• Cut Risk Of Stroke And Early Death, Take Potassium-Rich Foods

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    Potassium is a key player in good health, but you may not be getting enough from food. Here’s how potassium contributes to good health, and how to get the potassium you need. Potassium is part of every cell in the body, and life would be impossible without it. However, potassium is often taken for granted, in spite of its role in maintaining fluid balance, and keeping your brain, nerves, heart, and muscles functioning normally on a constant basis.

    It’s important to eat enough potassium every day to feel your best, and to help prevent certain chronic conditions. Falling short on potassium on a regular basis could jeopardize your long-term health in more ways that one.

    “Previous studies have shown that potassium consumption may lower blood pressure. But whether potassium intake could prevent stroke or death wasn’t clear,” said Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD, study senior author and distinguished university professor emerita, department of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York

    “Our findings give women another reason to eat their fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium, and potassium not only lowers post-menopausal women’s risk of stroke, but also death.”

    In a new study published in  the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, researchers studied more than 90,000 post-menopausal women, ages 50 to 79, over a period of 11 years.

    Good food is the key

    Importantly, the results of this study are based on potassium from food, not supplements. Results showed that:

    • Women who ate the most potassium were 12% less likely to suffer stroke in general and 16% less likely to …

    Including enough potassium-rich foods in your daily diet is important for a steady heart rhythm too. One of the risk factors for atrial fibrillation — a common irregular heart rhythm — is not getting enough, or getting too much, potassium. Aim for at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium each day in your diet, recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture. This may be more than you are used to, as national surveys show that Americans average only 2,640 milligrams of potassium in our diets each day.

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