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Strokes are a serious and life-threatening medical emergency.
They occur when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off – usually either due to a clot or a blood vessel bursting.
There are a number of contributing factors that can cause or raise your risk of a stroke, including what you eat.
Specifically, foods high in salt should be avoided since sodium raises blood pressure.
This is because sodium makes the body hold onto water – putting extra pressure on blood vessels.
Therefore, Abbas Kanani – pharmacist at Chemist Click Online Pharmacy – advised upping your potassium intake to lessen the effects of salt.
“Too much sodium (salt) in the diet, such as those found in smoked meats like bacon and ham, can lead to high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke,” he told Express.co.uk.
“Potassium is usually stated as a good food to lower blood pressure.
“Potassium does not directly lower sodium, however consuming adequate amounts of foods with potassium can help with counteracting the effects of sodium.
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“Some studies have also found that a diet of too little potassium could increase the risk of stroke.
“The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you process out of the body and therefore have some control of our blood pressure.”
He recommended eating bananas – and other foods high in potassium – for this reason.
Mr Kanani said: “Bananas are known for their high potassium content, however baked potatoes, butternut squash, milk and chicken breast are also good sources.
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“Prunes are not only a good source of potassium, they support heart health in two ways by protecting arteries and reducing damage from oxidative stress, even in diets that are not considered healthy.
“Potassium’s anti-inflammatory properties are also important for reducing the risk of developing atherosclerosis, a condition where the arteries become narrowed and hardened.
“It also supports optimal nerve and muscle function, including the smooth muscles lining blood vessels.”
The inclusion of bananas in your diet to combat high blood pressure is backed by both the American Heart Association and the British Heart Foundation.
However, both bodies emphasise that one banana only equates to around 11 percent of your daily potassium needs.
They advise adding other potassium-rich foods to your diet as a result.
The only way to be sure if you have high blood pressure is to get it tested.
High blood pressure is considered to be from 140/90 millimetres of mercury (mmHg) or 150/90mmHg if you’re over the age of 80.
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