The majority of postmenupausal American women do not get the daily recommended amount of potassium from food. A recent study suggests that those who do are at a lower risk of having a stroke and of dying prematurely than those who do not.
Participants in the study included 90,137 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 79. The researchers followed them for an average of 11 years. They tracked how much potassium the women consumed in addition to whether or not they had strokes or died during the study period.
On average, the women had a dietary potassium intake of 2,611 mg/day at the onset of the study, which is lower than the recommended 4,700 my/day. At the conclusion of the study, the researchers found that the women who ate the most potassium were 12% less likely to suffer from a stroke and 16% less likely to suffer from an ischemic stroke than the women who ate the least. They were also 10% less likely to die prematurely.
When the researchers looked specifically at women who did not have hypertension, they found that the women who ate the most potassium had a 27% lower risk of ischemic stroke and a 21% lower risk of all strokes when compared with those who ate the least.
For women with hypertension, those who ate the most potassium were at a lower risk of premature death but no correlation was found between their potassium intake and their risk of stroke.
Researchers from Albert Einstein College of Medicine conducted the study. It was published in the September 2014 issue of Stroke.
Potassium has also been linked with helping prevent hypoglycemia, diabetes, obesity and kidney disease. It may also help counteract muscle cramps.
Many foods are rich in potassium, including beans, avocados, bananas, whole grains, sweet potatoes, beet greens, tomato paste, yogurt, bananas and peaches. The USDA recommends that adults get 4,700 mg of potassium per day. If your family has a history of ischemic stroke, you may want to consider consuming closer to 6,000 mg daily.
Sitting for long periods of time - as most Americans do every day at work - increases the risk of decreased endothelial function in the legs, high cholesterol, larger waist circumference, cardiovascular disease, and metabolic disease. A recent study suggests that taking as few as three five minute walks could reduce the harm done to leg arteries as a result of three hours of sitting.
Participants in the two-part study included 11 non-obese, healthy men between the ages of 20 and 35. In the first part of the study, the men sat for three hours without moving their legs. The researchers measured the functionality of the femoral artery using a blood pressure cuff and ultrasound technology, which they checked at the one, two, and three-hour marks.
The researchers found that flow-mediated dilation (or expansion of the arteries) was lowered by as much as 50% after only one hour of sitting.
In the second part of the study, the men also sat for three hours but walked on a treadmill for five minutes at a speed of 2 mph at the 30-minute, 1.5 hour, and 2.5 hour marks. Functionality of the femoral artery was also measured at those time intervals and flow-mediated dilation remained the same throughout the three-hour period.
This means that the damage from sitting for three hours - noted in the first part of the study - was not present when the men took the three five minute walks.
Researchers from Indiana University conducted the study. It was published online ahead of print on August 18, 2014, in Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise.
Previous clinical studies suggest that even moderate exercise may reduce your risk of dying prematurely, help with blood sugar control, reduce body weight, improve heart health and improve respiratory health.
Even a brisk ten-minute walk a day can help. Look for ways to incorporate exercise into your daily routine; youd be surprised how many opportunities there are to get up and get moving.