EATING avocados, sold ripe and ready to eat for just 85p in Tesco, and spinach could reduce the risk of heart attack, researchers have found.
Foods high in potassium may protect against heart disease in humans, said scientists from the University of Alabama.
The finding could pave the way for new supplement treatments that could protect against fat building up in arteries.
Scientists carried out tests on mice to find the link between potassium-rich foods - including bananas, apricots, salmon and sweet potato - and heart disease protection.
They gave mice various amounts of potassium in their diet, and analysed their arteries for fatty build-ups.
Mice were either given 0.3 per cent of their weight in potassium, 0.7 or 2.1 per cent.
The mice that were given a low potassium diet had more fatty deposits in their arteries, known as vascular calcification.
Meanwhile, those with a high-potassium diet showed far less vascular calcification, the scientists said.
Co-author of the study, Paul Sanders, said: “The findings have important translational potential since they demonstrate the benefit of adequate potassium supplementation on prevention of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis-prone mice, and the adverse effect of low potassium intake.”
If the findings are mirrored in humans, those at risk of heart disease could be prescribed potassium supplements to reduce vascular calcification.