For all avocado addicts out there, researchers at the University of Alabama have just validated your obsession! Add more avocados and bananas to your diet for the sake of your heart health. The study was done on mice, so far, but there’s no harm in trying!
This new study showed that potassium-filled foods, such as avocados and bananas, are good for heart disease prevention and treatment.
Our arteries typically stiffen the older we get. This rigidity is a huge risk factor for heart disease. Heart diseases kill around 1 in every 4 Americans every year. It’s also heavily affected by what we eat. The more “bad cholesterol” we consume, the more blocked our arteries get, the higher our blood pressure and the higher the risks we have of getting a stroke or a heart attack.
Scientists at Birmingham’s University of Alabama conducted a study to see if potassium helps keep our arteries flexible. The team used mice that have been genetically engineered to be particularly susceptible to cardiovascular diseases when on a high-fat diet. They were then given minimal, medium or high doses of potassium.
Heart scans later showed that the mice that were given a minimal amount of the mineral had stiffer aortas and harder arteries in comparison to the rest. The mice that were given the most amount of potassium had less constricted arteries.
It’s important to note that since this study was done on mice and not humans, it’s impossible to say whether potassium would have the same exact effect on our hearts. However, researchers say the results are still promising.
Can We Have Too Much Potassium? Yes
Don’t go on an all-avocado diet just yet. There is still such a thing as consuming too much potassium- a condition called hyperkalemia. This can be pretty dangerous for people who already have heart conditions or are on hypertension medications.
The recommended daily intake of potassium is 4,700 mg, according to the FDA. One average-sized avocado has about 1000mg, so there’s thankfully no harm in going on an avocado craze, but don’t go more than 10 a day.