More than two decades of research have proven potassium-rich foods can help lower blood pressure readings. Eating two bananas (each consisting of about 420mg of potassium) everyday has shown to lower blood pressure by 10 percent within a week.
The study was conducted back in 1999, in Manipal, southern India and involved human participants from the Kasturba medical college.
The researchers concluded in the Indian medical journal Current Science that natural compounds in bananas act in a similar way to drugs used to manage high blood pressure (hypertension).
In particular, they were referring to anti-hypertensive drugs branched as ACE-inhibitors.
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And they state that Ace-inhibitors prevent the action of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), which is responsible for forming a substance angiotensin-2 that constricts blood vessels and raises the pressure inside them.
The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) lists four main types of medication offered to manage high blood pressure: ACE inhibitor, ARB, CCB, Diuretic.
ACE inhibitor – angiotensin converting enzyme
Names of these medicines commonly end in ‘pril’. For example, lisinopril, perindopril and ramipril.
ARB – angiotensin receptor blocker
Names of these medicines commonly end in ‘artan’. For example, candesartan, losartan and valsartan.
CCB – calcium channel blocker
Names of these medicines commonly end in ‘dipine’. For example, amlodipine, felodipine and lacidipine.
A common example is indapamide.
There can be side effects for all these drugs, but not everybody gets side effects.
“It is not possible to know in advance what will happen to any individual person,” NICE says.
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Any medical treatment to manage high blood pressure will be discussed and decided upon between patient and doctor.
Blood Pressure UK – a charity dedicated to lowering the nation’s blood pressure – support the findings that potassium-rich fruit, such as bananas, help to lower blood pressure.
The American Heart Association also agrees that foods filled with potassium are important in managing hypertension, as potassium lessens the effects of sodium (salt) within the body.
Additionally, potassium helps to ease tension in blood vessel walls, which further reduces blood pressure.
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The charity recommended potassium intake for an average adult is 4,700mg per day, and lists other potassium-rich foods:
- Apricots and apricot juice
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melon
- Fat-free or low-fat milk
- Fat-free yogurt
- Grapefruit and grapefruit juice Greens
- Lima beans
- Oranges and orange juice
- Prunes and prune juice
- Raisins and dates
- Tomatoes, tomato juice and tomato sauce
Do note that too much potassium can be harmful in people with kidney disorders.
As kidneys become less able to remove potassium, too much of the mineral may build up.
Staying away from drinking too much alcohol (no more than three to four units a day for men, and two to three units a day for women) is also recommended.
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