The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new health claim that, “Diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.” Bananas provide a rich supply of potassium and are virtually free of sodium, fat and cholesterol.

Bananas qualify by fulfilling each of the claim requirements, thereby helping 50 million Americans fight high blood pressure and its effects on cardiovascular illnesses. With around 467 milligrams (mg) of the recommended daily value of 3,500 mg of potassium, a single banana contains over 13 percent of the potassium needed every day for good health. The potassium from bananas helps the body maintain the fluid balance in blood and tissue cells and is an essential mineral for protein synthesis. In addition, potassium builds muscle because it stimulates nerve impulses for muscle contraction.

“FDA’s move to validate this claim is a momentous event for nutrition education, especially when directed to the 25 percent of the population suffering from high blood pressure,” said Tim Debus, vice president, International Banana Association (IBA). “We can now confirm that there is a direct health correlation between banana consumption, potassium intake, and low blood pressure.”

According to the American Heart Association, one in five Americans, and one in four adults, has high blood pressure. When blood pressure
increases, the heart is required to work harder to pump blood and oxygen throughout the body. High blood pressure increases the risk of stroke, which is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of serious disability. Almost one-third of the population with high blood pressure do not even know they have it.

“Bananas are among the top foods with the highest concentration of potassium,” said Debus. “Adding in that a single banana is also a good source of vitamin C, dietary fiber and contains 20 percent of the recommended daily value of vitamin B6, bananas clearly offer substantial nutritional benefits for good health.”

The International Banana Association is an international trade association advocating the increased consumption of bananas and the mutual interests of the banana industry. IBA member companies import and distribute bananas throughout North America. Visit www.eatmorebananas.com to learn more about the International Banana Association, banana facts, and bananas and your lifestyle.