Bananas are known for their sweetness. If you ask me, they basically taste like candy. But don’t let that fool you: these long yellow fruits can offer important health benefits.
New research is showing that bananas and other potassium-rich foods can boost heart health, particularly in women.
Potassium-rich foods like bananas, avocado, and salmon can help counteract the negative effects of salt and work to reduce blood pressure. A high salt diet can contribute to high blood pressure and boost the risk for heart attack and stroke. Potassium helps the body excrete more sodium in urine.
The study included about 25,000 British men and women between the ages of 40 and 79 who took part in a study between 1993 and 1997. They completed questionnaires about lifestyle habits and had blood pressure and urine samples analyzed.
In women, the researchers found that blood pressure went down as potassium consumption went up. They learned that every 1-gram increase in daily potassium was associated with a 2.4 mm Hg lower systolic blood pressure.
Participants were followed for an average of 19.5 years, and after controlling for a series of factors, it was determined that people with the highest potassium intake had a 13 percent lower risk for heart-related problems than those with the lowest intake.
The results of the study suggest that potassium can help preserve heart health, although the benefits are more pronounced in women than men. They found that potassium benefitted heart health regardless of sodium intake, which suggests it has benefits beyond increasing the rate of sodium excretion.
The World Health Organization recommends adults consume at least 3.5 grams of potassium and fewer than 5 grams of salt daily.
A 4-ounce banana has 375 mg of potassium, while a 5.5-ounce piece of cooked salmon has more than twice that. You can also find it in potatoes, milk, avocado, oranges, grapefruit, sweet potatoes, legumes, beets, and more.