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Foods That Lower Your Blood
Pressure-A Comprehensive Review
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January 22, 2008, last updated July 25, 2013
By Susan M. Callahan, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist
[Health and fitness articles are reviewed by our team of Registered Nurses,
Certified fitness trainers and other members of our Editorial Board]


High blood pressure is epidemic among Americans. According to the
American Heart Association, 1 in 2 Americans over the age of 50 will
develop high blood pressure.
That's fifty percent (50%) of us. What
can we do to avoid high blood pressure? Are there any foods that
help to lower blood pressure or prevent high blood pressure? What
foods should you eat if you already have high blood pressure and
you want to lower it? Is there such a thing as an ideal diet to lower
high blood pressure? And what foods should you avoid if you have
high blood pressure.

The good news is that there are foods that can help you to lower
blood pressure. Drawing from university research on dietary
approaches to controlling high blood pressure, we have compiled a
comprehensive list of foods proven to lower high blood pressure.  As
research studies identify new foods that help to lower blood
pressure, we will continue to update this column.

Who Is At Risk for Developing High Blood Pressure?

According to several studies, lifestyle choices can predict who is likely
to suffer from high blood pressure. High blood pressure was defined
as any systolic (top number) above 140 and any diastolic (bottom
number) above 90. A 2006 study from researchers at the University
of Oklahoma examined 4549 American Indians and found that the
following factors determine your risk for developing high blood
pressure.

If you are already pre-hypertensive (borderline high blood
pressure), your risk for developing high blood pressure is 3.21 times
higher.

If you are diabetic, your risk for high blood pressure is 1.56 times
higher.

If you are overweight or obese --and 66% of us are --your risk for
high blood pressure is up to 1.51 times higher.

If you drink alcohol, your risk for developing high blood pressure is
1.22 times higher.

Given the serious health consequences of high blood pressure,
including increased risk for stroke, heart attack and long-term
disability, clearly all of us should do whatever we can to lower our
risk for high blood pressure.

What follows are several kinds of foods that can help you lower your
blood pressure naturally.


























Potassium-Rich Foods Help to Lower Blood Pressure

We have written about the harmful effects of excess salt on your
blood pressure.  See
How Much Is Too Much Salt.  Clearly, table salt
and
foods high in salt such as processed meats should be avoided if
you have high blood pressure. But did you know that certain foods
may help to counter the effects of too much salt in your bloodstream?

Bananas, and other foods high in potassium, act like anti-salt in your
blood.  In the body, potassium and salt act like eternally-linked dance
partners in a complicated Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers fox-trot. When
one partner is moving forward, the other partner is moving
backwards. How does this work exactly?

To see how, you have to use a powerful microscope to observe the
action of salt at the cell level.  If you could see an individual cell at
work, what you'd see is that the cell is like a tiny balloon filled mostly
with water. The job of salt and potassium is to move water in and
out of the balloon.  Salt moves it in, causing the balloon to expand,
and when it expands too much, it creates high blood pressure.  This
is one of the reasons we bloat up if we eat too much salt.  Potassium
moves water out, causing the balloon to deflate, lowering blood
pressure.

Over the years, numerous studies have confirmed potassium's crucial
role in lowering blood pressure.  According to a study authored by
Dr. Lawrence Appel and published in the Journal of the American
Medical Association, consuming potassium supplements reduced
blood pressure by about half as much as the reduction achieved by
blood pressure drugs.

"That's about half the reduction in blood pressure you can typically
expect from treatment with drug therapy," according to Dr. Appel. A
systolic (top number) blood pressure of less than 120 and diastolic
(bottom number) less than 80 mm Hg is recommended by most
physicians. Systolic blood pressure happens when your heart is
contracts.   Diastolic happens when your heart relaxes between
contractions.

Potassium supplements will help you more if you have severe high
blood pressure and high salt intakes and African-Americans may
benefit most.  But even if you have normal blood pressure, potassium
can help to keep it normal.

According to the latest research, you would only need to eat a
banana a day to start to see some improvement in your blood
pressure levels.  Any more than that, and the added sugar would
adversely affect your overall weight control program.

How Much Potassium Do You Need a Day?

According to most authorities, you need 4.7 grams (4700 milligrams)
a day of potassium a day. That's twice the amount of the
recommended daily limit of salt a day.



What foods are rich in potassium?
Here's a list for reference:

Apples, Apricots, Artichokes, Asparagus
Bananas, Brazil Nuts, Brown Rice, Broccoli, Beans
Cantaloupe,
Figs,
Fish
Honeydew,
Kiwi,
Legumes, Lima beans,
Milk,
Oranges, Orange Juice, Onions
Peaches, Potatoes,
Prunes, Papayas, Parsley, Pumpkin
Raisins, Roasted Peanuts
Spinach, Squash, Strawberries, Sweet Potatoes
Tomatoes
Turkey
Vegetable Juices,
Wheat Bread, White Rice, Winter Squash,
Yogurt  

Chart of Foods High in Potassium































































































Symptoms of deficiency of potassium in the diet include diarrhea.

Foods High In Magnesium Also Help Lower Blood Pressure

Magnesium is another powerful ally in you fight against high blood
pressure.  Strong evidence suggest that
magnesium, and foods high
in magnesium, greatly reduce your risk for developing high blood
pressure.

A 2006 study from Harvard Medical School and Brigham and
Women's Hospital in Boston examained the health records of 28,349
women in the health professions with normal blood pressure levels.
After 10 years, the researchers again measured the women's high
blood pressure. What they discovered was that those women whose
diets contained the most magnesium  also were least likely to have
high blood pressure. Those women with the lowest amount of
magnesium in their diets had the highest incidence of high blood
pressure.  

How can you boost the amount of magnesium in your diet? Try  
adding magnesium-rich foods such as sunflower seeds. The daily
recommended value of magnesium is 400 mg, according to the Food
and Drug Administration. Aim to include foods with 65 to 90 mg per
serving ( about 20 to 25% of what you need) in each of your 3 main
meals and a snack. Here is a list of foods high in magnesium:

Halibut (90mg for 3 ounces)
Almonds (75 mg)
Cashews (75 mg)
Spinach   (75 mg)
Soybeans (75 mg)
Pumpkin Seeds
Sunflower Seeds(104 mg for 1 ounce)
Shredded Wheat (55 mg for 2 squares)
Oatmeal (50 mg)
Lentils (35 mg)
Pinto Beans (35 mg)
Kidney Beans (35 mg)

A List of  Other Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

In addition to foods high in potassium and those high in magnesium,
certain special foods have been found effective in lowering blood
pressure. The standouts among these are listed below.

1.
Beets and beet juice has been found effective in lowering blood
pressure by 42% in one study.

2. Chocolate.
Dark chocolate can help to lower blood pressure, a
research team from Italy has found.  

3. Garlic. Contrary to popular opinion,
only one form of garlic has
been found effective in lowering blood pressure.  "Aged garlic
extracts" are that special form of garlic. Other forms of garlic have
had no effect on blood pressure, so be careful in choosing only aged
garlic extracts. (Read more about the
health benefits of garlic.)

4. Celery. A surprising report has found that
celery lowers blood
pressure, despite its relative high salt content.


5.
Orange Juice Lowers Diastolic Blood Pressure. You can lower your
diastolic (lower number) blood pressure by drinking orange juice, a
2010 study found. The study, lead by Dr. Christine Moran and Dr.
Claude Dubray of the Unite of Nutrition Humaine Clermont, France,
studied 24 men aged 50 to 65 .

The men in the study were divided into 3 groups. The men in the first
group  drank 500 ml (about 16.9 ounces, which is about 2 glasses)
of orange juice. A second group drank water spiked with
"hesperidin", the active flavonoid in orange juice. A third group, the
control group, drank a placebo with no active ingredient.

After 4 weeks, the group which drank orange juice and the group
which drank a fluid that contained the same flavonoid as in orange
juice, each saw their diastolic blood pressure drop by 4.5 points on
average.  


Related:
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Massage Lowers Your Blood Pressure!-New Study

Top 10 Herbs and Spices That Lower Blood Pressure

Unclog Your Arteries --Top 10 Natural Remedies

Countries Where People Don't Have High Blood Pressure

Fainting or Blacking Out-Causes and Top 10 Natural Cures

Ideal Breakfast for Diabetics

Foods That Lower Your Cholesterol

Blood Pressure --What It Means

Ideal Weight for Women

Normal Waist Size for Men and Women

Swollen Ankles -Causes and Cures



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More Related Links on  Blood Pressure:
Blood Pressure Chart for
Every Decade of Your Life / Swollen Ankles -Causes and Cures /
High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy-An Ideal Diet / Garlic Lowers
Blood Pressure / Beets Lower Blood Pressure --But There's a Catch
/
Unclog Your Arteries -- 10 Natural Remedies / Does Celery Lower
Your Blood Pressure?-A Comprehensive Review/ Top 10 Herbs and
Spices to Lower Your Blood Pressure / What Is Normal Heart Pulse?
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DIETS AND FITNESS

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Food
Serving
Size
(calories)
Amount of
Potassium
Percentage
of Daily
Recommen
ded
Potassium
Amount of
Salt
Amount of
Sugar
Banana
One
medium,
between 7
inches and 7
7/8 inches
long

(89 calories)
358  
milligrams
7.6%
1 milligram
14.43
milligrams
Cantaloupe
1 wedge
(1/8 of
medium
melon)

(35 calories)
184
milligrams
3.9%
16 milligrams
5.42
milligrams
Honeydew
melon
1 wedge
(1/8 of
melon,
medium, 5
and 1/2
inches in
diameter)

(35 calories)
228
milligrams
4.85%
18 milligrams
8.12
milligrams
Salmon
(Atlantic
wild, raw)
3 ounces
416
milligrams
8.85%
37 milligrams
0(zero)
Halibut
3
370
7.8%
58
0(zero)
Trout
(farmed)
3 ounces
320
miligrams
6.8%
43 milligrams
0(zero)
Avocado
One, whole
without skin

(227
calories)
690
milligrams
14.68%
11 milligrams
0.41
(negligible)
Seeds
(pumpkin,
and
squash,dried
, unsalted)
1 ounce

(158
calories)
229
milligrams
4.87%
2 milligrams
0.40
(negligible)
Seeds,
sunflower
(unsalted)
1 cup
(818
calories)
924
milligrams
19.65%
13 milligram
3.67
Seeds
pistachio

(raw,
unsalted)
1 cup
(691
calories)
1261
milligrams
26.8%
1 milligram
9.42
Walnuts
14 halves
(185
calories)
125
milligrams
.02%
1 milligram
0.74
Peanuts
(dry,
roasted)
1 ounce
(166
calories)
187
milligrams
.04
2 milligrams
1.19
Spinach

(fresh)
10 ounces
(1 bunch)

(65 calories)
1585
miligrams
33.7%
224
1.19
Strawberries

raw, whole
1 cup

(46 calories)
220
milligrams
4.6%
1 milligram
7.04
Tomatoes
(raw)
1 large, 3
inch diameter
(18 calories)
237
milligrams
5%
5 milligrams
2.63
White Rice
(long
grained,
regular,
cooked)
1 cup

(205
calories)
55
milligrams
1.1%
2 milligrams
.08(44.5
grams
carbohydrate
s)
Brown Rice

(medium
grained,
cooked)
1 cup

(218
calories)
154
milligrams
4.1%
2 milligrams
0 (45 grams
carbohydrate
s)
Parsley
(fresh)
10 sprigs

(4 calories)
55
milligrams
1%
6 milligrams
.09
Yogurt

(plain low fat
with low
calorie
sweetener)
1 cup (8
ounces)

(257
calories)
475
milligrams
10%
142
milligrams
7.11
bananas lower blood pressure
Bananas are high in potassium which helps to lower blood pressure.