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Natural Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure

Lisa Ashwill, RD CD Lisa Ashwill, RD CD May 26, 2016 0 Comments General Health

highbloodpressure"My doctor told me I have high blood pressure, what do I do now?" Well, the good news is that what you eat makes a difference, and there are natural, healthy alternatives to reducing your numbers.

Here are three healthy alternatives to lowering your blood pressure through a proper diet:

  1. Eat less salt. A high-sodium diet can increase blood pressure.
    • To lower your salt intake, aim for less than 2,300 mg (about 1 teaspoon) of salt each day. Check the nutrition facts label on food items. Choose foods that have 5% or less of the “daily value” of sodium, and avoid foods that have 20% or more of the “daily value” of sodium. Because sodium is used as a preservative in many foods, avoid canned foods and processed foods.
  2. Eat more foods with potassium, magnesium and fiber.
    • A diet rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber can help control blood pressure. Choose fruits and vegetables for natural sources of potassium, magnesium and fiber, and choose lean meats and poultry, nuts, seeds, and legumes for good sources of magnesium.
  3. Consider starting the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
    • The DASH diet is recommended by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute and can help prevent and control high blood pressure.

DASH diet recommendations for a 2,000 calorie per day diet include the following:

  • Vegetables (4 to 5 servings a day)
  • Fruits (4 to 5 servings a day)
  • Low-fat or fat-free dairy products, such as milk and yogurt (2 to 3 servings a day)
  • Whole grains (7 to 8 servings a day, and 3 should be whole grains)
  • Fish, lean meats, and poultry (2 servings or less a day)
  • Beans, seeds, and nuts (4 to 5 servings a week)
  • Vegetable oils (2 to 3 servings a day)
  • Sweets or added sugars, such as jelly, hard candy, maple syrup, sorbet, and sugar (fewer than 5 servings a week)

For more information on the DASH diet, visit the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute at www.nhlbi.nih.gov.

Whether you want to learn how to shop better for your family at the grocery store or find a way to a healthier diet, Fort HealthCare offers nutrition programs among the many health and wellness classes offered throughout the year. Fort HealthCare's dietitians offer personal nutrition counseling that can help you manage your blood pressure numbers with your primary care provider. Understanding your blood pressure is vital when knowing what kind of health you're in and how you can best prevent against chronic diseases and conditions. Often times, the unseen can be prevented with proper management of care. If you don't know your blood pressure numbers, now is the time! Make an appointment with your primary care provider today and understand where your health lies.