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Could eating bananas reduce stroke risk?

Could eating bananas reduce stroke risk?
5th September 2014

Eating foods like bananas could help to slash the chance of developing a stroke in postmenopausal women.

Scientists from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York discovered that females who ate the most potassium were 12 per cent less likely to develop a stroke, while they had a 16 per cent lower likelihood of experiencing an ischemic one than those who ate the least amount of the mineral. 

More than 90,000 postmenopausal women - between the ages of 50 and 79 - were studied for an average of 11 years to see if potassium-rich foods could lower stroke risk.

All individuals were stroke-free at the beginning of the trial and scientists didn't take potassium supplements into consideration - only when the mineral was naturally consumed. 

Researchers discovered those who had the highest levels of potassium were ten per cent less likely to die early in comparison to those who ate the least. 

Women who did not have high blood pressure and consumed the most potassium were up to 27 per cent less likely to develop an ischemic stroke and 21 per cent for all types of stroke. 

Among those who did have hypertension, while the mineral did not reduce the chances of developing a stroke, it did lower the risk of death. 

Senior author Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller said: "Previous studies have shown that potassium consumption may lower blood pressure. But whether potassium intake could prevent stroke or death wasn't clear.

"Our findings give women another reason to eat their fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are good sources of potassium, and potassium not only lowers postmenopausal women's risk of stroke, but also death."

Other foods that are rich in the mineral include white and sweet potatoes, and white beans. 

The results - published in American Heart Association journal - did not take into account sodium intake, while more testing is required to see whether or not consumption of potassium has the same effect on men and younger women. 

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