You can’t get too many bananas, and maybe they should start saying
a banana a day can keep the doctor away. Last time I really doubled down on my bananas was after a larger tattoo. Potassium leaks out, and the heart palpitations can be pretty scary. Bananas take care of you in that regard. But even if you’re not getting a tattoo or otherwise doing something where you need more potassium, bananas have a ton of different nutrients.
If you are a woman over the age of 50, bananas have recently been shown to potentially reduce your risk of stroke in association with your ability to take in more potassium. Researchers tested women, and they found that those eating a high potassium diet were 12% less likely to suffer from a stroke. Moreover, these same women were 16% less likely to suffer an ischemic stroke. Those eating a high potassium diet were also less likely to die in general than those who did not eat as much potassium.
Sylvia Wassertheil-Smoller, lead researcher and investigator at the Women’s Health Initiative of Yeshiva University’s Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York says,
Potassium has long been associated with lower blood pressure. We think it goes above and beyond that, to a cellular level. Potassium is used in cellular function, and could be positively affecting the cells that line blood vessels.
Wassertheil-Smoller did not expect that the relationship between potassium and stroke prevention was actually highest among women who did not have hypertension. She says,
That was surprising and really interesting. So we think it’s good to up your potassium intake before hypertension has a chance to develop.
According to the research, they have not found the same type of connection between greater potassium intake and stroke in men. Researcher Wassertheil-Smoller says,
We think it does apply to men, as, in general and on average, men eat more potassium than women because they tend to consume more calories.
Researchers took the data from 90,137 postmenopausal women between ages 50 and 79 for an average of 11 years. They consumed an average of 2,611mg of potassium daily, which is significantly below the USDA’s recommendation of 4,700mg per day. Wassertheil-Smoller suggests more than that saying,
We would say at least stick to the WHO recommendation-which equals 12 bananas a day. You don’t have to just eat bananas. A serving of spinach is probably twice that of a banana. Potassium is sort of everywhere, you just have to read labels to make sure.