According to a new study published in the journal European Heart Journaleating the equivalent of a banana a day could have very positive effects on your cardiovascular health.
Are bananas one of the miracle foods to keep your heart healthy? According to a new study published in the Journal on Friday, July 22, 2022 European Heart Journalthis particularly high-potassium fruit would actually have the gift reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease … and this is much more pronounced in women.
“It is well known that high salt intake is associated with high blood pressure and an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes”explains Liffert Vogt, Professor of Clinical Nephrology and Renal Physiology at the University Hospitals of Amsterdam (Netherlands), in a statement published on the website of theEuropean Society of Cardiology.
“Health advice has focused on limiting salt intake, but that’s difficult to achieve when our diets include processed foods. Potassium helps the body eliminate more sodium in the urine. In our study, dietary potassium was associated with the greatest health gains in women.”
Lower blood pressure thanks to potassium
To arrive at this result, the researchers analyzed the health data collected from around 25,000 Brits aged 40-79Men and women together, between 1993 and 1997. The participants in this large-scale study completed questionnaires about their lifestyle and blood pressure, as well as urine samples.
These samples were analyzed, including for potassium and sodium, to assess food intake. However, that’s what the researchers found The more potassium consumption in women increased, the more blood pressure dropped.
Specifically, every 1 gram increase in daily potassium was associated with a lower systolic blood pressure of 2.4 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury) in these women. No relationship was observed between potassium levels and blood pressure in men..
13% reduced risk of heart disease
Note that in this study, patients were followed for a median of 19.5 years, meaning half were followed longer and half were followed for a shorter period. During this time, 55% of participants were hospitalized or died from heart disease.
After weighting their results for various factors (alcohol and tobacco use, age, gender, BMI, medications taken, diabetes and cardiovascular history, etc.), the researchers concluded that those who consumed the most potassium had it 13% reduced risk of heart disease than those with a lower intake.
In detail, when men and women were analyzed separately, the corresponding risk reductions were 7% and 11%, respectively. The amount of salt in the diet did not affect the relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events in men or women.
Bananas, salmon, milk, potatoes…
“The results suggest that potassium helps maintain heart health, but women benefit more than men. The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways to protect the heart besides increasing sodium excretion.”explains Professor Vogt.
“Our results show that a heart-healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt and increasing potassium levels”he continues.
“Food companies can help by replacing traditional sodium-based salt with an alternative to potassium salt in processed foods. Additionally, we should prioritize all fresh, unprocessed foods as they are both high in potassium and low in salt.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends consumption for adults at least 3.5 grams of potassium and less than 2 grams of sodium (about 5 grams of salt) per day. The types of foods that contain the most potassium are vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, dairy, and fish.
For example, a 115-gram banana contains about 375 mg of potassium, 154 grams of cooked salmon contains 780 mg, a 136-gram potato contains 500 mg, and 1 cup of milk contains 375 mg.
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