The risk of stroke could be reduced by eating three bananas daily, suggests a new European study. According to a research team, comprising of scientists from the University of Naples and the University of Warwick, potassium rich diet could significantly cut the risk of strokes.
The researchers reviewed data pooled from eleven studies, spanning for over four decades. They reported their findings in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. The study showed that potassium rich foods could bring down the risk of formation of blood clots in the brain by almost 21 per cent.
Ischemic stroke, caused by blood clots clogging a blood vessel that supplies oxygen and nutrients to the brain, is the common form of stroke worldwide. Blood clots usually develop in arteries affected by atherosclerosis or fat build up. Obstruction in blood flow instantly kills the brain cells. The exact symptoms depend upon the area of the brain affected by the stroke. Numbness or weakness on one side of the body, dizziness, confusion, loss of balance, sudden trouble in speaking and seeing are the common symptoms of stroke. It is one of the major causes of deaths and disability.
In the latest research, scientists found that consuming 1,600mg of potassium daily could lower the risk of suffering a stroke by more than 20 per cent. Banana is the richest and the easily available source of potassium. An average sized banana contains 500mg of potassium. You will also find potassium in spinach, lentils, milk, fish, orange juice, prune, raisins, beet, tomatoes, potato and nuts.
A cup of skimmed milk contains 407mg of potassium. Eight ounces of plain yogurt will supply your body more than 550mg of potassium. You will find around 839mg of potassium in a cup of cooked spinach. A cup of lima beans is loaded with over 900mg of potassium.
Potassium deficiency is linked to irregular heart rhythm, nausea, irritability and diarrhea. Researchers claim that the diet of most people worldwide contains small amount of potassium, well below the recommended daily allowance. According to health experts, the daily diet of adults and children over 10 years of age should contain around 3500mg of potassium.
Studies have shown that the risk of suffering a stroke could be prevented by reducing salt intake and by increasing potassium intake. Potassium could even bring down the blood pressure level naturally. Hypertension is one of the leading risk factors of stroke.
In an earlier Harvard School of Public Health study, researchers found that daily intake of one gram of potassium in the form of supplements could bring down the risk of stroke in people diagnosed with high blood pressure by almost 60 per cent. Potassium supplements are usually prescribed to people on diuretics. Although diuretics are frequently taken to reduce the blood pressure level, excess urination triggered by these drugs might deplete the potassium reserve of the body.
However, it is advisable to take potassium supplements under the supervision of your physician. Potassium supplements might be unsafe for people with kidney disorders. Ideally, dietary potassium present in fruits, vegetables, nuts, milk and fish are safe for your health. Your body can easily absorb the dietary potassium.