However, while they are sweet, creamy and relatively high in calories (for fruit), they are also packed with potassium – a mineral scientists now believe could help stave off stroke.
A series of studies show that by reducing salt and increasing potassium levels, it could be possible to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of suffering a stroke.
So what is potassium and why is it so good for us?
Potassium’s job is to regulate fluid levels in the body and keep cells working properly. It is particularly important in nerve and muscle cells and when levels get low, cramps and weakness can occur.
Potassium deficiency is usually caused by medical conditions such as diarrhoea, kidney failure and excessive sweating. Scientists believe that eating more potassium could have noticeable health benefits.
One study shows that most people in Britain don’t eat the government’s recommended 90mmol of potassium a day. Both the USA and Canada have even higher recommendations than the UK, at 120mmol a day. Experts believe that while a few hundred years ago we would have consumed 200mmol a day, modern diets mean we eat more junk and fewer potassium-rich fruit and vegetables.
Now research published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) states that a higher intake of potassium could cut the risk of stroke by almost a quarter.
Bananas, avocados, yoghurt, milk, broccoli, nuts, red meat, chicken, fish and peas all contain potassium but avocados and bananas remain the richest sources.
However, you are advised not to increase your potassium intake if you suffer from kidney problems because your body may not be able to get rid of the excess, potentially leading to abnormal hearth rhythms.
Bananas are a great source of energy and eating in moderation should not impact any weight loss efforts. Try adding sliced banana to your porridge in the morning, or blend with frozen fruit and water for a delicious summer juice.
Find out about how hiring a professional nutritionist could help you prevent high blood pressure and resulting stroke.
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