Bananas are one of the most commonly seen and eaten fruits. Eating bananas brings many benefits, such as replenishing energy and lowering blood pressure, and can even improve your mood. There is a rumor going around online that you should not eat bananas every day because they are a high-potassium food that can damage your kidneys if you eat too many, but the Health Promotion Administration (HPA) says only people with impaired kidney function have a metabolic deficiency that compels them to avoid eating bananas every day.
Bananas are classified as a medium-potassium food, containing about 325 milligrams of potassium per 100 grams of banana flesh, or about 200 to 399 milligrams of potassium per serving (half a large banana or a whole small one). Research shows that bananas can regulate bowel movements, relieve depression, reduce oxidation, lower blood pressure, promote cardiovascular health and prevent stroke, among other things.
According to the HPA, for people with normal kidney function, consuming plenty of potassium ions from bananas or other food can regulate blood pressure and indirectly protect the kidneys. Only for people with impaired kidney function — those who have been diagnosed with kidney failure — can it be harmful to their health, as they cannot excrete potassium ions.
Photo: Liu Pin-chuan, Liberty Times 照片：自由時報劉濱銓
The best ways to prevent chronic kidney disease are lifestyle improvements, good control of blood pressure, blood sugar and blood fat, lowering urine protein and avoiding drugs that are toxic to the kidneys, as well as early screening and referral to a nephrologist when necessary.
As for how to tell whether your kidneys are functioning normally, you can visit a hospital and find a doctor to perform a kidney function test, or else you can take advantage of the free adult health examinations that the HPA offers once every three years for people aged between 40 and 64 years old and once a year for those aged 65 or older. You can safeguard your kidney health by watching out for any change in your kidney function and following your doctors’ orders for treatment.
(Translated by Julian Clegg, Taipei Times)
照片：旗山區農會提供 Photo courtesy of the Cishan Farmers’ Association
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