We’ve all no doubt heard that time-honored pithy proverb, that “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” However another miracle fruit that may actually rival that round usually red fruit is the banana, which grows in clusters, in tropical and subtropical environments, and when ripe turn a golden yellow.
Researchers at the University of Alabama have found that eating the potassium-rich fruit, every day could help prevent heart attacks and strokes.
Their study found that the mineral potassium (which is prevalent in bananas), affects blood flow and artery health. Researchers took two groups of identical mice; in the first group, the mice received a diet containing low levels of potassium, while the other group had a diet containing normal and high levels of potassium.
Overall, the mice given a low-potassium diet had much harder arteries than their counterparts. Mice who received high levels of potassium, had significantly less artery hardening and reduced stiffness in their aorta, as well.
According to Doctor Ragavendra Baliga, a cardiologist at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, recent studies and data show a diet rich in potassium helps lower blood pressure and reduces the risk of heart disease.
Doctor Baliga noted “One analysis published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology in 2011 included data from 11 studies and 250,000 people.”
Adding, “This study reported that an average increase of 1540 mg of dietary potassium per day is linked to a 21 percent reduced risk of stroke.”
Getting enough potassium helps maintain a healthy heartbeat, according to Michelle Routhenstein, MS, RD, CDN, CDE, a preventative cardiology dietitian.
“When potassium is deficient, low levels can cause heart arrhythmias and potentially impair blood flow to the brain, muscles, and organs,” she says
According to experts, potassium-rich bananas also improve your heart’s function by regulating your heartbeat, digesting carbohydrates, and building muscle.
Bananas are also an excellent source in maintaining bone density and healthy kidney function.
While the Alabama research is promising within mice, researches now need to move this study to people to draw a definitive conclusion according to Ali Webster, RD, PhD, the associate director at the International Food Information Council.
“It certainly won’t hurt to eat potassium-rich foods every day, unless you’ve been instructed to watch your intake,” Webster says. “But we can’t say that one specific food is going to prevent cardiovascular disease.” You need to consider the whole diet as well as other risk factors.”
Other potassium-rich foods beside bananas can be found in a wide variety of other foods and beverages, including fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, dairy products, meats, poultry, and fish.
A recent article written by Ali Webster chronicles 25-reasons why you should eat a banana every day, here are just a few.
- Bananas help with depression
- Boosts energy
- Help you lose weight.
- Lowers blood pressure
- Promotes heart health
- Treats stomach ulcers
- Protects against brain disorders
Bananas are also beneficial for maintaining healthy kidneys. When you get enough potassium, your body is less likely to lose calcium in your urine. That keeps your kidneys functioning at their best while also reducing the risk of kidney diseases.
Studies have shown that those who eat bananas 4–6 times a week are almost 50% less likely to develop kidney disease, compared to people who don’t eat bananas.