Bananas, avocados and salmon lower blood pressure by excreting sodium (research)

Foods rich in potassium, such as bananas, avocados, and salmon, help flush sodium out of the body.[사진=게티이미지뱅크]

Potassium-rich foods, such as bananas, avocados, and salmon, have been shown to lower blood pressure and strengthen the heart.

This is the result of a study conducted by the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands on about 25,000 British men and women aged 40 to 79 years. The research team conducted a survey on the lifestyles of participants from 1993 to 1997, analyzed blood pressure and urine samples, and followed them for 19.5 years (median). During this period, approximately 55% of the participants were hospitalized for heart disease and either received treatment or died. The study found that those who consumed the most potassium had an approximately 13% lower risk of heart disease than those who consumed the least. This is a case in which factors such as age, gender, body mass index, smoking amount, alcohol consumption, hyperlipidemia drug use, diabetes, and a history of heart attack and stroke are sufficiently taken into account. In addition, it was found that as the potassium consumption in women increased, blood pressure decreased. For every 1 gram increase in potassium consumption in women per day, the systolic blood pressure decreased by 2.4 mmHg. In men, there was no association between potassium and blood pressure.

Professor Lipert Vogt (clinical nephrology, renal physiology) at the University of Amsterdam, the lead author of the study, said, “Potassium-rich foods such as bananas help to excrete a lot of sodium (salt) in the urine, which lowers blood pressure. It can make your heart stronger,” he said. Foods high in potassium include vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, and dairy products. High sodium intake is also associated with increased blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. The researchers said that in general, the risk of heart disease is significantly higher for women (about 11%) than for men (7%).

The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that adults consume at least 3.5 g of potassium and less than 2 g of sodium (5 g of salt) per day. About 113 grams (4 ounces) of bananas contain about 375 mg of potassium, and about 156 grams (5.5 ounces) of cooked salmon contains about 780 mg of potassium. About 142 grams (5 ounces) of potatoes contain about 500 mg of potassium, and 1 cup of milk contains 375 mg of potassium. The researchers said that to keep the heart strong, you need to increase your potassium intake as well as reduce your salt intake, and eat fresh, unprocessed foods. The results of this study (Sex-specific associations between potassium intake, blood pressure, and cardiovascular outcomes: the EPIC-Norfolk study) were published in the European Heart Journal and introduced by the American health media ‘Health Day’.

By Kim Young-seop, staff reporter

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