Daily News: Nutrition

Bananas `could prevent strokes’

Daily Patriot (Pakistan)

05-27-14

A banana a day could prevent a deficiency which, scientists say, might increase the risk of stroke.

The tropical fruit is rich in potassium, and a study of 5,600 people aged over 65 suggested that those with the lowest intake of the mineral were 50% more likely to suffer a stroke, BBC health reported.

The study also suggested that people who take diuretic drugs - which increase the amount of water excreted in the urine - may also increase the risk, perhaps because they stop potassium from the diet being absorbed by the body.

Diuretics are frequently prescribed to older people - ironically, to control blood pressure and reduce the chance of one type of stroke.

Patients with heart failure also take the drugs to relieve the strain on their heart and lungs.

Patients taking diuretics with the lowest levels of potassium in their blood were two-and-a-half times more likely to have a stroke compared with diuretic takers who had the highest levels of potassium.

The study was carried out by doctors at the Queen’s Medical Center in Honolulu, and published in the journal Neurology.

Diuretics clearly prevent stroke by controlling high blood pressure, whether their effect on potassium levels would affect the risk of stroke.

Sodium levels in the body are kept in balance by the mineral potassium, which is found in fruit and vegetables.

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