Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

25 Sivan 5766 - June 21, 2006 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

Going Bananas!
by Dr. Reuven Bruner, Ph.D.

You probably know that a high-salt diet, common in affluent countries in which people eat lots of fries, chips and other processed foods, can lead to high blood pressure woes.

Now comes another high-salt problem: loss of calcium, with resultant weakening of the bones.

The antidote: Eat lots of bananas and other high-potassium fruits and vegetables.

That's the conclusion from a recent report in the Journal of Clinical Endrocrinology & Metabolism. The researchers put 160 post-menopausal women on a low-salt diet for several weeks, and then switched them to a high-salt diet for four weeks. During these four weeks, half of the group also received a potassium supplement. After the four weeks, the women were measured for calcium loss and for markers that indicated bone loss.

The results showed that the subjects lost much more calcium on the high-salt diet than on the low-salt diet. They also had higher readings for the bone-loss marker.

Unless they were also taking a potassium supplement (potassium citrate) while on the high-salt diet. In that case, their calcium loss and bone marker loss were actually less than on the low-salt diet. The potassium seemed to spare them from the ravages of the high-salt diet.

The researchers noted that bananas and other fruits and vegetables are an excellent source of the type of potassium that worked so well in this study. Nutritionists have long advised exercisers and sportspeople that potassium also helps prevent muscle cramps and maintains the fluid balance in the body.

To keep your bones strong and healthy:

1. Watch your salt intake. Try to keep it under the Daily Value (DV) for sodium, which is 400 milligrams.

2. Increase your potassium consumption. Aim for the Daily Value of 3,500 milligrams.

3. Be sure to get plenty of calcium and Vitamin D every day. Good sources are low-fat dairy products and sunlight, liver, tuna and egg yolks.

4. Try to get your potassium from foods rather than vitamins/supplements. The foods will contain many other healthful vitamins, minerals and micronutrients.

Some of the best potassium foods are bananas, peas, broccoli, tomatoes, spinach, lima beans and potato skins.

(c) 2006 Dr. Reuven Bruner. All Rights Reserved.

For more information contact him at: POB 1903, Jerusalem, 91314, Israel; Tel: (02) 652-7684; Mobile: 052 2865-821; Fax: (02) 652-7227; Email:


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