Eating foods with higher potassium content such as bananas can reduce the risk of stroke for menopausal women, per a new study.

Researchers say that older American women do not take the required daily amount of potassium from food. Based on a new study, older women who do not suffer from high blood pressure have better health benefits of eating potassium-rich food.

Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, distinguished university professor emerita, department of epidemiology and population health at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, who is also the senior author of the study reveals that health advantages of potassium consumption are known to lower blood pressure. However, the health benefits of potassium to reduce the risk of stroke or early death was still unclear.

Wassertheil-Smoller explains that vegetables and fruits are rich in potassium and post-menopausal women between the age of 50 and 79 years should increase the intake of potassium-rich food to reduce the risk of stroke and early death.

The authors reveal that the research involved the study of more than 90,000 post-menopausal women aged between 50 and 79 years. The researchers observed the participants for 11 years on an average. They examined the potassium intake of the participants and also kept records of stroke as well as death rates amongst these women.

The researchers indicate that the participants who had the highest potassium intake had 12 percent less chances of getting a stroke and 16 percent expected to encounter an ischemic stroke, when compared to the participants who consumed the least amount of potassium.

Bananas, sweet potatoes, orange juice, yogurt, tomatoes, dates, white beans and more are rich in potassium. The U.S. Department of Agriculture suggests that the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) for potassium is 4,700 milligrams for men as well as women. One banana a day meets about 9 percent of the daily requirement. Wassertheil-Smoller says that the findings of the study revealed that only 2.8 percent of the participants met or exceeded the RDA.

The researchers say that it is important to understand the amount of potassium that should be consumed regularly. Just as low potassium levels may increase the risk of some diseases, high potassium consumption may also result in some medical issues.

"Our findings suggest that women need to eat more potassium-rich foods. You won't find high potassium in junk food," says Wassertheil-Smoller. "People should check with their doctor about how much potassium they should eat."

The study has been published in the American Heart Association journal Stroke.

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