies, the researchers measured participants' potassium levels from urine samples.

After combining all the results, researchers found that for every 1,640-milligram increase in people's daily potassium intake, the odds of suffering a stroke declined by 21 percent.

While the findings sound promising, it's unclear whether potassium is actually the reason for the lower stroke risk.  Researchers say in most of the studies, they tried to account for other factors in stroke and heart disease risk, including overall health, weight, exercise habits and dietary fat intake. But researchers say people who get a lot of potassium could still have lifestyle habits that might explain the lower stroke risk.

Potassium helps regulate the heartbeat, conduct nerve impulses and contract muscles. 

Adults need 4.7 grams (4700 milligrams) of potassium each day. Potassium is found in many foods especially meat, milk, fruits and vegetables. The best way to increase your potassium intake is to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Click here to learn the potassium content of selected foods. 

The findings were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

All research on this web site is the property of Leslie Beck Nutrition Consulting Inc. and is protected by copyright. Keep in mind that research on these matters continues daily and is subject to change. The information presented is not intended as a substitute for medical treatment. It is intended to provide ongoing support of your healthy lifestyle practices.