Potassium can reduce stroke risk

Increasing potassium in our diets as well as cutting down on salt will reduce blood pressure levels and the risk of stroke, research in the British Medical Journal suggests.Fruits and veggies in heart tape

One study review found that eating an extra two to three servings of fruit or vegetables per day – which are high in potassium – was beneficial.

A lower salt intake would increase the benefits further, researchers said.

A stroke charity said a healthy diet was key to keeping stroke risk down.

While the increase of potassium in diets was found to have a positive effect on blood pressure, it was also discovered to have no adverse effects on kidney function or hormone levels, the research concluded.

As a result, the World Health Organization has issued its first guidelines on potassium intake, recommending that adults should consume more than 4g of potassium (or 90 to 100mmol) per day.

The BMJ study on the effects of potassium intake, produced by scientists from the UN World Food Program, Imperial College London and Warwick Medical School, among others, looked at 22 controlled trials and another 11 studies involving more than 128,000 healthy participants.

Where to find potassium

Plate of seafood

Potassium is an important mineral that controls the balance of fluids in the body and helps lower blood pressure.

It is found in most types of food, but particularly in fruit, such as bananas, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds, milk, fish, chicken and bread.

It is recommended that adults consume around 4g of potassium a day (or at least 90-100mmol).

That is equivalent to five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

Our early ancestors would have had a diet very high in potassium – but food processing has markedly reduced the potassium content of food.

It is thought that the average potassium consumption in many countries is below 70-80mmol/day.

The results showed that increasing potassium in the diet to 3-4g a day reduced blood pressure in adults.

This increased level of potassium intake was also linked to a 24% lower risk of stroke in those adults.

Researchers said potassium could have benefits for children’s blood pressure too, but more data was needed.

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Stressed?

I’ve been teaching a stress less/relaxation class for years and below is one the handouts that participants report is most helpful.:

Change the situation: Avoid – Alter. Change your reaction: Adapt – Accept

1. Avoid unnecessary stress

Not all stress can be avoided, and it’s not healthy to avoid a situation that needs to be addressed.

Learn how to say “no” – Know your limits and stick to them. feelings-16

Avoid people who stress you out –Limit the amount of time you spend with people that cause you stress.

Take control of your environment – If the evening news makes you anxious, turn the TV off.

Avoid hot-button topics –If you repeatedly argue about the same subject with the same people, stop bringing it up or excuse yourself when it’s the topic of discussion.

Pare down your to-do list –If you’ve got too much on your plate, distinguish between the “shoulds” and the “musts.”

2. Alter the situation

If you can’t avoid a stressful situation, try to alter it. Figure out what you can do to change things so the problem doesn’t present itself in the future.

Express your feelings instead of bottling them up. If something or someone is bothering you, communicate your concerns in an open and respectful way.
Be willing to compromise. When you ask someone to change their behavior, be willing to do the same.

Be more assertive. Deal with problems head on, doing your best to anticipate and prevent them.

Manage your time better. Plan ahead and make sure you don’t overextend yourself.

3. Adapt to the stressor

If you can’t change the stressor, change yourself. You can adapt to stressful situations and regain your sense of control by changing your expectations and attitude.

Reframe problems. Try to view stressful situations from a more positive perspective.

Look at the big picture. Will it matter in a month, or a year?

Adjust your standards. Set reasonable standards for yourself and others, and learn to be okay with “good enough.”

Focus on the positive. When stress is getting you down, take a moment to reflect on all the things you appreciate in your life, including your own positive qualities and gifts.

4. Accept what you can’t change

Some sources of stress are unavoidable, in such cases; the best way to cope with stress is to accept things as they are. Acceptance may be difficult, but in the long run, it’s easier than railing against a situation you can’t change.

Don’t try to control the uncontrollable. Focus on the things you can control such as the way you choose to react to problems.

Look for the upside. As the saying goes, “What doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.” When facing major challenges, try to look at them as opportunities for personal growth.

Share your feelings. Talk to a trusted friend or make an appointment with a therapist.

Learn to forgive. Accept the fact that we live in an imperfect world and that people make mistakes.

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