Cut Heart or Stroke Risk With a Heart Healthy Diet Plan
The average daily intake of potassium, considered an essential dietary mineral, is a lot lower than health authorities would like. Researchers are convinced that increasing the amount you get might actually provide protection from heart or stroke risk and other forms of heart disease.
Potassium is known to be important to heart function, now Italian researchers have found that eating potassium rich foods can lower stroke risk by 21%, as well as possibly bringing down your chances of heart disease as well.
A stroke is defined by doctors as an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain due to a clot (ischemic stroke) or burst blood vessel (hemorrhagic stroke) that leaks blood into the surrounding tissues.
When the flow of blood stops, even for a few seconds, the brain is kept from getting the oxygen it needs and cells in that area die off. This is what leaves patients with permanent damage.
For the research the team pulled information about heart disease and potassium intake from 11 different studies. These studies included 358,620 men and women and information on what these subjects ate the day before. The procedure the team used, known technically as a meta analysis, looks for trends that might support a conclusion even if this was not the main focus of the original study.
They discovered that subjects who took in at least 1.64 g of potassium on daily basis had a 21% lesser risk of stroke, with lower risks of heart disease as well.
Five plus servings of fruits and veggies each day is enough to give you the protective effect, the researchers note. Supplements do not appear to offer the same protective benefits in terms of stroke risk.
The reduced stroke risk and heart benefits may be due to potassium’s ability to lower blood pressure, particularly when someone has hypertension and elevated salt intake.
Potassium may also contribute to cardiovascular system health by slowing atherosclerosis and keeping the walls of the arteries from thickening as the result of a build-up of fatty materials like cholesterol – both important in terms of preventing heart disease.
Doctor’s know the number one risk for stroke is high blood pressure. Typically men have more strokes than women do, however a woman has a higher risk of stroke during her pregnancy and the weeks immediately after delivering the baby.
Symptoms of a stroke usually come on suddenly, without any warning, or they can come and go over a day or two. If your doctor suspects you’ve had a stroke, you’ll undergo a complete physical and neurological exam to see where you stand.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture tells us that sweet potato head up the list of foods high in potassium. Fruits like bananas, cantaloupe, grapefruit and oranges are other great sources. Veggies such as tomatoes along with low-fat dairy are also great sources of dietary potassium.
Getting more potassium is a safe and easy way to cut heart or stroke risk and is a recommendation of the American Heart Association. In fact, the well known DASH diet is one of the best examples of heart healthy eating diet plan because it’s full of fruits, veggies and nuts, supports moderation in low fat dairy and sodium while also being high in potassium. Might be a smart move to implement a heart healthy diet plan that has you eating better… putting good things into your body to help it stay healthy, strong and vibrant now and in years to come.