A Banana A Day Keeps the Cardiologist Away

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Getting plenty of potassium-rich foods in the diet is associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, according to an analysis by Italian researchers presented at the American Heart Association’s Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Metabolism conference this week in San Francisco.

Another study presentation found that eating fruits and vegetables raw may be especially beneficial in the protection against stroke.

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The first report from the University of Naples was based on 10 studies published between 1966 and 2009 that included almost 280,000 adults. A diet high in potassium was associated with a 19% lower risk of stroke and an 8% lower risk of coronary heart disease.

Potassium is an essential mineral found in many foods, including bananas, potatoes, leafy greens, soybeans, apricots, avocados, yogurt, prune juice and dried beans. It has been shown to be cardioprotective in many ways, including reducing blood pressure and preventing vascular disease. The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is based on a lowering of salt and an increase in potassium-rich foods.

The second study, presented by researchers from the Wageningen University in the Netherlands found that after studying more than 20,000 men and women over a ten year period that those with a high intake of raw fruits and vegetables were 36% less likely to suffer a stroke than those with a low intake. There was not an associated benefit with a higher intake of processed fruits and vegetables

Source: American Heart Association

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