Three Foods to Help Lower Blood Pressure

Sunday 08th, April 2012 / 22:49

Is your blood pressure a little elevated? What’s the first thing you’re told to do? Cut your salt and sodium intake…right? OK, here’s a quick quiz. Which contains more sodium…a McDonald’s Big Mac or a large order of French fries? It’s the Big Mac with 1,040 milligrams of sodium. This amount is about half the sodium you need for an entire day {about 2300 mgs} and two thirds of the sodium {1500 mgs} if you are 50 or older or if you have high blood pressure.

Compare the Big Mac to the French fries, which contain 350 milligrams of sodium. Surprised? Many times you don’t taste the sodium added to a product the way you taste the salt on the outside. Here are the salty facts. Table salt is sodium chloride, which means that it’s made up of part sodium and part chloride. But there are many other types of sodium or sodium products in food, particularly processed foods.

As a general rule, the more processed a food item, the more sodium it will contain. You will see names such as the preservative sodium benzoate, monosodium glutamate, a flavor enhancer or sodium nitrate/nitrite that is used as curing agent/preservative in deli meats. It’s the total amount of sodium that you take in every day from both salt (as in the salt shaker) and all the other forms of sodium combined that affect your body.

Sodium is measured in milligrams or mgs on the food label. Any idea how much of your total sodium intake every day comes from the saltshaker? Most people get 25% or less of their total sodium intake from the saltshaker. The rest is added to food in various sodium forms.

Now, let’s talk about foods to increase in the diet to help lower blood pressure.

  1. Potassium-rich foods: diets low in potassium seem to cause a rise in blood pressure. When potassium-rich foods are consumed on a day-to-basis as part of a healthy diet, blood pressure may be reduced. Any idea where you find potassium? Think fruits and vegetables such as raisins, bananas, tomatoes (this includes tomato paste and sauce), spinach, citrus and potatoes. When you cut processed foods and bump up fruits and veggies, blood pressure lowers…naturally!
  2. Calcium-rich foods: yogurt, cheese, milk, and calcium fortified products such as orange juice and soy or almond milk.
  3. Omega-3 rich foods: fatty seafood such as tuna, salmon, or vegetarian foods fortified with DHA-rich algae.
  4. Aim for a combination of these three everyday…foods that are rich in potassium, calcium and omega-3s work together as a team or synergistically…to naturally help lower blood pressure.

Hey, did you just eat something high in sodium? Help offset it with a piece of potassium rich fruit…grab an apple or eat a peach. It’s all about fresh…start with fresh ingredients with the least amount of processing or added sodium.

Want more information? Listen to this week’s podcast below. 
Listen to this week’s podcast 

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