igorstevanovic/ShutterstockYou may know the silent signs of a heart attack or stroke, but preventing one is another beast altogether. Although exercise and sleep are great habits that reduce your risk, few people have the time to fit both into their crazy schedules. Thankfully, adding one simple thing to your plate could be just as effective—but way less time-consuming.
Researchers at the University of Alabama have found that eating bananas every day could help prevent heart attacks and strokes. Their study, which aimed to determine how the mineral potassium affects blood flow and artery health, examined mice who received a diet containing either low, normal, or high levels of potassium.
Overall, mice given a low-potassium diet had much harder arteries than their counterparts. Mice who received high levels of potassium, on the other hand, showed significantly less artery hardening and reduced stiffness in their aorta, as well.
Previous studies have found that potassium can lower blood pressure, but this is among the first to investigate the mineral’s impact on artery health. According to experts, potassium improves your heart’s function by regulating your heartbeat, digesting carbohydrates, and building muscle. The combination of these perks could do wonders for your arteries, preventing heart disease and strokes down the road.
Now, researchers hope to test the effects of a high-potassium diet on humans, as well. “With more research, we might be able to see if the disease forms in humans in a similar way and develop treatments,” Dr. Mike Knapton, associate medical director for the British Heart Foundation, told The Sun.
You’ll have to work hard to get your daily recommended intake of potassium, though. The National Institute of Health recommends that adults consume about 3,500 mg of potassium per day. While bananas will certainly do the trick, shake up your diet every once in a while with any of these 10 foods with more potassium than a banana.
[Source: The Independent]