If you want a healthy heart, fill your plate with potassium rich foods, especially vegetables. That seems to be the message from an important new study in mice (Sun et al, JCI Insight, Oct. 5, 2017).
Dietary Potassium and Atherosclerosis:
The scientists at the University of Alabama found that mice given low-potassium chow were more likely to develop hardened arteries due to calcium deposits in the vessel walls. Mice eating a high-potassium diet had far more flexible arteries and less vascular calcification.
The mouse study revealed the reasons that calcification occurs when potassium levels are low. That is why you should be eating plenty of potassium rich foods.
Vegetables and fruits are particularly rich in potassium, along with several types of fish. Perhaps that helps explain why the DASH diet, which emphasizes vegetables and fruits, is helpful against hypertension.
Here is a partial list of potassium rich foods:
- bell peppers
- Brussels sprouts
- sweet potatoes
People with low potassium levels can face life-threatening emergencies. It makes sense to pay attention to your potassium!