Did you know that diet plays a major role in treating high blood pressure? Not only should you pay attention to the food groups you are eating from, but there are actually certain foods that may help to lower blood pressure. Want to learn more?
Breaking down the food groups
The National Institutes of Health recommends the following, based on a 2,000 calories a day diet:1
- Seven to eight servings of grains and grain products – 1 slice of bread is a single serving, 1/2 cooked pasta is one serving
- Four to five servings of both fruits and vegetables – 6 ounces of vegetable or fruit juice is one serving
- Two to three servings of low fat or fat free dairy products – 1 1/2 ounces of cheese counts as a serving
- Two or fewer servings of lean meats, poultry and fish – 3 ounces of any is equal to a serving
- Two to three servings of fats and oils – 1 tablespoon of regular salad dressing takes up one serving
- Four to five servings of nuts, seed and dried beans per week – 1/2 cup cooked dry beans is one serving
- Five servings of sweets per week – 1 tablespoon of sugar or 8 ounces of lemonade makes a single serving
Down to the foods
Now, what about those specific foods that are especially beneficial to someone who has high blood pressure? There are several that are worth mentioning:
- Blueberries: A single weekly serving of these antioxidant-rich berries can help to reduce the risk of high blood pressure. Enjoy on their own, atop oatmeal or blended in a smoothie.2
- Cinnamon: Researchers have found that cinnamon may help lower both blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It's a great addition to more than just dessert – sprinkle it on hot cereal or add it to chili for a sweet and savory flavor.3
- Lima beans: As a source of fiber and protein, lima beans provide those with high blood pressure high levels of potassium. Once boiled until tender, you can enjoy them in low-sodium soups or mixed into a salad.
- Potatoes: Specifically when baked, potatoes contain high levels of potassium and magnesium – these two minerals may help your body fight off high blood pressure levels. Just don't opt for the twice-baked potato on the menu.
- Spinach: The nitrates found in this leafy green may be what's responsible for its blood pressure benefits. Enjoy spinach raw in a salad or sauteed as a side to lean meats.4
- Yogurt: If you have a calcium deficiency, it may be part of the reason you also have high blood pressure. Yogurt is a great, healthy source of calcium. Instead of enjoying a cup with fresh fruits, add it to your morning smoothie.
Individuals who need to monitor their blood pressure at home can turn to Medex Supply for blood pressure equipment and monitors.
1 National Institutes of Health, "Your guide to lowering blood pressure" May 2003
2 AARP, "6 fabulous foods to fight high blood pressure" February 2012
3 Everyday Health, "Lose the salt, not the flavor" March 22, 2013
4 Forbes, "7 foods that lower your blood pressure" October 23, 2012