According to a new study shows that people with a low potassium intake are one and half times more likely to have a stroke. Previous research has suggested that reduced quantities of potassium in the diet increase the risk of death from stroke. The focus on potassium is, perhaps, a new one - for most of us hear more about keeping sodium or salt intake low to avoid stroke. But sodium and potassium chemistry in the body are intimately related. Good sources of potassium are avocadoes, bananas, citrus fruits, green leafy vegetables, milk and nuts.
In this new study, led by researchers in Hawaii, a group of 5,000 men and women over 60 were monitored for up to ten years to discover the link between potassium intake and stroke risk. Those with the lowest potassium intake - less than 2.5 grams a day - had one and a half time greater stroke risk than those with a high intake, of four grams a day or more.
There was a special group which was a sub-group on diuretic drugs for high blood pressure which, in themselves, should reduce stroke risk. Diuretics can rob the body of potassium because they reduce the fluid content of the body. In this study, those on diuretics with a low potassium intake had a 2.5 times bigger stroke risk than those taking this medication who had a high potassium intake. This doesn't mean diuretics increase stroke risk.Nor does the study prove that increasing potassium will prevent stroke - more research is needed to confirm this.