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Dr. Oz: Reduce stroke risk, boost weight loss with potassium-rich diet

A potassium-rich diet can help reduce your risk of strokes. Bring on the bananas!
A potassium-rich diet can help reduce your risk of strokes. Bring on the bananas!
Photo by John Moore/Getty Images

In recent years, more women are experiencing strokes at younger ages. Dr. Mehmet Oz revealed how to reduce your risk and offered tips on boosting your weight loss on his Sept. 4 talk show.

Most people think that strokes occur primarily to older men. But women in their 20's can suffer from strokes, says Dr. Oz. Common risk factors include taking birth control pills, suffering from migraines, smoking, and having diabetes. However, even something as seemingly innocuous as neck movements can cause problems.

Several young women who experienced strokes talked on the Dr. Oz show about their experiences. One woman had her hair washed at a beauty parlor. Because her neck was pulled into an awkward position, she subsequently experienced a stroke. Warning signs include dizziness, numbness or a cramped feeling on one side, blurred vision and an unusually painful headache.

Several of the risk factors can be eliminated by succeeding with your weight loss goals, said Dr. Oz. Among those factors are hypertension, type 2 diabetes and being 10 pounds or more overweight. He emphasized that small changes can make significant differences.

Dr. Oz noted that walking 20 minutes daily can both boost your weight loss and reduce your risk of stroke. He also recommends eliminating sugar, whether it's in sodas or in cereal. Be sure to read the nutrition labels carefully.

A new study shows that potassium can also help reduce your risk of strokes. And while more research needs to be done, the study's authors emphasize the benefits of a potassium-rich diet, reported U.S. News on Sept. 4.

"Postmenopausal women should eat more potassium-rich foods, such as fruits, vegetables, beans, milk and unprocessed meats in order to lower their risk of stroke and death," said Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, professor emerita with the department of epidemiology & population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City. Those foods also fit into the model for a low carb diet that recently won for weight loss in a new study.

Researchers emphasize the benefits of getting potassium in food sources rather than multi-vitamin and mineral supplements. Foods high in potassium include milk, yogurt, soy products, nuts, meat and certain kinds of fish, such as halibut and tuna, all of which are also high in protein and fat and low in carbohydrates.