Potassium May Help Prevent Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease

Potassium May Help Prevent Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease
  • Dr. Taylor Wallace
  • December 9, 2013

Potassium has been identified as a “shortfall nutrient” for which most individuals should strive to achieve higher intakes.  There is a substantial body of evidence that suggests high potassium intakes can help decrease blood pressure in adults, which in turn may decrease the risk of stroke and coronary heart disease.  There is also accumulating evidence to suggest that diets rich in potassium have a protective effect on age-related bone loss.  Western diets have led to decreased potassium intakes and increased sodium intakes, because of the reduced consumption of fruits and vegetables.  Low potassium to sodium intake ratios is more strongly related to cardiovascular disease than high sodium intake alone.  Potatoes contain the highest amount of dietary potassium, however, other foods such as white beans, tomatoes, dates, bananas and low/non-fat yogurt are also good sources.

The Linus Pauling Micronutrient Information Center at Oregon State University has additional information regarding the health benefits of potassium.

2 thoughts on “Potassium May Help Prevent Stroke and Cardiovascular Disease

  1. I agree with your potassium intakes but disagree that potatoes which are high in fiber and potassium are suitable for weight loss. A strict regimen of protein packed shakes do wonders and supplement potassium without the carbs.

    1. I agree with your comments but also caution people that many protein shakes (particularly the pre-made ones and the ones from the gym smoothie shop) may also contain substantial amounts of added sugar and saturated fat. Since FDA regulates that potassium can not be added at levels over 99 mg/serving, it’s hard to get the recommended intakes from fortified products and supplements. Therefore, you have to obtain recommended levels from whole foods. I think potatoes get a “bad rap” because of French fries, but they actually are low calorie and packed with many essential nutrients, such as dietary fiber and potassium, which most Americans don’t obtain recommended intakes. I eat baked potatoes with tomato salsa on top all the time!

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