Heart Health

Potassium-rich foods linked to lower stroke risk







Image: Thinkstock

Eating more white beans, sweet potatoes, leafy greens, and other foods high in potassium may lower your risk of having a stroke. As described in a study published online Sept. 4, 2014, in the journal Stroke, researchers tracked 90,000 postmenopausal women between the ages of 50 and 70 for an average of 11 years. Women who got the most potassium in their diets were 16% less likely to have an ischemic stroke than those who consumed the least potassium. Ischemic strokes, the most common type of stroke, result from a blockage in a blood vessel supplying the brain.

Women with normal blood pressure who ate the most potassium had a 27% lower risk of ischemic stroke compared with women who ate the lowest amount of potassium. But potassium intake didn't seem to affect stroke risk among women
with high blood pressure. One possible explanation for that finding: a high-potassium diet may be more helpful before high blood pressure—a leading risk factor for stroke—sets in.

To continue reading this article, you must log in.

Subscribe to Harvard Health Online for immediate access to health news and information from Harvard Medical School.

  • Research health conditions
  • Check your symptoms
  • Prepare for a doctor's visit or test
  • Find the best treatments and procedures for you
  • Explore options for better nutrition and exercise
Learn more about the many benefits and features of joining Harvard Health Online »

I'd like to receive access to Harvard Health Online for only $4.99 a month.

Sign Me Up

Already a member? Login ».


As a service to our readers, Harvard Health Publishing provides access to our library of archived content. Please note the date of last review or update on all articles.

No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.