Eating more bananas could help to prevent strokes, a new study suggests.
Postmenopausal women who eat foods higher in potassium are less likely to have strokes and die than those who eat less potassium-rich foods.
According to the research published in the American Heart Association's journal Stroke, women who ate the most potassium were 12 per cent less likely to suffer stroke in general and 16 per cent less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke than women who ate the least.
Senior study 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."
Researchers studied 90,137 postmenopausal women, aged 50 to 79, for an average of 11 years.
They looked at how much potassium the women consumed, as well as if they had strokes, or died during the study period.
Participants were stroke-free at the start and their average dietary potassium intake was 2,611 mg/day. Results of this study, published in the American Heart Association journal Report , are based on potassium from food, not supplements.
Researchers also found that women who ate the most potassium were 10 per cent less likely to die early than those who ate the least.
Among women who did not have high blood pressure, those who ate the most potassium had a 27 per cent lower ischemic stroke risk and 21 per cent reduced risk for all stroke types, compared to women who ate the least potassium in their daily diets.