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Bananas and nuts are keys to a long life

Millions of lives could be saved every year if people ate more potassium-rich foods, like bananas, and cut down on their salt intake, research suggests.

People who have a high potassium intake have a 24pc reduced risk of stroke, according to a new study.

And increasing levels of potassium – found in many foods including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, milk, fish, beef, chicken, turkey and bread – can help to reduce high blood pressure, the results indicate.

The research, published on the British Medical Journal website, analysed data gathered from 128,000 participants in 33 trials. The authors wrote: "High-quality evidence shows increased potassium reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension. Higher potassium intake was associated with a 24pc lower risk of stroke."

In separate research, also published on the journal's website, it was found that a modest reduction in salt led to significant falls in blood pressure in people with both raised and normal blood pressure and could reduce the risk of strokes, heart attacks and heart failure.

Irish Independent