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The scoop on potassium.
Last year in GI News, dietitian Emma Stirling gave us the scoop on a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition that investigated links between potassium levels and incidence of diabetes. That study found that as potassium levels went up, the incidence of diabetes went down. The African Americans in the study were found to have lower average potassium levels than the Caucasians and were twice as likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

A new study in the British Medical Journal reports that that as potassium goes up, risk of stroke goes down. The researchers examined studies involving over 128,000 healthy participants and found that those with the highest potassium intake had a 24% lower risk of stroke. They also found that high potassium reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension and had no adverse effects on people with normal blood pressure and kidney function.

‘Potassium is a great mineral to have on board,’ says Emma. ‘It acts as a complementary mineral to sodium and can help achieve a healthy blood pressure. The best bet approach is to focus on a nutrient-rich eating plan with plenty of potassium-rich foods like nuts, dried and fresh fruit, wholegrains including bran and wheatgerm, raw vegetables, lean meat and fish. By far the most well known source of potassium is the banana. The average banana (GI 52) provides around 20g carbohydrate and around 350mg of potassium (about 10% of your daily needs). Time to wake up to a smoothie?’