Eating more bananas and cutting down on crisps could prevent thousands of stroke-related deaths, researches said. The potassium-rich fruit helps drive down blood pressure levels, as does lowering your salt consumption in snacks like crisps. A study found people with a high potassium intake had 24 percent less risk of having stroke. Previous data suggested that older people could be harmed by potassium as their kidneys may be less able to remove it from their blood.

But the research, on journal website, said these fears can be dismissed. It found potassium did not negatively affect kidney function. The authors said there was ‘high quality evidence’ that people with high blood pressure improved when they increased their potassium intake. They analyzed 128,00 people over 33 trials and said consuming more of the mineral, for example by eating banana, is ‘potentially beneficial to most people’. Bananas are one of the most common foods to be rich in potassium. Each one contains around 420mg well on the way to the daily adult allowance of 3,500mg. Another study on the website found slightly reducing salt intake for four weeks or more led to a significant fall in blood pressure- and so reduced risk of stroke and heart attack.

Dr Clare Walton of the Stroke Association said a healthy diet was a part of managing stroke risk.

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