Study proves potassium-rich foods prevent heart disease

In addition to helping the body deal with cramps, a diet high in potassium can have an even greater health benefit. According to research carried out by the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands, regular consumption of foods rich in potassium can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems such as heart attack and stroke. The survey was published in the scientific journal European Heart Journal.

The study analyzed data from 25,000 elderly Britons, and the participants were followed for 20 years to arrive at the results. They completed a questionnaire about their eating habits, and had their blood pressure and urine samples monitored to check the amount of potassium ingested. According to scientists, on average, there is a 13% decrease in the chances of developing heart disease when there is sufficient consumption of the mineral.

Responsible for the research, Professor Liffert Vogt explains that most health advice to avoid cardiovascular problems cites the importance of controlled sodium intake, and potassium is essential to help the body excrete the substance in the urine, but its action seems to go wrong. in addition.

“The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart, in addition to increasing sodium excretion,” he says. According to the study, foods such as bananas, avocados and salmon help keep blood pressure low, mitigating the impacts of high salt consumption.

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Previous studies conducted on animals have shown that the mineral helps muscles relax and have more energy, which is why it is so good for preventing cramps. The effects are also valid for the heart muscles and artery walls, which remain flexible, preventing cardiovascular complications.

The benefits would be greater for women, according to the survey. Participants who regularly consumed potassium were 11% less likely to have a cardiovascular problem than those who did not. In the case of men, the percentage corresponded to 9%.

In an interview with The Sun newspaperBritish Heart Foundation senior nutritionist Tracy Parker says the Dutch study corroborates the latest advances in science, and proves that decreasing salt and increasing potassium in the diet can be the recipe for a healthier heart.

“An easy way to increase your intake of the mineral is to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Other foods such as pulses, fish, nuts, seeds and milk are also high in potassium and low in salt, which can help benefit the heart,” he says.

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