Potassium-laden Foods May Help Prevent Strokes

Aug 13, 2002

People with a low amount of potassium in their diet may have an increased risk of stroke, according to a study published in the August 13 issue of Neurology,
the scientific journal of the American Academy of Neurology. Eating a good source
of potassium everyday, which include avocados, bananas, citrus fruits, green
leafy vegetables, milk and nuts, could help reduce the risk, reports NutraIngredients.com.

The observational study involved 5,600 men and women over the age of 65 who
were free of stroke when they started the study. The participants were followed
for four to eight years to record the number and type of strokes that occurred.
The people with the lowest amount of potassium in their diet were 1.5 times
more likely to have a stroke than those with the highest amount. Low potassium
intake was defined as less than 2.4 grams per day, while high intake was more
than four grams daily.

The study also looked at people taking diuretics, common medications that reduce
the amount of water in the body and can rob potassium from the body. Diuretics
are used to treat conditions such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure
and kidney disease. Of people taking diuretics, the study found that those with
the lowest level of potassium in their blood were 2.5 times more likely to have
a stroke than those with the highest level. Study author and neurologist Dr.
Deborah Green of the Neuroscience Institute at the Queen’s Medical Center in
Honolulu stressed that the results do not imply that diuretics create an excessive
risk of stroke. “The question is whether diuretics would be even more effective
with adequate potassium intake,” she says.

Moderator Comment: How would you rate the job that retailers do in communicating the health benefits of food and other products?

As a whole, retailers are doing a better job here today
than they have in the past. That said, there is huge room for improvement. A
wide variety of product categories including food, HBC, Rx, and general merchandise
have a roll to play in promoting health.

Retailers need to concentrate on helping consumers do
a better job of making the connections between complementary and contraindicated
products across the store. [George
Anderson – Moderator

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