Study Finds There Are Several Reasons To Eat A Banana Every Day

Personally, I love bananas, but I know that’s an opinion, not a fact. People seem to have firm thoughts on bananas, both for and against, but if you’re not feeling bananas – or you don’t eat them regularly – here’s a reason you might want to start: University of Alabama researchers have recently concluded a study that found eating a banana (or two) every day can help prevent heart attacks and strokes.

They were investigating how potassium affects blood flow and artery health, and quickly found that mice who were given higher levels of potassium showed less artery hardening and reduced stiffness in their aortas.

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This study joins previous research that has determined potassium is good for heart health, says cardiologist Ragavendra Baliga.

“One analysis published in the Journal of American College of Cardiology in 2011 included data from 11 studies and 250,000 people. This study reported that an average increase of 1540mg of dietary potassium per day is linked to a 21% reduced risk of stroke.”

This most recent study, though, is the first to investigate and link potassium to artery health specifically, explains preventative cardiology dietician Michelle Routhenstein.

“When potassium is deficient, low levels can cause heart arrhythmias and potentially impair blood flow to the brain, muscles, and organs.”

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Scientists think potassium improves your heart’s function by helping to regulate your heartbeat, digest carbohydrates, and build muscle, which could combine to prevent heart disease and strokes into the future.

Though the results are promising, they need to be duplicated and tested in more animals – and humans – before we can say for sure how much help ingesting enough potassium could give us, warns Ali Webster, an 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. 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, too.”

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If you really hate bananas, there are other foods – sweet potatoes, beans and dark leafy greens, to name a few – that can contribute to both of your potassium intake and a generally healthy diet.

Most people in the U.S. don’t eat as much potassium as experts recommend, so clearly adding a few more bananas – or these other options – to your diet isn’t going to hurt!