This mineral allows women to avoid a stroke — even if they have high blood pressure

Volume 14    |   Issue 32

One of the biggest concerns of many of my aging patients is their risk of stroke. While it's true that your stroke risk does increase as you age, there are steps you can take to lower that risk. And a major research study has found that one particular mineral should be one of those steps.

Large-scale research studies are important because they allow us to understand our risk factors better and what we can do to lower them. One such study is the Women's Health Initiative, which has followed thousands of women for over a decade. This cohort of women has given us a wealth of information and data that researchers have analyzed in a number of studies.

One of these studies was published in the journal Stroke. It focused specifically on the association between stroke risk and dietary potassium in postmenopausal women who participated in the Women's Health Initiative. The researchers examined total stroke frequency as well as ischemic and hemorrhagic strokes and all-cause mortality.

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The researchers divided the women into quartiles according to their dietary potassium intake. They found that those who were in the top quartile did indeed have lower incidences of both types of stroke, as well as lower total mortality. And the women in the lowest quartile fared the worst. For ischemic stroke, there was a particular connection with hypertension. The women who had high potassium intake and did not have hypertension were less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than those who consumed potassium but did have hypertension.

The good news for the hypertensive patients, which I've written about before, is that potassium can also help with blood pressure. So they should keep up their high potassium intake. If that still isn't quite doing the trick, they can add in a supplement like Advanced Blood Pressure Formula. This supplement can help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range and ensure the maximum benefit from potassium consumption.

If you're not sure you would fall into that top quartile for potassium, take steps to increase your intake. It's hard to argue with getting more of a nutrient that lowers your mortality risk! The Institute of Medicine recommends that adults get at least 4.7 grams a day. This will not only help you maintain healthy blood pressure and avoid strokes, it will also help lower your risk of kidney stones and bone loss. Most fruits and vegetables contain some potassium, but bananas, broccoli, beet greens, yams, water cress, spinach, Swiss chard, potatoes (organic preferably — and be sure to eat the skin), fennel, Jerusalem artichokes, and kale are particularly great sources.

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