Eating bananas every day could help prevent heart attacks and strokes, new research reveals.
High in potassium, foods like bananas can stop fatal blockages from occurring and inhibit the hardening and narrowing of arteries.
Researchers at the University of Alabama discovered the effects after analysing mice who were at risk of heart disease.
The mice were then fed either low, normal or high levels of potassium with the results showing that the arteries of mice fed a low-potassium diet became significantly harder.
In contrast, the animals given high potassium had substantially less artery hardening and reduced stiffness in their aorta.
As such, the vital mineral is thought to help prevent heart attacks and strokes in humans. However eating too much can cause stomach ache, nausea and diarrhoea.
Dr Mike Knapton, from the British Heart Foundation, acknowledged the recent study showed that not eating enough potassium leads to the hardening of arteries.
“With more research, we might be able to see if the disease forms in humans in a similar way and develop treatments,” he told The Sun.
Official NHS advice is to consume 3,500mg of potassium each day, a quarter of which could be met by eating two bananas.
Other foods rich in the mineral include potatoes, broccoli, sprouts, seeds, fish and poultry.