News on Wellness

Lower Stroke Risk for Menopausal Women by Eating Bananas

BananasAs reported in a brand new study published in the American Heart Association’s journal Stroke, eating bananas helps lower risk of stroke in menopausal women. Bananas, which are extremely high in potassium, have been shown to be beneficial in women going through the “change of life”.

Researchers associated with the study said that typically, aging women in the United States do not get adequate levels of potassium from various foods. By increasing intake of potassium by consuming bananas, blood pressure stays within normal range, which in turn reduces risk of stroke.

Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York’s professor emerita and senior author of the new study, Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, said there are health-related benefits of consuming bananas, and thereby increasing potassium levels such as reducing risk of stroke and premature death but more research is needed.

She specifies that various fruits and vegetables are known to be rich in potassium and that menopausal women, those between the ages of 50 and 79, need to increase the daily intake level as a means of lowering risk of stroke or premature death.

This particular study consisted of over 90,000 menopausal women between 50 and 79 years of age. Researchers observed all of the participants over an 11-year period. The primary focus of the study was to look specifically at daily potassium intake levels, but also to maintain records of women who experienced stroke and death.

From the information gathered, researchers found that compared to the women who consumed the least amount of potassium to those with the highest potassium intake levels, there was a significant difference. Women with the highest potassium levels had a 12% reduced risk of suffering a stroke. However, they found that women with higher potassium intake levels had a 16% less chance of experiencing an ischemic stroke.

Although bananas have the highest level of potassium among fresh fruits and vegetables, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) suggests other foods to include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, dates, orange juice, yogurt, white beans, and others. According to the USDA, the Recommended Daily Allowance or RDA for potassium is 4,700 milligrams for both men and women.

Because one banana a day provides 9% of the RDA, this would be the first choice, especially for menopausal women. Wassertheil-Smoller and the other researchers discovered that just 2.8% of women participating in the study met or exceeded the daily recommended amount of potassium.

She also says that with the information gathered from the study, women need to eat more foods rich in potassium. This important nutrient does not come from junk or processed foods, but from various fresh fruits and vegetables. If necessary, women can check with their doctors to determine the best food choices.

It is crucial for potassium to be consumed on a regular basis. In addition to risk of high blood pressure that can lead to heart attack, stroke, and death, low levels of potassium are related to other health problems.

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