Eating Potassium-Rich Foods Shown to Cut Risk of Stroke, Death in Postmenopausal Women


A recent study conducted by experts at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY has found that postmenopausal women who consume potassium-rich foods are less prone to have strokes and die compared to postmenopausal women who eat foods with less potassium.(1)

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, Ph.D., study senior author and distinguished university professor emerita, department of epidemiology and population health at the College, explains that the study sheds light on potassium’s ability to prevent death or stroke while previous studies have only linked it to lowering blood pressure.(1)

“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 postmenopausal women’s risk of stroke, but also death,” Wassertheil-Smoller says.

Study Findings: Women Should Eat More Potassium-Rich Foods

In the study, over 90,000 postmenopausal stroke-free women aged 50-79 were studied over an 11 year average period.(1) Their potassium intake obtained from food and not supplements, as well as whether or not they died or had strokes, including hemorrhagic or ischemic, during this timeframe was also taken into consideration.(1)

Results showed that women who consumed the most potassium were 12 percent less likely to suffer stroke in general and 16 percent less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke compared to women who had the least potassium.(1) Additionally, postmenopausal women who enjoyed potassium-rich foods were 10 percent less likely to die than women who had the least amount of potassium.(1) Even more impressive was the finding that for women with a normal blood pressure and who were not on medications for high blood pressure, those eating the most potassium were at a 27 percent reduced risk for ischemic stroke and 21 percent less likely to develop any type of stroke overall.(1)

“Our findings suggest that women need to eat more potassium-rich foods,” says Wassertheil-Smoller. “You won’t find high potassium in junk food.”(1)

The researchers also concluded that higher dietary potassium intake might be more beneficial before high blood pressure has the chance to develop and therefore, potentially lead to strokes.

It was noted that too much potassium can negatively impact health, specifically when it comes to the heart and as such, it’s recommended to talk to a medical professional before increasing the amount of potassium in the diet.(1)

Potassium-Rich Foods

Foods that are good sources of potassium include white beans, spinach, bananas, avocado, dried apricots and baked acorn squash.(2)

According to the World’s Healthiest Foods web site, “a one cup serving of navy beans provides over 700 mg of potassium, making these beans an especially good choice to protect against high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.”(3)

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