Potassium-rich foods may stop fatal blockages from occurring by preventing arteries from hardening, a study found.
Atherosclerosis is a key risk factor for heart disease.
After they conclude the analysis, they noted that those mice who ate high doses of potassium had more flexible arteries than those who ate low amounts of the nutrient.
Mice fed a low potassium diet had more fatty deposits in their arteries, known as vascular calcification.
There are between 40,000 and 45,000 premature deaths from kidney disease in the United Kingdom each year.
"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".
When researchers looked at arterial cross-sections in cultures that were exposed to three different concentrations of potassium, based on normal physiological levels of potassium in the blood, they found a direct effect for the potassium on arterial calcification within arterial rings.
Eating potassium-rich foods can help delay any hardening of arteries.
Through their analysis of cultured cross sections of mouse arteries and dietary experiments in live mice, the researchers confirmed that low potassium may lead to vascular calcification via calcium signaling, CREB, and autophagy.
If the findings are reflected in humans, those at risk for heart disease may be prescribed potassium supplements to reduce vascular calcification.
"Reduced intake of dietary potassium is associated with cardiovascular disease such as hypertension and incidental stroke, although the underlying molecular mechanism is still unknown", he said as quoted from the Express, Monday (10/9/2017).
Dietary fiber has been linked to many health benefits, including improved digestion. Other good sources of potassium include parsnips, seeds, fish and poultry.
Sweet potato contains 448 mgs of potassium per cup.
Official NHS advice is to consume 3,500mg of potassium each day, a quarter of which could be met by eating two bananas. Artichokes were also presented as being useful and healthy such food items, as are seedless raisins. These also provide antioxidant resveratrol, zinc, calcium, iron, and magnesium. This, in food-terms, is not much. One banana has 425 mg, a cup of sliced avocado, 708 mg, and just a half cup of spinach, 420 mg.
However, overeating potassium can cause stomach ache, nausea and diarrhea in people.