Drug companies would like you to believe the only way to reverse hypertension is by shelling out big bucks for their medications. But some experts maintain, and I agree, that a proper diet could eliminate hypertension in 80 percent to 90 percent of those suffering with this condition.
One of the most comprehensive studies on foods that lower blood pressure compared three different dietary approaches in 459 people with high blood pressure. This study concluded that a diet low in total and saturated fats, while rich in fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy foods will lower blood pressure. It lowered systolic blood pressure by 11.4 mm Hg and diastolic by 5.5 mm Hg—a reduction comparable to the effects of drugs for hypertension!
The diet used in the study is very similar to what I’ve recommended to patients for years: lots of fiber-rich vegetables, some fruit, legumes, and moderate amounts of low-fat dairy products and lean animal protein.
Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
- Increase your potassium intake by eating copious amounts of vegetables and a serving or two of fruit per day, and drink 8–16 ounces of Low Sodium V8 Juice. To make “Whitaker Salt,” add three parts potassium chloride (Nu-Salt or Morton’s Salt Substitute, available in most grocery stores and health food stores) to one part regular table salt and use for all of your cooking and seasoning.
- Beans and legumes are full of fiber, protein and potassium, and low in calories. Cook beans without salt. If you use canned beans, rinse well in a colander to remove sodium.
- Low-fat or nonfat milk, cottage cheese, sour cream, yogurt and other dairy products are a good addition to your diet. Some cheese is fine, but be aware that it contains lots of saturated fat, calories and sodium, so use in moderation.
- Olive oil should be your cooking oil of choice because it contains primarily monounsaturated fats, which are more stable when heated than polyunsaturated vegetable oils. You may use cold-pressed sunflower, safflower, corn and other polyunsaturated oils in salad dressings, but do not heat them.
- Lean, skinless poultry should be a mainstay of your diet. Turkey, fish and seafood (salmon and other cold-water fish contain the most protective omega-3 fats) are also highly recommended.
- Dark chocolate contains flavonoids that relax the arteries and lower blood pressure. Studies show chocolate also relieves stress. For maximum health benefits, stick which dark chocolate and eat in moderation.
- Purchase only low glycemic index sweeteners, such as stevia and xylitol, that won’t wreak havoc on your blood sugar.
- Look for low-sodium, no-sugar-added versions of prepared staples such as broth, soy sauce, spices, salsa, ketchup and other condiments
Now it’s your turn: Which of these foods that lower blood pressure do you eat regularly?
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