WEDNESDAY, March 3, 2010 (HealthDay News) -- Eating plenty of potassium-rich foods such as leafy greens, potatoes and bananas may reduce the risk of stroke and coronary artery disease, according to Italian researchers.
The new analysis was based on 10 studies published between 1966 and 2009 that included almost 280,000 adults. During follow-ups that ranged from five to 19 years, there were over 5,500 strokes and almost 3,100 coronary heart disease events, the investigators found.
Higher potassium intake was associated with a 19 percent lower risk of stroke and an 8 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease. The findings support global recommendations for people to increase their consumption of potassium-rich foods in order to prevent vascular disease, said Dr. Pasquale Strazzullo, of the University of Naples, and colleagues.
Other foods high in potassium include soybeans, apricots, avocados, plain non-fat yogurt, prune juice, and dried beans and peas.
The findings were presented Wednesday at the American Heart Association's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Metabolism conference in San Francisco.
Another study presented at the meeting found that a diet high in raw fruits and vegetables may help protect against stroke.
In that study, the researchers examined the incidence of stroke among more than 20,000 men and women, aged 20 to 65, who were free of cardiovascular disease at the start of the study. During 10 years of follow-up, there were 233 strokes among the participants.
After they adjusted for a number of factors, the researchers found that people with a high intake (more than 262 grams per day) of raw fruits and vegetables were 36 percent less likely to suffer a stroke than those with a low intake (less than 92 grams per day) of raw fruits and vegetables.
However, there was no association between stroke risk and a high intake (more than 233 grams per day) or low intake (less than 113 grams per day) of processed fruits and vegetables, said Linda Oude Griep of Wageningen University, the Netherlands.
The U.S. National Library of Medicine has more about dietary potassium.