ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the U.S., and high blood pressure is one of the top risk factors. A new EPIC-Norfolk study revealed that women in particular benefit from a potassium-rich diet.

Eating avocados, bananas, and potatoes have been linked to lowering your blood pressure for years. However, this new study sought to find gender-specific differences in a potassium-rich diet in males and females.

Researchers looked at over 24,000 participants in the EPIC-Norfolk cohort. The results found that in women with high sodium intake—the more potassium they ate, the lower their blood pressure. 

Dr. Andalib Nawab of Cardiology Associates of Schenectady said it is well established that potassium helps lower sodium, and it’s important to acknowledge the connection as women retain more sodium as they age.

“There are gender differences. We are more salt sensitive after we lose our estrogen,” Dr. Nawab said. “Anything we can do to help reduce the salt can help our blood pressure.”

Dr. Nawab added that a potassium-rich diet isn’t enough to stay heart healthy. She said lowering the intake of salty foods, keeping a healthy weight, and increasing exercise are also essential strategies for lowering blood pressure.