If you want to know the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, you need to look no further than stroke.
750,000 people have a stroke in America every year and it claims the life of one person every four minutes – approximately 130,000 deaths annually – making stroke the fourth leading cause of death. Men account for 40% of strokes and women account for 60%.
There are three primary risk factors for stroke and half of all stroke victims have at least one.
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
Obesity, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and alcohol raise your risk of stroke even higher.
Chronic inflammation and prolonged stress have also been linked to an increase in your risk of stroke.
If you’ve had a stroke in your lifetime, you have more than an 80% chance of having another one. Learning how to minimize your risk is crucial.
What is a Stroke?
The majority of strokes are called ischemic strokes. The arteries to the brain are blocked or constricted, which limits the blood flow and the delivery of oxygen. Blockages can be caused by fatty deposits called plaque. When the oxygen supply to your brain is blocked or lowered, it causes the death of brain cells.
Symptoms of Stroke
- Drooping facial features
- Difficulty with speech
- Mental confusion
- Numbness of the face or limbs
- Vision impairment
- Lack of coordination
If you believe you are having a stroke, you must seek emergency medical attention. Those who seek help immediately have a higher rate of survival.
Every minute you delay can lead to long-term brain cell damage that results in permanent paralysis on either or both sides of the body, speech impairment, chronic pain, muscle fatigue, and incontinence.
Can Potassium Rich Foods Prevent Stroke?
According to new research published in the journal Stroke, the American Heart Association found that women who consume more potassium rich foods have a lower risk of stroke.
Scientists reviewed the data for more than 90,000 women over more than a decade. The average ages were 50 to 79. “Our findings give women another reason to eat their fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium, and potassium not only lowers postmenopausal women’s risk of stroke [by 12%], but also death [by 10%],” explained Albert Einstein College of Medicine professor, Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, PhD.
The study team stated that a diet rich in potassium may prevent the development of high blood pressure, the leading risk factor for stroke, but more research will need to be done to confirm.
Said Dr. Wassertheil-Smoller, “Our findings suggest that women need to eat more potassium-rich foods. You won’t find high potassium in junk food.”
Top 10 Potassium Rich Foods
- Dark, leafy greens: spinach, kale, and collards
- Beans: white, lima, kidney, peas, pinto, and mung
- Potatoes: both white and sweet (with skins)
- Dried fruit: coconut, apricots, peaches, prunes, dates, and raisins
- Squash: acorn, butternut, and zucchini
- Fatty fish: salmon, halibut, and tuna
- Fresh fruit: bananas, kiwi, nectarines, peaches, cantaloupe, and avocados
- Fresh vegetables: asparagus, green beans, Brussels sprouts, and mushrooms
- Orange juice
Adding potassium rich foods to your diet just makes sense! Potassium is beneficial for your skeletal system, muscles, fluid and electrolyte balance, your heart, and your brain.
Rarely, some people have too much potassium in their bodies so ask your doctor for a simple blood test if you think this might be the case.