25 November 2011

Banana : Lower blood pressure

Your blood pressure could be lower just by indulging more in this sweet tropical treat: bananas.
Cheap and plentiful year-round, bananas are bursting with potassium.

Bananas are different from many other fruits and vegetables in that they are a good source of potassium and low in sodium.
Sodium is an essential nutrient; we need it in our diets. Sodium is found in all extracellular fluids in our body and involved in a wide range of physiological reactions. Health regulatory officials have been recommending for some time that people reduce their salt (sodium chloride) intake to combat hypertension or high blood pressure and, consequently, reducing mortality from coronary heart disease and stroke. Sodium has also been implicated in increases in blood pressure with age. US officials have recommended a safe minimum level of 500 milligrams (mg) sodium per day and an upper level of 2,400 mg sodium per day.

Potassium is found in many parts of the body; it is involved in fluid and electrolyte balance. It has an important role in heart muscle activity and is found in many metabolic pathways. Epidemiological and animal studies indicate that the risk of stroke-related deaths is inversely related to potassium intake over the entire range of blood pressures and the relationship appears to be dose dependent. That means the higher the potassium intake, the lower the risk. US officials believe that a diet containing approximately 3.5g of potassium / day may contribute to reduced risk of stroke, which is especially common among blacks and older people of all races. The combination of a low-sodium, high potassium intake has been found to be associated with the lowest blood pressure levels and the lowest frequency of stroke in individuals and populations. High potassium and low sodium - that`s where the banana come in.

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