Strokes are serious and life-threatening medical emergencies that occur when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off.
This can be caused by a blood clot blocking a vessel in the brain or a blood vessel in the brain bursting.
There are several factors that can raise your risk of stroke including smoking, obesity, having high cholesterol and diabetes.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is also a major risk factor as it places extra pressure on the blood vessels and brain.
Therefore, lowering your blood pressure can reduce your chances of experiencing a stroke.
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The Stroke Association explains: “High blood pressure can lead to stroke in different ways.
“It can lead to blood clots in the brain, and can damage the tiny blood vessels deep inside the brain. It can also make a stroke due to bleeding in the brain more likely.”
One way to lower blood pressure is to increase your potassium intake.
This is because the mineral can help the body get rid of sodium – one of the driving causes of high blood pressure – as well as relaxing blood vessel walls.
“Foods that are rich in potassium are important in managing high blood pressure, or hypertension, because potassium lessens the effects of sodium,” the American Heart Association says.
“The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine.
“Potassium also helps to ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.”
Upping your potassium intake through drinks is a simple way to make a difference to your blood pressure.
Seven drinks high in potassium are:
- Prune juice (707mg of potassium per cup)
- Carrot juice (689mg)
- Tomato juice (556mg)
- Orange juice (496mg)
- Grapefruit juice (400mg)
- Milk (342mg)
- Apricot juice (286mg).
For comparison, a medium-sized banana contains around 422mg of potassium.
What does research say?
One study, published in Stroke journal in 2011, analysed 10 existing trials focused on potassium intake and stroke risk.
It found that for every 1,000mg a day increase in potassium intake, the risk of stroke decreased by 11 percent.
“Dietary potassium intake is inversely associated with risk of stroke, in particular ischaemic stroke [stroke caused by a blood clot],” it concluded.
A separate study, also published in Stroke journal in 2014, looked at the correlation between potassium intake and strokes in more than 90,000 women.
It said: “High potassium intake is associated with a lower risk of all stroke and ischaemic stroke as well as all-cause mortality in older women, particularly those who are not hypertensive.”
If you think someone is experiencing a stroke you should call 999 immediately.