Just one extra banana or avocado a day could prevent heart attacks and stroke, new research suggests.
Potassium-rich foods may stop fatal blockages from occurring by preventing arteries from hardening, a study found.
Previous research reveals stiff, inflexible arteries increase a person’s risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
The researchers believe potassium regulates genes that maintain artery flexibility.
Study author Dr Paul Sanders from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, said: ‘The findings demonstrate the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation on prevention of vascular [hardening]’.
How the research was carried out
The researchers analyzed mice who are at-risk of heart disease when fed a high-fat diet.
The mice were given either low, normal or high levels of potassium.
Arteries become hard with a low-potassium diet
Results reveal the arteries of mice fed a low-potassium diet became significantly harder.
The animals given high potassium had substantially less artery hardening.
Mice fed potassium-rich food also had reduced stiffness in their aorta, which is the body’s main artery.
This is thought to be due to low-potassium levels in the blood preventing the expression of genes that maintain artery flexibility.
Dr Sanders said: ‘The findings have important translational potential since they demonstrate the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation on prevention of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis-prone mice and the adverse effect of low-potassium intake.’
MARRIAGE PREVENTS DEATHS FROM HEART DISEASE DUE TO SPOUSES NAGGING EACH OTHER TO BE HEALTHY
Marriage prevents death from heart disease, research revealed in August.
Married people are 14 per cent more likely to survive a heart attack than those who are single, a study found.
This is thought to be due to spouses nagging each other to live a healthy lifestyle, the research adds.
Husbands and wives can also be relied upon to remind the other to take their medication and generally help them to cope with their condition, the study found.
Lead author Dr Paul Carter from Aston University in Birmingham, said: ‘Marriage, and having a spouse at home, is likely to offer emotional and physical support on a number of levels’.