Did You Know that Potassium Can Help Prevent a Stroke?


Stroke is a serious health problem, but fortunately, there are a number of simple lifestyle adjustments that have been proven to prevent a stroke, or at least to decrease the likelihood of having a big stroke.

Healthy Lifestyle

Several recent scientific research studies have focused on stroke prevention. A healthy lifestyle has been shown to decease the incidence of stroke in women.

It can be tough to determine what a healthy lifestyle is.

Some aspects of a healthy lifestyle include a healthy diet that avoids excessive salt and high fat content, moderate exercise, low stress, no smoking, and taking precautions to prevent head injury. All of these have been proven to reduce the risk of stroke and to help in the recovery of a stroke, should it ever occur.


A recent article published in the October 2014 issue of Stroke reported that high potassium intake significantly reduces the risk of stroke in women. Potassium is a naturally occurring mineral found in a variety of different foods. Potassium is necessary to maintain normal bodily functions, including heart function and brain function. Most Americans do not get enough daily potassium, usually consuming significantly less than the recommended daily dose of 4700 mg.

Where Can You get Potassium?

A wide variety of different foods contain potassium, including meats, vegetables, fruits, dairy products and grains.

Some of the foods that contain higher amounts of potassium include avocado, banana, apricots, figs, dates, peaches, beef, chicken, milk, almonds, pistachios, curry, ginger, sesame seeds, parsley, spinach, flounder, soy, and bran. That is quite an assortment to choose from!

How Much Potassium Should I Get?

The average potassium consumption in the study was only 2611 mg., which is just more than half the recommended daily dose of about 4700 mg.

To give you a sense of proportion of the amount of potassium you get from food, a medium banana contains about 400mg. of potassium.

Should I Get My Potassium in My Diet or in a Supplement?

It depends. Overall, it is generally better to try to get your nutrients through your diet. However, if your doctor recommends a supplement, that can help you achieve your recommended daily dose.

Should I worry About Overdose of Potassium?

Overdose of potassium is usually due to kidney failure because the kidneys are responsible for getting rid of excess potassium in the body. Even if you take a supplement (as long as the dose is not excessive or above your recommended daily intake) you needn’t worry about overdosing on potassium from eating additional bananas or pistachios. If you don’t exceed double the recommended dose, you will be fine with a supplement unless you have a kidney problem, a heart problem, or if you take medication that interferes with potassium metabolism. Problems that may arise from potassium overdose are serious and include heartbeat irregularities and nervous system problems.

Healthy Living

Healthy living is practically a cliché or a buzzword- most people want to be healthy but there are too many general recommendations and very few practical specifics. Fortunately, getting enough potassium is an easy way to stay healthy.

Potassium intake and risk of stroke in women with hypertension and nonhypertension in the Women's Health Initiative, Seth A, Mossavar-Rahmani Y, Kamensky V, Silver B, Lakshminarayan K, Prentice R, Van Horn L, Wassertheil-Smoller S, Stroke October 2014

Healthy diet and lifestyle and risk of stroke in a prospective cohort of women, Larsson SC1, Akesson A2, Wolk A, Neurology, November 2014

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