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Potassium, magnesium reduces stroke risk in hypertensive women

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By David Liu

A new epidemiological study led by Susanna C. Larsson of Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden and colleagues suggests that having sufficient intake of potassium and magnesium may help reduce risk of a type of stroke known as cerebral infarction in women with a history of hypertension.

However, high intake of calcium, which is found high in dairy products may boost the risk of intracerebral hemorrhage in women with hypertension.

The study was meant to examine the correlation between intake of minerals like potassium, calcium, and magnesium collected via a food frequency questionnaire in 1997 and incidence of stroke among 34,670 women aged 49 to 83 years who were enrolled in the Swedish Mammography Cohort.

During the 10.4-year follow-up, identified were 1,680 stroke cases including 1,310 cerebral infarctions, 154 intracerebral hemorrhages, 79 subarachnoid hemorrhages and 137 other types of strokes.

Among women with hypertension, those with highest intake of potassium were 36 and 44 percent less likely to suffer all types of strokes and cerebral infarction, respectively, compared with those who had the lowest intake.   Also hypertensive women with the highest intake of magnesium were 37 percent less likely to experience cerebral infarction.

On the other hands, hypertensive women who had the highest intake of calcium were 100 percent more likely to suffer intracerebral hemorrhage, compared with those with the lowest intake.

The study was published on May 3, 2011 online in the American Journal of Epidemiology.

Potassium rich foods include banana, potatoes with skin, prune juice, dried plums, orange, tomatoes, raisins, artichoke, Lima beans, acorn squash, Spinach, sunflower seeds, almonds and molasses.

Magnesium rich foods include cereal bran, oat bran, shredded wheat, brown rice, almonds, hazelnuts, peanuts and Lima beans.

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