- Najja Parker The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Can’t get enough avocado toast?
Keep feasting, because the potassium in avocados and bananas could help prevent heart attacks and strokes, according to a new report.
Researchers from the University of Alabama at Birmingham recently conducted an experiment, published in Journal of Clinical Investigation, to determine the link between potassium and healthy arteries.
To do so, they examined mice and gave them high-fat diets, where the critters were given either small, average and large amounts of potassium.
After analyzing the results, they found that mice that consumed the least amount of potassium had harder arteries, while mice that had a large amount of potassium had more flexible arteries.
Why is that?
As people get older, the heart arteries stiffen, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. However, there are nutrients that can loosen them, such as potassium.
Co-author Paul Sander said their "findings have important translational potential.”
“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," she said in a statement.
Despite the results, researchers are not sure if their results are relevant to humans. However, they think they are promising as potassium is associated with several human diseases.
“Reduced dietary potassium intake has been linked to the pathogenesis of a variety of human diseases, including atherosclerosis, diabetes, and chronic kidney disease,” the study said. “All of these disease share common vascular complications, such as vascular calcification.”
Scientists hope to conduct more studies to solidify her their findings. Learn more about their expermient here.