If you’ve been told that you have high blood pressure, you are at risk for further problems such as kidney and heart issues, and even stroke. Thankfully, there are ways to lower your blood pressure, including daily habits like cutting back on smoking, amping up your weekly workouts, and changing your diet.
Watching what you eat and drink can play a significant role in adjusting your blood pressure, as certain foods and beverages can wreak more havoc than others. When talking about fruit specifically, you want to make sure you’re finding the best ones. This includes fruit with the most vitamins and minerals. According to Brittany Dunn, MS, RDN, CD, and member of our Medical Expert Board, the best fruit to lower blood pressure is a banana.
There are a few different reasons why bananas make for a great blood pressure snack. For starters, they are rich in potassium. According to Dunn, potassium reduces the effects of sodium on the body. She further states that due to this, foods that are rich in potassium, such as bananas, can help lower blood pressure.
If you have healthy potassium levels, it is great for your overall heart health and blood pressure. It will help to reduce the risk of strokes and heart disease. If you eat a small banana, you can obtain about 422 milligrams of potassium, equaling about 9% of your recommended intake.
These yellow fruits are also great when balancing the fluids and electrolytes in your body.
“This helps the body maintain blood and fluid volume–this aids in maintaining normal blood pressure,” explains Dunn.
Bananas contain almost 10% of your daily requirement for potassium and magnesium, which are both essential minerals that create electrolytes. Consuming enough electrolytes will move the water and energy in your body into the muscles instead of the bloodstream. This is great for post-workouts, where you can avoid muscle cramps and feel less fatigued.
According to the CDC, both potassium and sodium are electrolytes that help your body maintain fluid and blood volume. This leads to your body functioning regularly. However, you must find a happy medium. Consuming too little potassium and too much sodium can raise your blood pressure.
However, Dunn advises that you need to make sure you don’t have too much or too little of a mineral.
“Too little potassium or too much sodium can raise blood pressure,” she says.
Not only is the banana full of nutrients to lower those blood sugar levels, but they’re also a fruit easy to find at the grocery store.
“Bananas are generally easily accessible fruit and low in cost,” says Dunn. “This makes them available to a wide range of individuals to be used as a food to lower blood pressure.”
Once you’ve picked up a hand of bananas, there are many options to enjoy adding this fruit into your diet.
“There are plenty of ways to incorporate them into one’s diet,” Dunn suggests. “Bananas can be put in a smoothie, put atop cereal or yogurt, baked in bread, or simply eaten as is.”