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Eight potassium-rich foods to reduce the risk of stroke

Advert warns to act FAST when you see signs of a stroke

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Strokes occur when the blood supply to your brain is cut off. Depending on their severity they can be fatal. Like many medical conditions, what you eat can play a part in lowering or raising your risk of the condition.

According to a study, published in the Stroke journal, diets high in the mineral potassium could slash the chances of having a stroke.

As part of the research, the team studied 90,137 postmenopausal women aged 50 to 79, who had no history of stroke, for 11 years.

It says: “Highest quartile of potassium intake was associated with lower incidence of ischemic and haemorrhagic stroke, and total mortality.”

The study concludes: “High potassium intake is associated with a lower risk of all stroke and ischemic stroke as well as all-cause mortality in older women, particularly those who are not hypertensive.”

The stroke-reducing benefits of potassium were backed by the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

It suggests the following potassium-rich foods to lower your risk:

  • Chicken – 174 grams contains 574 milligrams of potassium
  • Banana – one contains 330mg
  • Avocado – half contains 360mg
  • Broccoli – 80g raw contains 317mg
  • Spinach – 80g contains 545mg
  • Cooked salmon – 154g contains 634mg
  • Potato – 175g boiled contains 639mg
  • Skimmed milk ⅓ pint contains 316mg.

The BHF says: “People who had the most potassium in their diet were 13 per cent less likely to have a heart attack or stroke than people who consumed the least, according to research published in the European Heart Journal.

“The study also found that potassium-rich diets were linked with having lower blood pressure in women who eat a lot of salt.

“Previous research has already shown that eating more salt is linked with having higher blood pressure and a high risk of heart attacks and strokes, while eating more potassium-rich foods has been linked with having lower blood pressure and a lower risk of heart attacks and strokes.”

There are two main types of strokes.

One is known as an ischaemic stroke, which happens when blood supply is stopped because of a blood clot and accounts for around 85 percent of all cases.

There is also the haemorrhagic stroke that occurs when a weakened vessel supplying blood to the brain bursts.

And transient ischaemic attacks (TIA), or mini-strokes happen when the blood supply to the brain is temporarily interrupted.

Stroke symptoms

The main symptoms of stroke can be remembered with the word FAST.

Face – The face may have dropped on one side, the person may not be able to smile, or their mouth or eye may have dropped.

Arms – The person with suspected stroke may not be able to lift both arms and keep them there because of weakness or numbness in one arm.

Speech – Their speech may be slurred or garbled, or the person may not be able to talk at all despite appearing to be awake; they may also have problems understanding what you’re saying to them.

Time – It’s time to dial 999 immediately if you see any of these signs or symptoms.

Some factors that can raise your risk of a stroke include:

  • Being overweight
  • Smoking
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Eating unhealthy foods
  • Family history of stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • High cholesterol.

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