You may not hear as much about potassium as some other popular nutrients, but it sure is important. One study published in Stroke found that women with higher intakes of potassium reduced their risk of stroke and dying compared with women with lower intakes. For the study, researchers tracked 90,137 postmenopausal, stroke-free women between the ages of 50 and 79 for 11 years and discovered that:
Women with the highest potassium intakes reduced their chance of stroke by 12% and lowered their risk of dying from any cause by 10%.
Of that high-potassium group, women without high blood pressure experienced a 21% reduction in stroke risk; while women with high blood pressure saw their chance of dying go down, but not their stroke risk.
It is noteworthy that the average daily potassium intake (2,611 mg) for all study participants, fell far below the federal recommendation of 4,700 mg; in fact, only 2.8% of the women had adequate potassium in their diet. These findings are consistent with federal guidelines indicating that most Americans don't consume enough potassium. The good news is that potassium is found in many foods, including milk, yogurt, potatoes, cantaloupes, beans, and bananas (of course), and also in some supplements, such as multivitamins.