A diet rich in minerals such as potassium, and possibly magnesium and calcium may cut a person's risk of developing coronary heart disease and stroke, suggests a new study.
The new findings suggest that an increased consumption of these minerals through fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products might reduce high blood pressure risk and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is one of the leading causes of cardiovascular disease.
According to the paper, Americans consume double the sodium and about half of the potassium that is recommended by current guidelines.
If they are able to increase their potassium intake, the number of adults with known hypertension with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg might decrease by more than 10 percent and increase life expectancy.
Some studies have also shown that diets high in magnesium at least 500 to 1,000 mg/d and calcium more than 800 mg/d may lead to both a decrease in blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension. Data regarding these minerals, however, are not definitive.
"If we were to achieve the correct potassium/sodium ratio through dietary means, there would be less hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the population as a whole," said Dr Mark C. Houston, author of the study.
These findings are published in a supplement appearing with the July issue of The Journal of Clinical Hypertension.