Fruits have long been a staple of our diet. They contain plenty of vitamins and minerals that help us with our daily bodily functions. Fruits are also high in antioxidants, chemicals that protect us from free radicals. Free radicals can damage our tissues and also cause tissue aging. Bananas and avocados, in particular, are high in antioxidants, vitamins, and fiber. Fiber is known to bind to and prevent the absorption of cholesterol. Interestingly, bananas also contain tryptophan, a chemical that once consumed, is converted into serotonin, a hormone that allows us to relax. The numerous positive effects of bananas and avocados on our health suggest that they are foods that would be beneficial additions to our daily diet. In fact, a recent study shows that these fruits may even help improve heart health.
Image Source: Nazar Abbas Photography
The study, released by the University of Alabama at Birmingham, shows that potassium in bananas may downregulate calcification of the arteries. Vascular calcification leads to blood vessel hardening, which can result in severe consequences, such as heart attacks and cardiovascular disease. Researchers collected data on aortic stiffness and vascular calcification by feeding mice three different levels of potassium equivalent to 0.3 percent, 0.7 percent or 2.1 percent of their respective body weights. The results show that mice fed high levels of potassium had less vascular calcification compared to the normal-level group (0.7%) whereas the low potassium level group had much more vascular calcification in relation to the normal-level group.
This study also tested avocados, which seem to have a similar positive effect on our arteries. Avocados are high in vitamins and contain more potassium than bananas. Additionally, avocados are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, which are a beneficial type of fatty acid. Studies have also shown that avocados can reduce our cholesterol levels. High levels of cholesterol are unhealthy for us because they can cause atherosclerosis, a condition in which fat is deposited in the arteries and hardens into plaque that can then clog the arteries. Clogged arteries can lead to blood clots that result in heart attacks and strokes.
It seems that avocados and bananas are not only tasty snacks, but also friends to our heart.
Feature Image Source: “Bananas” by Aran Burton