July 08, 2008
Potassium Cuts Heart Risks

A diet high in vegetables will raise your potassium intake and cut your risk of high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke. It'll probably reduce your risk of dementia too.

Nashville, Tenn. July 7, 2008 A new article indicates that an increased intake in minerals such as potassium, and possibly magnesium and calcium by dietary means may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension. A high intake of these minerals in the diet may also reduce the risk of coronary heart disease and stroke. These findings are published in a supplement appearing with the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.

Potassium, specifically, has been hypothesized as one reason for the low cardiovascular disease rates in vegetarians, as well as in populations consuming primitive diets (generous in potassium and low in sodium). In isolated societies consuming diets high in fruits and vegetables, hypertension affects only 1 percent of the population, whereas in industrialized countries which consume diets high in processed foods and large amounts of dietary sodium, 1 in 3 persons have hypertension. Americans consume double the sodium and about half of the potassium that is recommended by current guidelines.

According to the paper, if Americans were able to increase their potassium intake, the number of adults with known hypertension with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg might decrease by more than 10 percent and increase life expectancy. Similar studies show that diets high in magnesium (at least 500 to 1,000 mg/d) and calcium (more than 800 mg/d) may also be associated with both a decrease in blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension. Data regarding these minerals, however, are not definitive.

"If we were to achieve the correct potassium/sodium ratio through dietary means, there would be less hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the population as a whole," says Mark C. Houston, M.D., author of the study.

Lots of different lines of research keep converging on more vegetables, more fruits, more nuts, more fish, and more beans and legumes. Displace red meat and grains with these foods and you'll live longer and feel better.

Have a look: Dietary sources of potassium.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2008 July 08 10:46 PM  Aging Diet Heart Studies

Natrium Salvi said at July 9, 2008 8:01 AM:

Good, good.

I recommend taking table salt off the table and replacing it with NoSalt potassium salt, or equivalent brand. It might save your life.

TTT said at July 9, 2008 10:58 AM:

Red Meat, yes.

But grains? What is wrong with grains other than high caloric density? Whole grains have a lot of fiber and other nutrients.

I think one should consider trimming grains only after they have already gotten rid of all red meat, poultry, sugary food, fried food, dairy, etc.

Elevating grains to the level of red meat is wrong.

Randall Parker said at July 9, 2008 8:43 PM:


Grains displace more nutritionally valuable foods. You have a limited number of calories you can eat. Better to spend that calorie budget on fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, and beans.

Whole grains: Not as bad as refined grains. But not great.

Mel said at July 9, 2008 11:22 PM:

I've tried to resist commenting because I can't find the source for my statement. Somewhere I read, maybe at Hyper lipid.com that to keep potassium high you need enough sodium. I think it said that the kidneys need "any old" ion to do it's work of transporting what it transports out. It would rather use sodium but if there is not enough available it will use potassium and then you end up too low of potassium for other functions. Therefore, you should not eat short on salt.


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