3 Foods For Better Blood Pressure
You probably already know that to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range you should avoid too much sodium. But shaking your head at salt isn’t the only way to keep blood pressure numbers in check. There are actually foods you can ADD IN to your diet to help.
Take a look at 3 great foods to help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level.
Better Blood Pressure Food #1: Bananas
Bananas are high in potassium, a mineral that needs to be in balance with sodium. When potassium dips, the body holds on to sodium, raising blood pressure. Getting enough potassium helps the body rid itself of excess sodium.
Unfortunately most Americans eat too much sodium and not enough potassium. A University of Washington study found that 99.7% of us (that’s only 3 people in a thousand) fall short of the daily targets for optimal cardiovascular health -- less than 2,000 mg sodium and at least 3,510 mg of potassium.1
Eat more bananas: Slice some into cereal, peel, bag and freeze them to add to smoothies, or grill banana halves then top with a scoop of low-fat frozen yogurt for an after-dinner treat.
Bananas not your thing? Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are also high in potassium.
Better Blood Pressure Food #2: Yogurt
An 8-oz cup of most yogurts contains over 400 mg of calcium. That’s about 1/3 of your daily dose. Calcium’s best known for its contribution to strong bones and teeth.
But calcium has another important function. It helps vessels tighten and relax when they need to, keeping blood pressure at a healthy level. If blood levels of calcium are low, the body will dip into its stores in bones, leaving them vulnerable.
Eat more yogurt: Use it as a base in dips instead of sour cream, replace mayo with yogurt on your sandwich for a tangy twist, and layer it with granola and fresh fruit for a delicious parfait.
Don’t like the taste of yogurt? Whole milk, Swiss and cheddar cheeses are also high in this mineral.
Better Blood Pressure Food #3: Pumpkin Seeds
Just a handful of these every day will get you over the top for your daily magnesium allotment. And as far as healthy blood pressure goes, that’s important. Magnesium helps potassium and calcium to pass through cell walls to do their work.We also need magnesium to help blood vessels relax and maintain optimal vascular tone.
In one population study, Harvard researchers and colleagues examined data from over 2,600 participants in the Framingham Heart Study (53 years of age, on average), and found those who had a higher intake of magnesium also had significantly better vascular tone.2
Unfortunately, according to the National Institute of Health, dietary surveys consistently show that Americans don’t get enough magnesium.3
Eat more pumpkin seeds: For delicious roasted pumpkin seeds, preheat the oven to 300 degrees, then scrape the pulp and seeds out of the pumpkin with a spoon. Rinse seeds in a colander, shake dry, then spread them in a single layer on an oiled baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, toss them with olive oil and sprinkle with your favorite spices, then return them to the oven and bake until crisp and golden.
Don’t like pumpkin seeds? Mackerel and dark leafy greens can give you a magnesium boost as well.
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1. Drewnowski A, Rehm CD, Maillot M, Mendoza A, Monsivais P. The feasibility of meeting the WHO guidelines for sodium and potassium: a cross-national comparison study. BMJ Open. 2015;5:e006625.
2. Hruby A, O'Donnell CJ, Jacques PF, Meigs JB, Hoffmann U, McKeown NM. Magnesium intake is inversely associated with coronary artery calcification: the Framingham Heart Study. JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2014 Jan;7(1):59-69. PMID: 24290571.
3. National Institutes of Health. Magnesium: Fact Sheet for Consumers. Available at: https://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/Magnesium-Consumer/.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.