Banana - first friend of women's health
According to a new study published in the European Heart Journal, providing potassium-rich foods in the diet can help women improve their heart health. [ref. 1]
In the study, the researchers analyzed the effects of a potassium-rich diet on the blood pressure of nearly 25,000 participants (11,267 men and 13,696 women). The participants were from the EPIC (European Prospective Cancer Research) - Norfolk study, which recruited people aged 40 to 79 in Norfolk, UK, between 1993 and 1997.
The study authors report that potassium consumption (in grams per day) affects blood pressure in women who consume the greatest amount of salt (sodium). According to the researchers, when women's potassium intake increases, blood pressure decreases its values.
During the study, it also became clear that in women with the highest salt intake, each additional gram of daily potassium lowered systolic blood pressure (the upper number of blood pressure) by 2.4 mmHg.
Participants were tracked for an average of nineteen-and-a-half years. This means that half were tracked for longer and the other half were tracked for a shorter time. During this period, 55% of participants were hospitalized or died due to heart disease.
After adjusting indicators such as age, gender, body mass index, tobacco use, alcohol and lipid lowering drugs, diabetes and a previous heart attack or stroke, the researchers found that people with the highest potassium intake had a 13% lower risk of heart disease.
Interestingly, according to this study, men may not react as effectively as women to changing the amount of potassium alone. They reported a 7% lower risk of heart problems, and women had an 11% lower risk.
Other Health Benefits of Bananas
Bananas, as one of the foods with the highest amount of potassium, are a great means of prevention of cardiovascular disease. Their cardioprotective action has been analyzed in various studies. Some studies have found that increased potassium intake reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension and has no adverse effect on blood lipid concentrations, catecholamine concentrations or renal function in adults [ref. 2]
From others we learn that potassium is an important regulator of blood pressure and works through several mechanisms to regulate vascular sensitivity, improve endothelial function and others. [ref. 3]
Also, bananas are one of the best sources of vitamin B6. This vitamin is easily digested by the body when supplied by the yellow fruit. A medium-sized banana can provide about a quarter of your daily vitamin B6 needs.
Vitamin B6 helps the body to:
- Production of red blood cells
- Metabolism of carbohydrates and fats, turning them into energy,
- Metabolism of amino acids
- Removal of unwanted chemicals from the liver and kidneys
- Maintaining a healthy nervous system.
You may not associate bananas with vitamin C content, but a medium-sized banana will provide about 10% of your daily vitamin C needs, as well as 13% of your daily manganese needs.