Post #31: Five foods that lower blood pressure

Recently a friend of mine was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I was shocked to hear, as was she, because she’s fairly young – in her early thirties.

Her doctor advised her that the primary change she could make in her life was to her diet. Intrigued, I did some research and found some interesting information regarding diet and your blood pressure.

When high blood pressure goes uncontrolled for too long, serious complications can occur, including kidney failure, heart damage, aneurysm and stroke. Along with medications and exercise, what you eat plays a big role in managing your blood pressure, so the right diet is critical.

Ideally, blood pressure should be at or below 120/80 mm Hg. When blood pressure becomes too high, it can cause damage to the arteries, blood vessels, heart and other major organs.

Certain foods, especially those high in sodium and saturated fats, can increase your blood pressure. Conversely, there are foods that can help lower your blood pressure.

Here are the top five foods that have been shown to help lower blood pressure:

Dark chocolate: Studies have suggested that the antioxidant-rich compounds called flavonoids found in cocoa and dark chocolate help keep platelets from sticking together in the blood vessels and can improve the flow of blood by keeping the vessel lining dilated.

Skim milk
: Research has shown that the dairy peptides (small amino proteins found in milk) in skim milk affect blood pressure in a similar way to prescription blood pressure medications called angiotensin converting enzyme, or ACE, inhibitors.

 

Beans (white, black, navy, lima, pinto, kidney): Beans are high in magnesium, which plays a crucial role in maintaining normal blood pressure levels. Magnesium also helps control sodium levels in our cells, which affects blood pressure.

Bananas and baked potatoes: Bananas and baked potatoes are potassium-rich, making them an ideal food for lowering blood pressure. The ratio of sodium to potassium in your blood can have a direct impact on your blood pressure. When potassium levels are low, the body retains sodium, causing blood pressure to rise.

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