A banana a day: another way to lower blood pressure

Reducing your salt intake isn’t the only way your diet can help to lower blood pressure, according to new research.  



Researchers show the blood pressure benefits of adding bananas, leafy veg, legumes, or nuts to your diet

Eating potassium-rich food is a more effective way to lower blood pressure than reducing your salt intake, according to a new study.

Eating just an extra gram of potassium – the equivalent of two medium bananas, a cup of spinach, or a large sweet potato – per day could be enough to tackle high blood pressure, scientists from Imperial College London have found. 

The researchers analysed data collected over five years from 21,000 people in China who either had strokes or were aged over 60 with high blood pressure. Half of them continued to consume salt as normal, while the other half were given a substitute in which a quarter of the salt was replaced with potassium.

Those who consumed the potassium-salt combination had lower blood pressure levels, and a 14% reduced chance of stroke and heart disease, at the end of the study (four percent from reducing salt, and 10% from increasing potassium).

As many as four in five cases where blood pressure has been reduced was down to consuming more potassium, rather than lowering of salt intake, the new paper, published in the Journal of Human Hypertension, states. 

The researchers are calling for official guidance on high blood pressure to incorporate their findings. Potassium is also found in leafy greens, nuts, and legumes.

“This study and its findings are especially important for people who want to take proactive steps to make their lifestyles blood-pressure-friendly,” says Phil Pyatt, Blood Pressure UK CEO.

“It’s encouraging that more and more research is telling us that making small, healthy changes to our diets can be enough to keep blood pressure under control.”