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Eat These Foods for Lower Blood Pressure

Two out of three Americans over age 60 have hypertension (BP≥ 140/90), which puts them at risk for health problems like heart disease or stroke. Always check with your doctor first, then try these foods to naturally reduce blood pressure.

 

BEETS

Don’t just eat potassiumeat ’em, drink ’em too. When people with high blood pressure drank 8 ounces of beet juice, their blood pressure dipped an average of 10 points for up to 24 hours afterwards, notes a study published in Hypertension. While this study was relatively small (and beet’s long-term effects on blood pressure weren’t studied), research suggests that eating nitrate-rich foods like beets and green leafy vegetables could help people with hypertension by widening blood vessels and aiding blood flow.

Try it!: Besides sipping beet juice, slice and roast beets to top a salad with goat cheese.

 

WALNUTS

Research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition now suggests walnuts, long touted as healthy, may lower blood pressure. When adults ate about 0.5 cup of walnuts daily for four months, they had better blood flow, lower blood pressure and smaller waists. Plus, they didn’t gain weight even though they added over 350 calories of walnuts daily. Walnuts delivered healthy fats, magnesium and fiber, which may be the reason they’re good for BP.

Try it!: They’re yummy solo or try subbing walnuts for pine nuts in pesto.

 

FLAXSEED

Eating 3 tablespoons of these nutty seeds daily for 6 months helped people with hypertension lower their blood pressure by average of 10 percent, says a study published in the journal Hypertension. People who didn’t eat flaxseed saw no change or even a slight increase. Researchers believed the anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3 fats in combination with lignans (a phytoestrogen) and fiber may be the reason flax is good for blood pressure.

Try it!: Sprinkle ground flaxseeds into your yogurt, smoothie or homemade granola.

35 – Number of minutes you need to work out every day to lower your risk of high blood pressure by 19%.

 

Go meatless. Vegetarians had lower blood pressure compared to omnivores by an average of 7 points diastolic (the top number) and 5 points systolic in a JAMA Internal Medicine review.

 

Look beyond the banana: 8 potassium-rich foods to eat.

Foods like bananas that are rich in potassium do help ward off muscle cramps. Potassium also plays a vital role in keeping your ticker healthy and your blood pressure in a healthy range. That’s because potassium helps counteract the blood pressure- raising effect of sodium. But bananas aren’t the only potassium superstar. These eight foods deliver even more potassium per serving:

Avocado – 0.5 cup pureed = 16%dv

Yogurt(nonfat plain) – 1 cup = 18%dv

Baked Acorn Squash- – 1 cup cubed = 26% dv

Dried Apricots – 0.5 cup = 22%dv

Baked Potato (with skin) = 1 medium = 26%dv

White Beans 0.5 cup = 17%dv

Dark Leafy Greens 1 cup cooked spinach = 24%dv

Salmon 4oz = 15%dv

Source: Eating Well July/ August 2014 by Lindsay Westley