High-potassium foods may help stave off heart disease

Researchers have discovered that foods high in potassium may increase long term heart health.

Researchers at the University of Alabama have discovered that high-potassium foods — such as avocados and bananas — may increase heart health by protecting arteries against hardening or calcification, according to recent research published in the journal JCI Insight.

In the study, the team fed apoliprotein E-deficient mice — or mice that are prone to cardiovascular disease when fed a high-fat diet — with three different potassium diets: high, normal, and low. They soon found that mice fed with low-potassium diets had much more instances of vascular calcification and increased aortal stiffening than mice that were given diets with a normal amount of potassium. In addition, the rodents that ate the most potassium showed significantly less heart problems than the other two groups.

Heart disease, which kills roughly 600,000 U.S. citizens each year, is the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States. Not only that, but a recent Cardiovascular Health Study of 4,000 men and women showed that 79.9 percent of individuals aged 65 or older develop arterial calcification, which can greatly predict cardiovascular events.

The new study builds on that information and further outlines the different dangers that can come from poor heart health, Tech Times reports.

“The findings have important translational potential, since they demonstrate the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation on prevention of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis-prone mice, and the adverse effect of low potassium intake,” said study co-author Paul Sanders, professor at the University of Alabama, according to The Health Site.

The findings reveal that increasing or even maintaining a healthy amount of potassium in regular diets could play an important role in preventing vascular complications. Not only that, but it could also help doctors develop new ways to battle health complications and keep people alive longer.

“With more research, we might be able to see if the disease forms in humans in a similar way and develop treatments,” said Mike Knapton from the British Heart Foundation who was not involved in the research, according to International Business Times.

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