Chicago Health | Homepage
Eight ways to lower blood pressure besides cutting sodium

Eight ways to lower blood pressure besides cutting sodium

EatingWell.com

When it comes to “natural” ways to improve blood pressure, sodium restriction snags the spotlight. Most experts agree that limiting sodium is a smart strategy for those looking to lower blood pressure, but why focus on what you can’t — or shouldn’t — have? Shift your emphasis to positive lifestyle changes you can make to improve blood pressure.

Nosh on plenty of produce

Fruits and vegetables are low in sodium and rich in potassium, which offsets sodium’s effect on blood pressure. Potassium-packed picks include baked potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, spinach, winter squash, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, beans and tomatoes.

Enhance meals with healthy fats

Substituting sources of healthy fats for some of the carbohydrates in your diet helps control blood pressure, according to a recent study. Remember to swap, and not add, them in. Think: nuts instead of croutons — not both — on your salad.

Go for whole grains over refined starches

Some studies suggest that whole grains help the body hang on to potassium. You can’t go wrong with whole grains either way — you get more beneficial vitamins and nutrients when you swap white for whole grains, and you’ll also feel full longer after eating them, thanks to their fiber content.

Include low-fat dairy in your diet

Calcium plays a key role in regulating blood pressure. Low-fat dairy products offer all the nutrients of full-fat varieties, but without the saturated fat and cholesterol that raise heart-disease risk. Have low-fat milk with your cereal or oatmeal in the morning, add a cup of plain low-fat yogurt to your lunch, or have some low-fat cheese as a mid-afternoon snack.

Learn to love legumes

Beans, nuts and seeds are rich in magnesium, which contributes to maintaining healthy blood pressure. Aim to get 4 to 5 servings (1/2 cup of beans or 1 ounce of nuts/seeds) a week.

Savor small amounts of dark chocolate

Studies attest to the blood-pressure benefits of products made with cocoa, which contains antioxidants that activate a substance called nitric oxide that relaxes blood vessels and makes it easier for blood to flow throughout your body.

Move more

Moderate exercise has been shown to improve blood pressure. National guidelines advise 30 minutes of daily moderate activity, such as brisk walking, jogging or cycling. If you don’t have 30 minutes to exercise, break your daily exercise sessions up into three 10-minute mini-workouts.

Cultivate inner calm

Studies show that meditation brings blood pressure down — probably by modulating physiological stress responses. You don’t have to sit in the lotus position, say “om” or think spiritual thoughts. Simply tuning in to your breathing — for even 10 minutes — may do the trick. Close your eyes (and the door), turn off the cell phone. Now … breathe.

(EatingWell is a magazine and website devoted to healthy eating as a way of life. Online at www.eatingwell.com.)

(c) 2016 EATING WELL, INC. DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE CONTENT AGENCY, LLC.

Similar Articles

New Recommendations for the Flu Season

New Recommendations for the Flu Season

By Marc Zarefsky Chicago’s fall weather has been unseasonably warm, but don’t be fooled. Winter is

Brain Boosts

Brain Boosts

Nourish Your Noggin with Lifestyle Changes By Laura Drucker Your brain needs to be well fueled, exercised and nurtured

Can you be held responsible for your parents’ long-term-care costs?

Can you be held responsible for your parents’ long-term-care costs?

By Eleanor Laise, Kiplinger Retirement Report When an older adult racks up unpaid long-term-care bills, who's

Rare syndrome causes overly flexible joints, fragile skin

Rare syndrome causes overly flexible joints, fragile skin

Mayo Clinic Q&A DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I was recently diagnosed with vascular Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. My doctor

Calcium is crucial for long-term bone health

Calcium is crucial for long-term bone health

Mayo Clinic Q&A DEAR MAYO CLINIC: Should all postmenopausal women take calcium supplements to prevent osteoporosis,

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

January 2017
Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
December 25, 2016 December 26, 2016 December 27, 2016 December 28, 2016 December 29, 2016 December 30, 2016 December 31, 2016
January 1, 2017 January 2, 2017 January 3, 2017 January 4, 2017 January 5, 2017 January 6, 2017 January 7, 2017
January 8, 2017 January 9, 2017 January 10, 2017 January 11, 2017 January 12, 2017 January 13, 2017 January 14, 2017
January 15, 2017 January 16, 2017 January 17, 2017 January 18, 2017 January 19, 2017 January 20, 2017 January 21, 2017
January 22, 2017 January 23, 2017 January 24, 2017 January 25, 2017 January 26, 2017 January 27, 2017 January 28, 2017
January 29, 2017 January 30, 2017 January 31, 2017 February 1, 2017 February 2, 2017 February 3, 2017 February 4, 2017

Categories

Recent Comments

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Swing for the fences in the fight to Sideline Pancreatic Cancer

Enjoy a great night of baseball at Peoples Natural

VIEW ARTICLE
Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

Cost to give birth 1943 - Page 3 - Defending The Truth Political Forum

A Hazy Shade of Healthcare: What does tort reform

VIEW ARTICLE

Archives