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Eating three bananas a day could 'slash the risk of a stroke'

Fruitful: Three bananas a day could help cut the risk of a stroke by around 21 per cent

Eating three bananas cuts your risk of a stroke, scientists say.

A banana for breakfast, one for lunch and one in the evening would provide enough potassium to reduce the chances of suffering a blood clot on the brain by around 21 per cent.

The findings, by British and Italian researchers, suggest thousands of strokes could be prevented by the consumption of other potassium-rich foods such as spinach, nuts, milk, fish and lentils.

Although some previous studies have suggested bananas could be important for controlling blood pressure and preventing strokes, results have not always been consistent.

In the latest research, published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, scientists analysed data from eleven different studies - dating back to the mid-Sixties - and pooled the results to get an overall outcome.

The average banana contains around 500 milligrammes of potassium, which helps to lower blood pressure and controls the balance of fluids in the body.

Too little potassium can lead to an irregular heartbeat, irritability, nausea and diarrhoea.

Researchers from the University of Warwick and the University of Naples said potassium intake in most countries is well below the recommended daily amount.

But if consumers ate more potassium-rich foods and also 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.'

Many more are left disabled and in danger of a second or even third attack which could kill them.

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.'

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