Increasing the intake of potassium-rich foods is associated with a significantly lower stroke risk.
Image thanks to Bobjgalindo via Wikimedia Commons.
A review of all the best studies ever done on potassium intake and it’s relationship to two of our top killers, stroke and heart disease, was recently published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. A 1600 mg per day higher potassium intake was associated with a 21% lower risk of stroke. That still wouldn't get the average American up to the minimum adequate intake but may still might be able to wipe out a fifth of their stroke risk. “These results support recommendations for higher consumption of potassium-rich foods to prevent vascular diseases.” What does that mean, potassium-rich foods? “Potassium is particularly abundant in fruits and vegetables.” A greater fruit and vegetable consumption has already been shown to protect against the occurrence of stroke. According to another meta-analysis, 5 or more servings of fruit and vegetables per day are associated with a quarter lower rate of stroke compared with 3 or fewer servings.” And it's not just bananas. Chiquita must have had some great PR firm or something. Why is that like one of the only things people know about nutrition? In reality, bananas don't even make the top 50 sources, coming in at #86, right behind fast food vanilla milk shakes. And only then bananas. In reality, bananas don’t even make the top 50 common food sources of potassium. According to the USDA, they come in at #86, right under fast food vanilla milkshakes The top five sources are tomato and orange concentrates, and then in terms of the best whole foods: greens, beans, and dates.
To see any graphs, charts, graphics, images, and quotes to which Dr. Greger may be referring, watch the above video. This is just an approximation of the audio contributed by Ashley Rhinehart, RN.
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Very few people are eating enough plants—see yesterday’s NutritionFacts.org video-of-the-day 98% of American Diets Potassium Deficient. The banana listing reminds me of a similarly humorous finding about the levels of eyesight-saving nutrients. See Egg Industry Blind Spot. Bananas are also kind of pitiful antioxidant-wise (see Best Berries). Is a fruit a fruit or should we really go out of our way to eat plants with the most antioxidants? See Anti-Inflammatory Antioxidants. Tomorrow I'll end this three part video series with a surprising twist—the anti-inflammatory effects of potassium? Stay tuned for Potassium and Autoimmune Disease.
Also, be sure to check out my associated blog post for additional context: Do Vegans Get More Cavities?
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