Two ripe bananas a day can help control high blood pressure, offering a cheap alternative to expensive drugs, according to scientists. The finding supports earlier research that potassium-rich food such as bananas could play a role in controlling blood pressure
A 1997 study suggested people would have to eat five ripe bananas a day to have half the effect of a blood pressure-controlling pill. Now researchers in India have reported that blood pressure fell by 10% in people who ate two bananas daily for a week
The study involved human volunteers at the Kasturba medical college in Manipal in India after successful experiments in rats that showed that ripe and to a degree unripe bananas have compounds that can lower blood pressure
Current drugs to lower blood pressure are called ACE-inhibitors. They are expensive and may produce side-effects such as dizziness
The pharmaceutical trade in ACE-inhibitors is worth billions of dollars every year.
The Indian scientists report that natural compounds in ripe bananas act in a manner similar to anti-hypertensive drugs in the Indian medical journal Current Science
The Manipal team studied six popular banana varieties and found that all had ACE-inhibiting properties, though the ripened bananas had a stronger action than unripe ones