Bananas and Stroke Prevention

You may be asking yourself what these two things have in common.  The answer is POTASSIUM!  Increased potassium intake is associated with 24% lower risk of having a stroke.  Potassium is like a wonder mineral for your body.  Until I read an article recently, I didn’t think much about my potassium level.  My Mother always had trouble regulating the fluid in her body and the doctor always told her she needed to eat more bananas.  But I never put her need to have potassium in her diet and my daily needs together.  After I started doing some research on what potassium can do for the average body I was pretty impressed.

So what does potassium do for the body?  One thing important thing is that it reduces blood pressure, which is a big risk factor for stroke.  It’s also necessary for normal cell function and it is needed to maintain body fluid, acid and electrolyte balances.

If you have low potassium levels there could be several major problems that can occur in the body.  Some of them are: high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, arthritis, cancer, digestive disorders and infertility.  Having the correct level of potassium in your body is really important.

The body needs 4.7 grams (or 4,700 mg.)  of potassium a day.  If you have to take a supplement to get there make sure to take it with a full glass of water or juice.  If you think you need a potassium supplement consult with your doctor first though.  There are some risks associated with taking supplements: some people are allergic to them and some of them might effect medications you are on.  If you are taking medications for diabetes, high blood pressure or heart disease ask your doctor if adding the supplement to your diet is safe. People with kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, Addison’s disease, and stomach ulcers should also check with your doctor before adding potassium supplements. It is possible to overdose on supplements so you do need to be careful when adding them to your diet. Signs of an overdose include: confusion, tingling sensations in limbs, low blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, weakness and coma.  If you notice any of these signs get to a hospital or call 911 immediately.

How do you get potassium in your diet?  Fruits, vegetables, almonds, avocado, bananas, cantaloupe, dates, edamame, dried figs, guava, kiwi, kumquat, persimmon, dried plums and raisins are all good sources of potassium.  Below are a list of some potassium rich foods along with how much potassium they contain and the percentage of the daily recommended amount.

Food Amount of Potassium % of RDA
Banana 422 mg 13%
Almonds 649 mg 18%
White Beans 1004 mg 29%
Dark Leafy Greens 829 mg 24%
Baked Potato with Skin 535 mg 15%
Dried Apricots 755 mg 22%
Baked Acorn Squash 899 mg 26%
Yogurt (plain, skim/non fat) 625 mg 18%
Mushrooms 428 mg 12%
Avocados 558 mg 16%
Salmon 534 mg 15%

Just by adding more potassium to your diet you reduce your risk of stroke, not a bad deal, what do you think?

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