British and Italian scientists have said that eating 3 bananas a day can cut your risk of stroke. The potassium found in a banana with breakfast, one at lunch and one in the evening is said to be enough to reduce the chances of suffering a blood clot in the brain by around 21%. The same is said to apply to other potassium rich foods such as spinach, milk, fish and lentils
The latest research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, analysed data from eleven different studies from the last 40 years.
Their conclusion was that a daily potassium intake of around 1,600 milligrammes, less than half the UK recommended daily amount for an adult of 3,500mg, was enough to lower stroke risk by more than a fifth.
Not enough potassium can result in an irregular heart neat, nausea and diarrheoa, it also helps to lower blood pressure and control the balance of fluids in the body. The average banana contains 500mg of potassium.
Researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Naples said if consumers ate more potassium rich foods and reduced their salt intake, the annual global death toll from strokes could be cut by more than a million a year.
Researchers said in their report: 'It would translate into a reduction of as many as 1,155,000 stroke deaths a year on a worldwide scale.'
Strokes, which are usually caused when a clot forms and blocks the blood supply to the brain, kill around 200 people every day in the UK. Treating and looking after the 100,000 people affected by strokes each year in the UK costs the NHS an estimated £2.3 billion.
A spokesman for the Stroke Association said: 'This research suggests eating lots of potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, dates and spinach, could reduce your risk of having a stroke.
'High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke and past research has indicated that potassium could help to lower blood pressure.
'This could go some way to explain the positive effects of potassium demonstrated in this study.'Last updated: 08-04-2011