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From the lab – Can Potassium Help Your Heart?

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Potassium is a mineral in your body that helps your nerves and muscles work.

A recent study provides early evidence that increased potassium may help prevent hardening of the arteries, which contributes to serious heart-related conditions.

Hardening of the arteries causes plaques of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other substances that reduce blood flow. This leads to serious conditions like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.

The new research provides a deeper understanding of how dietary potassium prevents hardening of the arteries. Beans, spinach, bananas, yogurt, and potatoes are good sources of potassium.

For most people, natural foods rich in potassium are safe and part of a healthy diet. But extra potassium may not be right for everyone. Certain people need to watch their potassium intake, such as those with kidney issues or taking certain medicines.

This study is one step towards better understanding potassium’s beneficial effects in the body.

Sources: NIH Research Matters: Understanding how Potassium Contributes to Heart Disease opens in new window; MedlinePlus: Learning about Potassium and Health

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