ISLAMABAD: Two 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, BBC health reported.
A study suggested people would have to eat five bananas a day to have half the effect of a blood pressure-controlling pill. While 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. It followed successful experiments in rats that showed that ripe and unripe bananas have compounds that can lower blood pressure.
Current drugs to lower hypertension, or high blood pressure, are called ACE-inhibitors. They are expensive and may produce side-effects such as dizziness.
They inhibit the action of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) which is responsible for forming a substance angiotensin-2 that constricts blood vessels and raises the pressure inside them.
The scientists report that natural compounds in bananas act in a manner similar to anti-hypertensive drugs.
The 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.
The study suggested that a daily intake of 2,300 mg of potassium - about five bananas - may lower blood pressure by about half as much as drugs can.