According to a new study published in the journal European Heart Journaleating the equivalent of a banana a day can have very beneficial effects for your cardiovascular health.
Is banana one of the miracle foods to preserve … your heart? According to a new study published on Friday, July 22, 2022 in the journal European Heart Journalthis fruit especially rich in potassium has the gift of reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease… and it is more marked 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”explained Liffert Vogt, professor of clinical nephrology and renal physiology at the University Medical Centers in Amsterdam (Netherlands), in a statement posted on the website ofEuropean Society of Cardiology.
“Health advice focuses on limiting salt intake, but this is difficult to achieve when our diets include processed foods. Potassium helps the body excrete more sodium in the urine. In our study, dietary potassium was associated with the greatest health benefits in women.”
Lowering blood pressure thanks to potassium
To achieve this result, researchers analyzed health data collected from approx. 25,000 Britons aged 40-79men and women combined, between 1993 and 1997. Participants in this large study completed questionnaires on their lifestyle and blood pressure, along with urine samples.
These samples are analyzed, including potassium and sodium, to assess dietary intake. However, researchers have found that the more potassium consumption increased in women, the more blood pressure decreased.
In detail, every 1 gram increase in daily potassium was associated with a 2.4 mm Hg (millimeter of mercury) lower systolic blood pressure in these women. In men, no connection was found between potassium levels and blood pressure..
13% lower risk of heart disease
Note that in this study, patients were followed for a median of 19.5 years, which means that half were followed longer, the other half for a shorter period. At this time, 55% of participants were hospitalized or died of heart disease.
After evaluating their results according to various factors (alcohol and tobacco consumption, age, sex, BMI, medications taken, diabetes and cardiovascular history, etc.), the researchers concluded that people who eat in the most potassium display 13% lower risk of heart disease than those with low intake.
In detail, when men and women are analyzed separately, the corresponding risk reductions were 7% and 11%, respectively. The amount of salt in the diet did not influence the relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events in men or women.
Bananas, salmon, milk, potatoes…
“Findings suggest potassium helps maintain heart health, but women benefit more than men. The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was similar regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart besides increasing sodium excretion.explained Professor Vogt.
“Our findings show that a heart-healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt to increasing potassium content”he continued.
“Food companies can help by replacing the standard sodium-based salt with an alternative to potassium salt in processed foods. In addition to this, we all need to prioritize fresh, unprocessed foods because it is both high in potassium and low in salt.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults eat at least 3.5 grams of potassium and less than 2 grams of sodium (about 5 grams of salt) per day. Foods rich in potassium are vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, dairy products and fish.
So, a 115 gram banana has 375 mg of potassium, 154 grams of cooked salmon has 780 mg, a 136 gram potato has 500 mg and 1 cup of milk has 375 mg.