Potassium is among the most important minerals on the Periodic Table of the Elements. As the third most abundant mineral in the human body, potassium is critical to nerve transmission and muscle function. According to Organic Facts, your dietary intake of potassium is essential to your health in countless ways from enhanced muscle strength and improved metabolism to heightened electrolytic function and greater control over you own nervous system.
But according to recent studies, potassium may have value even beyond its immediate health benefits. Evidence suggests that, in fact, potassium is also a powerful risk prevention measure. Organic Facts notes that the regular intake of potassium can lower your blood pressure, reduce your likelihood of kidney disorders and even improve your levels of stress and anxiety. And, according to a research team out of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in the Bronx, it could also be an important tool in helping to reduce the risk of stroke for older women.
The Potential of Potassium
In a study that endured across 11 years and engaged more than 90,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79, a regular and healthy intake of dietary potassium was shown to substantially reduce the risk of stroke among participants. Women whose diet was highest in potassium demonstrated a 12% reduction in their overall risk of stroke.
The findings were especially true for those who did not already demonstrate certain risk factors for stroke such as hypertension or high blood pressure. According to the study, women who were already contending with these risk factors were less likely to see a significant reduction in their likelihood of stroke through the intake of potassium alone. According to researchers, this difference may be an indication that potassium is more effective as a preventative measure against risk factors than as a remedy. This helps to underscore the recommendation to incorporate potassium into your dietary plan as early as possible.
But how to do this?
Bananas are one of the richest and best known sources of potassium. But, according to WebMD, there are quite a few other sources for potassium that can easily be incorporated into your regular dietary plan. Like bananas, other members of the fruit family may be especially generous sources for this mineral, including strawberries, oranges, avocados and certain dried fruits such as raisins, apricots, prunes or dates.
A number of vegetables and legumes also fall into this group of foods, including tomatoes, spinach, beans, and peas. Potatoes may also be an excellent source of potassium. You can also incorporate low-fat dairy products like yogurt into the mix for a source that combines potassium and calcium. For a protein-rich source of potassium, lean meats, fish and poultry will do the job.
Though we tend to think of bananas when we think of potassium, there are countless ways to incorporate this genetic building block into your everyday diet. Not only will you feel better today, you’ll also be taking steps to protect your health for tomorrow!