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Potassium may decrease hypertension and increase longevity
Many older women do not get the recommended amount of potassium from foods such as fresh fruits and vegetables. In prior studies, doctors found that potassium lowers blood pressure, so they decided to test the effect of potassium on stroke and longevity as well.

Researchers measured potassium in the diets of 90,137 postmenopausal women who had not had a stroke, and followed up for an average of 11 years. Overall, the women got an average of 2,611 mg of potassium per day from foods, far below government recommendations of 4,700 mg per day.
Women with normal, untreated blood pressure who got the most potassium in their diet were less likely to have any kind of stroke, and were more likely to outlive women who got the least potassium. Women with treated or untreated high blood pressure saw no stroke benefit, but did outlive similar women who got less potassium in the diet.

Discussing their findings, doctors said it is important to maintain a balance between sodium and potassium, and that potassium may be more helpful before high blood pressure develops.

Reference: Stroke. 2014 Oct;45(10):2874-80. Epub 2014 Sep 4.
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