Ba­nana a day can prevent heart at­tacks

Sunday Express - - HEALTH/RELATIONSHIPS -

JUST one ex­tra ba­nana or av­o­cado a day could prevent heart at­tacks and stroke, new re­search sug­gests. Potas­sium-rich foods may stop fa­tal block­ages from oc­cur­ring by pre­vent­ing ar­ter­ies from hard­en­ing, a study found. Pre­vi­ous re­search re­veals stiff, in­flex­i­ble ar­ter­ies in­crease a per­son’s risk of suf­fer­ing a heart at­tack or stroke. The re­searchers be­lieve potas­sium reg­u­lates genes that main­tain artery flex­i­bil­ity. Study au­thor Dr Paul San­ders from the Univer­sity of alabama, Birm­ing­ham, said: ‘ The find­ings demon­strate the ben­e­fit of ad­e­quate potas­sium sup­ple­men­ta­tion on prevention of vas­cu­lar [hard­en­ing]’.

How the re­search was car­ried out

The re­searchers an­a­lysed mice who are at-risk of heart dis­ease when fed a high-fat diet.

The mice were given ei­ther low, nor­mal or high lev­els of potas­sium.

ar­ter­ies be­come hard with a low­potas­sium diet

Re­sults re­veal the ar­ter­ies of mice fed a low-potas­sium diet be­came sig­nif­i­cantly harder.

The an­i­mals given high potas­sium had sub­stan­tially less artery hard­en­ing.

Mice fed potas­sium-rich food also had re­duced stiff­ness in their aorta, which is the body’s main artery.

This is thought to be due to low­potas­sium lev­els in the blood pre­vent­ing the ex­pres­sion of genes that main­tain artery flex­i­bil­ity.

Dr San­ders said: ‘The find­ings have im­por­tant trans­la­tional po­ten­tial since they demon­strate the ben­e­fit of ad­e­quate potas­sium sup­ple­men­ta­tion on prevention of vas­cu­lar cal­ci­fi­ca­tion in ath­er­o­scle­ro­sis-prone mice and the ad­verse ef­fect of low-potas­sium in­take.’

The find­ings were pub­lished in the Jour­nal of Clin­i­cal in­ves­ti­ga­tion in­sight.

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