Essential minerals may cut heart attack risk


A diet rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium may cut the risk of developing coronary heart diseases and stroke, suggests a new study.

The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension, suggest that an increased consumption of these minerals through fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products might reduce high blood pressure and decrease blood pressure in people with hypertension, which is one of the main causes of cardiovascular disease.

According to the paper, Americans consume double the sodium and about half the potassium that is recommended by current guidelines. If they are able to increase their potassium intake, the number of adults with blood pressure levels higher than 140/90 mm Hg might decrease by more than 10 per cent and increase life expectancy.

Some studies have also shown that diets high in magnesium at least 500 to 1,000 mg/d and calcium more than 800 mg/d may lead to both a decrease in blood pressure and risk of developing hypertension. Data regarding these minerals, however, are not definitive.

“If we were to achieve the correct potassium/sodium ratio through dietary means, there would be less hypertension and cardiovascular disease in the population as a whole,” said Dr Mark C Houston, author of the study.