Are women consuming high amounts of sodium? Eating foods like bananas and salmon could help reduce its negative effects on the body, a new research suggests.

The new study, which was published in the European Heart Journal, found diets rich in potassium (from bananas and salmon, for example) were associated with lower blood pressure, most especially in women who have high salt intake due to their diets.

According to the team of researchers behind the study, this indicates the mineral can play a significant part in helping preserve heart health, and that women can benefit from it more than men.

“It is well known that high salt consumption is associated with elevated blood pressure and a raised risk of heart attacks and strokes,” said study author Professor Liffert Vogt of Amsterdam University Medical Centers in the Netherlands.

“Health advice has focused on limiting salt intake, but this is difficult to achieve when our diets include processed foods. In our study, dietary potassium was linked with the greatest health gains in women.”

The study was done on 11,267 men and 13,696 women from the Epic-Norfolk study, and recruited adults aged 40 to 79 from general practices in Norfolk, UK, between the years 1993 and 1997.

Each of these participants completed a questionnaire on lifestyle habits, before their blood pressure was measured and a urine sample was collected. To estimate dietary intake, urinary sodium and potassium were measured by the team behind the study.

The researchers analyzed the link between potassium intake and blood pressure, discovering potassium consumption was associated with blood pressure in women. The more the mineral went into the body, the lower the blood pressure became.

Overall, the team found people who had the highest potassium intake had a 13% lower risk of cardiovascular events compared to those with the lowest intake. When analyzed separately, men and women had risk reductions at 7% and 11%, respectively.

“The relationship between potassium and cardiovascular events was the same regardless of salt intake, suggesting that potassium has other ways of protecting the heart on top of increasing sodium excretion,” said Vogt.

Per experts, you can boost your potassium intake by eating five portions of fruit and vegetables on a daily basis. Of course, limiting your alcohol intake and staying physically active will also help.