Peel This Tropical Treat for Blood Pressure
By Real Age
Your blood pressure could be lower just by indulging more in this sweet tropical treat: bananas.
Cheap and plentiful year-round, bananas are bursting with potassium. And a review of several major studies suggests that people who add the potassium equivalent of an extra 1 1/2 to 2 bananas to their day could drop their blood pressure 2 to 3 points.
More Points for Potassium
Dropping BP by 2 or 3 points is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it's enough to lower stroke risk. In other research, people with the highest potassium intake levels cut their stroke risk by a whopping 38 percent compared with the people who got the least potassium. This magical mineral works by encouraging your kidneys to filter more pressure-boosting sodium out of your bloodstream. It also helps tiny blood vessels relax and makes pressure sensors in artery walls function more efficiently. (Here's another sweet treat that snares high blood pressure.)
Aim for 3,000 milligrams a day of potassium to get optimal RealAge benefits. But don't rely on pills; they can be dangerous if you have kidney problems. Go with fruits and veggies instead -- not just bananas but prunes, watermelon, baked potatoes with the skin, mushrooms, tomatoes, and other produce, too. Produce will also give you a head start on these important blood pressure control strategies:
• Slash the sodium. Fresh produce is naturally low in salt. And licking the salt habit can lower your blood pressure even if it's just a bit high. Here are three ways to slash more salt.
• Mine more minerals. Fruits and veggies pack not just potassium but calcium and magnesium as well, two additional pressure-pampering minerals.
• Seek a sleeker you. Low-cal fruits and veggies can help you hit a healthy weight, which is important for your blood pressure. Did you know? Nearly 90 percent of adults will develop high blood pressure by age 65.