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

Antibiotics can be an option rather than surgery for simple appendicitis

Antibiotics can be an option rather than surgery for simple appendicitis

The Medicine Cabinet-Ask the Harvard Expert  By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: A friend recently was diagnosed with

How to improve your cholesterol levels

How to improve your cholesterol levels

By Joyce Hendley If one-third of Americans have unhealthy cholesterol levels, why did the U.S. recently

Five things parents should know about stomachaches

Five things parents should know about stomachaches

By Cleveland Clinic's Children's Health Team How can you tell if it's a regular tummy ache

Quick tips for gluten-free eating

Quick tips for gluten-free eating

By EatingWell Going gluten-free can feel difficult -- especially at first -- but it doesn't have

Young adults need to take prehypertension seriously

Young adults need to take prehypertension seriously

The Medicine Cabinet: Ask the Harvard Expert  By Howard LeWine, M.D. Q: I checked my blood pressure

Articles By Category

Family Health

In The Know

CH Lifestyle

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