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8 Foods for Lowering Blood Pressure

Jun. 1st, 2012 | Comments 3 | Make a Comment   
Photo Credit: Jessica Goldman Foung
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (and maybe even your doctor) want everyone to take a few moments to learn how to keep their tickers ticking for many years to come. It involves two simple steps: First, know your numbers ó an estimated one in three Americans has hypertension, meaning their blood pressure runs above the optimal reading of 120/80.

Then, know what you can do to take control of those numbers and keep blood pressure at a healthy level for your age and needs, which includes exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, staying away from cigarettes and alcohol, and best of all, eating ó healthfully, of course.

Thatís why this is seriously a month to celebrate. Because, even beyond an apple a day, many foods can help keep the doctor away and put health care back into your own two hands (and your kitchen). And staying well by eating well? Thatís one prescription Iím happy to follow.

For heart-healthy meals, choose ingredients that are high in calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, and potassium, and low in saturated fats, cholesterol, and sodium. But how does that translate to the grocery store and the plate? Check out what we grabbed in the produce aisle and the Healthy Potato, Spinach, & Pumpkin Seed Hash recipe we created from our pickings. This recipe is best enjoyed at breakfast, as a side for dinner, and most definitely with friends.

Spinach

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Potassium, magnesium, folate, and natural nitrates.

Easy Edibles: Throw this leafy green onto sandwiches, in your salads and pastas, or transform it into a pesto.

Photo Credit: Istockphoto/Thinkstock

Unsalted Pumpkin Seeds

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Magnesium.

Easy Edibles: Keep some around for midday snack attacks, toast and season (with salt-free spices) for an easy appetizer, or use them in place of pine nuts for that spinach pesto.

Photo Credit: Hemera/Thinkstock

Potatoes (Purple)

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Potassium, magnesium, and anthocyanins (the compounds that give these violet spuds their color), which may also help lower blood pressure.

Easy Edibles: Bake your own heart-healthy french fries, make a mash or a hash, or throw a handful of tots into stews and curries.

Photo Credit: Istockphoto/Thinkstock

Beans

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Magnesium, potassium, and a high fiber-to-protein ratio, which helps regulate blood sugar and lower blood cholesterol levels.

Easy Edibles: Make a black bean salad or white bean dip for that next potluck, throw them on top of a spinach salad or into your next homemade burrito wrap, or give garbanzos a quick bake in the oven for a crunchy topping or appetizer.

Photo Credit: Polka Dot Images

Mushrooms

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Iron, zinc, potassium, vitamin D, and lots of natural umami, which will please the palate so much that it wonít miss the salt shaker.

Easy Edibles: Replace beef with these meaty vegetables. Make burgers out of large, grilled portobellos; fill tacos with spiced and sautťed creminis, trumpets, and chanterelles; and mix shiitakes with noodles or rice.

Photo Credit: Zoonar/Thinkstock

Dandelion Greens

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Magnesium, as well as a natural diuretic, meaning this leafy green kicks out extra sodium without draining you of potassium.

Easy Edibles: Make a fresh salad from the greens or use in a pesto.

Photo Credit: Istockphoto/Thinkstock

Broccoli

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Easy Edibles: With a quick steam and a chop, add these mini trees to your hash for some bright green color. Or of course, eat them whole and raw with that low blood-pressure bean dip.

Photo Credit: Istockphoto/Thinkstock

White Fish

Heart-Healthy Nutrients: Omega-3 fats, which serve as a natural blood thinner.

Easy Edibles: Whether you use a skillet, the grill, or the oven, fish cooks up quickly. And for a full meal, top that hash with some cod, trout, halibut, herring, or even fresh, grilled sardines.

Photo Credit: Istockphoto/Thinkstock


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3 Comments on this Article

RichTeez commented on June 25, 2012

Thank goodness, many of these are my faves. I've been known to load them into my juicer. Brings a twinkle to my eye just to think about it. No one could have told me I'd enjoy this food group so much when I got older. ... But I do... truly.....

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Matthew commented on June 10, 2012

It's all good, except think carefully about the fish. Fukushima, Gulf of Mexico, sewerage. Water spreads. In Australia doctors advise preganant women not to eat fish because the heavy metals are so high they could cause birth defects. And Australia is in the cleanest part of the Southern hemisphere.

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Hi commented on June 4, 2012

Eating Healthy and Running or Daily Exercise lowers High Blood Pressure without the use of Medicine.

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