Want to Lower Your Risk of Heart Disease? Eat More Bananas

Banana lovers… rejoice.

That also goes for lovers of avocado, cantaloupe, pumpkin, lentil, and other potassium-rich foods.

New investigate is lifting a probability that doctors might one day be means to assistance patients equivocate some heart illness by examining their potassium levels.

Researchers during a University of Alabama during Birmingham (UAB) recently resolved a study involving mice that draws a association between reduced dietary potassium and a arrangement of vascular calcification and aortic stiffness.

Aortic stiffness, ordinarily famous as “hardening of a arteries,” is predictive of heart illness in humans.

In their study, researchers found increasing levels of aortic rigidity in mice fed a reduced-potassium diet compared to mice fed normal amounts of potassium.

Further investigation found that reduced potassium appears to inspire a countenance of certain gene markers.

These, in turn, foster calcification of vascular well-spoken flesh cells by transforming them into bone-like cells.

The researchers resolved that, during slightest in a rodent model, reduced dietary potassium indeed promotes towering aortic stiffness.

Conversely, a potassium-rich diet seems to relieve vascular calcification and aortic stiffness.

“The commentary have critical translational intensity given they denote a advantage of adequate potassium supplementation on impediment of vascular calcification in atherosclerosis-prone mice, and a inauspicious outcome of low potassium intake,” Dr. Paul Sanders, highbrow of nephrology in a UAB Department of Medicine and a investigate co-author, pronounced in a press statement.

Why we need potassium

Dr. Morton Tavel, clinical highbrow emeritus of medicine (cardiology) during a Indiana University School of Medicine, writes:

“Potassium is a dietary vegetable required for many corporeal functions. It plays an critical purpose in holding blood vigour down, operative in antithesis to sodium.”

“Potassium is also indispensable for normal flesh growth,” Tavel adds, “and for shaken complement and mind function. In further to shortening blood pressure, potassium seems to work by safeguarding blood vessels from repairs and impassioned thickening.”

Healthline spoke about a UAB study, and about potassium’s effects on a heart in general, with Dr. Sean P. Heffron, cardiologist and instructor of medicine during NYU Langone Health in New York.

“Certainly, anything that is a new resource that potentially has a purpose in atherosclerosis in humans is unequivocally engaging to me, both as a clinician and a researcher,” Heffron said.

“[This study] is a covenant to one of a components of a vegetable-intense, healthy-oil diet like a Mediterranean diet,” he added. “It shows one aspect of since that is regularly shown to have cardiovascular benefit. And we need to get people to belong some-more to diets like that; to eat some-more fruits and vegetables.”

No “magic bullets”

Some physicians do worry, however, about those who allow to a “magic bullet” theory.

Dr. Robert S. Greenfield, medical executive of non-invasive cardiology and cardiac reconstruction during MemorialCare Heart Vascular Institute during Orange Coast Memorial Medical Center in California, commented on this unequivocally issue.

“There’s unequivocally no one sorcery bullet,” Greenfield told Healthline. “You know, vascular and heart problems, it’s some-more difficult than that. There are a whole accumulation of things that minister to possibly health or disease, and holding one sold member out is not going to change a march of disease.”

“When it comes to potassium, we kind of worry a small bit about people perplexing to take too much,” pronounced Greenfield. “You know, there are a lot of people walking around, generally middle-age people, that might have teenager kidney problems that don’t even register on a lab test, and they might not hoop potassium sufficiently, and we positively don’t wish to take too much.”

Heffron picked adult on this point.

“In a deficiency of kidney disease, many people are means to hoop flattering large doses of potassium around a urinary complement and excrete it to a unequivocally good degree,” he said.

But, Heffron warned, “Anything can be taken to a extreme, and we see that on occasion.”

Like Greenfield, Heffron cautions, “The genuine courtesy is people with kidney disease, in that box high levels of blood potassium are distant some-more common.”

“And high levels of blood potassium, that are generally asymptomatic, can be indeed unequivocally dangerous from a heart standpoint,” combined Heffron. “Not so many from a vascular illness standpoint, though from an arrhythmia standpoint in inspiring unequivocally dangerous and potentially lethal arrhythmias.”

How many is too much?

Tavel writes, “Although there is some discuss per a optimal volume of dietary potassium, many authorities advise a daily intake of during slightest 4,700 milligrams.”

“Most Americans devour usually half that volume per day,” continues Tavel, “which would make them deficient as regards this sold recommendation.”

All of a physicians that Healthline spoke with advise that if we eat a healthy diet, one abounding in fruits, vegetables, grains, and monounsaturated fats, we should get all a potassium we routinely need.

But they also warn opposite too small or too many potassium.

Greenfield said, “Nowadays we indeed worry if a potassium [level] goes too high since all of a medicines that are ordinarily used have a bent to lift potassium.”

“So we get concerned,” pronounced Greenfield, “that if someone doesn’t know that, and they review this essay and feel they’re going to go to a vitamin shop, that they’ll collect adult some potassium tablets and start popping them all a time. Because it could be dangerous.”

Supplements vs. healthy foods

There is small discuss about a purpose of supplements contra eating healthy dishes as a approach to perform your daily potassium requirements.

Greenfield said, “It seems that a minerals, vitamins, and nutrients inside pills and supplements don’t seem to be as profitable as when they’re in a healthy state.”

Heffron agrees that it positively is probable that we can get all a potassium we need from eating healthy.

“If we eat a good diet, we don’t need supplements,” he said.

However, as a caveat, he noted, “Unfortunately, it’s a minority of a people that do eat an adequate diet.”

Barring a healthy diet, supplements might offer as a reasonable swap source of potassium.

Some potassium abounding foods

Tavel granted Healthline with a list of some dishes that he writes, “can prove your needs as good as your eating pleasure.”

Some of those, along with their potassium content, are as follows:

  • sweet potatoes: 694 milligrams (mg) each
  • fresh tomatoes: 664 mg per 1/4 cup
  • fresh beets: 644 mg per 1/2 cup
  • white beans: 600 mg per 1/2 cup

Also high on a list of potassium-rich dishes are:

  • yogurt
  • most beans
  • clams (canned or fresh)
  • prunes
  • carrots
  • meaty fish
  • molasses
  • soy
  • squash
  • bananas
  • milk
  • orange juice

For reference, a National Kidney Foundation provides a extensive list of potassium-rich foods.

Rainbows and a bottom line

With courtesy to a UAB study, Heffron said, “I wouldn’t specify it a ‘breakthrough.’ It has a lot of engaging associations in a novel resource that they’ve demonstrated. That being said, it is singular to mice and to petri dishes, and either that translates into humans is a outrageous leap, for sure.”

Greenfield emphasizes a significance of a healthy lifestyle with courtesy to vascular health. That includes eating a heart-healthy diet and removing unchanging exercise.

“Tell me about your blood pressure,” Greenfield said. “Tell me about your cholesterol level. we mean, if we wish to speak about arterial stiffness, carrying a good low cholesterol turn and a normal blood vigour are substantially dual unequivocally critical things to do to keep your arteries agreeable and healthy and forestall them from removing a stiffness.”

As for your diet, “If we go by a adage, we know, your diet should be a colors of a rainbow where we have all sorts of fruits and vegetables, you’re flattering many going to have all a nutrients we need if we follow those healthy guidelines,” pronounced Greenfield.