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Potassium-rich foods may be good for women’s blood pressure

Photo: KaanC/iStockphoto

Eating bananas and other foods rich in potassium may help women offset the negative effects of a high-sodium diet on their blood pressure.

British and Dutch researchers conducted a study of nearly 14,000 women who had an average age of 58. The women completed a questionnaire on lifestyle habits, had their blood pressure measured and provided a urine sample.

The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume at least 3.5 grams of potassium a day. A banana has 375 milligrams of potassium, an avocado has around 485 milligrams, and a baked potato has more than 900 milligrams.


Looking at the links between potassium intake and blood pressure, the researchers found that for the women who consumed high levels of sodium, every 1-gram increase in their potassium consumption was associated with an almost 2.5-milligram reduction of mercury in their systolic blood pressure readings.

“Our findings indicate that a heart healthy diet goes beyond limiting salt to boosting potassium content,” said study author Liffert Vogt, a professor at Amsterdam University Medical Centers in the Netherlands. “Food companies can help by swapping standard sodium-based salt for a potassium salt alternative in processed foods. On top of that, we should all prioritize fresh, unprocessed foods since they are both rich in potassium and low in salt.”

The study was published online in the European Heart Journal.

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