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  • Writer's pictureTina Shiver

How Diet Can Lower the Risk and Signs of Hypertension

Blood Pressure gauge

What is Hypertension

High blood pressure also called hypertension currently affects one out of three Americans. It damages blood vessels which in turn increases a person’s risk for coronary heart disease and heart failure. It can also lead to kidney failure and happens to be the leading risk factor for stroke.

Diet, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients all play a role in increasing or decreasing blood pressure.

If you have normal blood pressure the levels would run less than 120/80 mm Hg.

You would be considered in a Hypertensive crisis when systolic is over 180 and/or diastolic is over 120.

What Steps to Take to Lower Blood Pressure

If a person is carrying more visceral fat, this could cause blood pressure to go up and it becomes more important to lose body fat versus weight. For each pound of weight loss there is 1 mm Hg drop in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. A diet that is whole foods, low in sugar, high in fiber and includes phytonutrients can lower blood pressure by 5-6 points.

Decreasing sodium can lower systolic blood pressure by 3-4 points. Cutting back on calories to lose weight can lower blood pressure by 3 points. Exercise can lower blood pressure by 3-4 points. Studies show that if you include certain foods in your diet blood pressure can lower.

Foods to Fight Hypertension

  • Protein. Include protein at each meal. Healthy choices would include sardines, whey protein and soy protein.

  • Fats. Add EPA/DHA, olive oil and sesame oil to your diet.

  • Carbohydrates. Include soluble fiber like oatmeal, psyllium, glucomannan and prebiotics.

  • Potassium. Increase potassium intake to 4700 mg. Consume foods such as avocado, swiss chard, beet greens and blueberries.

  • Magnesium. Increase to 250-500 mg daily – most people are deficient, and this can play a role in blood pressure.

  • Dark chocolate. A wonderful phytonutrient that can help with blood pressure.

  • Phytonutrients. Increase colors like black and red berries, grapes, cocoa, dark chocolate, green and black tea and garlic.

  • Reduce your sodium to less than 2400 mg a day and in turn increase potassium.

All these foods have been shown to have beneficial effects on lowering blood pressure.

Concentrate on losing body fat, possibly lose weight, and change your diet to decrease your risk of hypertension, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

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Until next time...Eat healthy and move.


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