Bananas May Reduce Risk of Strokes

An extra serving of potassium-rich fresh fruits and vegetables every day could reduce the risk of stroke, says a study; but we do not have to resort to potassium pills which may be dangerous.

Dr. Elizabeth Barrett-Connor, of the University of California at San Diego, and colleagues studied 859 men and women ages 50-79 years. Among their findings, reported in the New England Journal of Medicine: Men with low-potassium diets were almost three times more likely to die after a stroke than those who had higher potassium diets. Women who consumed little potassium were almost five times more likely to die after a stroke.

Barrett- Connor says her results indicate that “one extra serving of fresh fruits and vegetables a day may decrease the risk of stroke by as much as 40 percent regardless of other know risk factors.”

She says no one should take potassium supplements without supervision.

Gail C. Frank, spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, and an epidemiologist as Louisiana State University at New Orleans, agrees. “Adding extra banana or half a cup of orange juice is not a bad idea,” she says. “But when you get into tablets, you risk complications that could affect the kidneys and the heart.”

The recommended dietary range for potassium is 1,800- 5,600 milligrams a day, Frank says. A small banana has 380 milligrams; one cup of orange juice, 400 milligrams; a small potato, 350 milligrams; one cup of carrots, 150 milligrams.