Trying lifestyle changes can suit you if you have borderline or moderate hypertension. However do consult your doctor, he or she will check your pressure and inform you if these changes can substitute or lower the medication dose for your hypertension. The recommended changes includes:
- Watch your waistline. Shed that extra flab.
- Exercise regularly. Even moderate physical activity such as brisk walking and bicycling or gardening can help control your blood pressure.
- Drink alcohol only occasionally and moderately
- Quit smoking.
- Reduce sodium in your diet. Avoid processed or fried foods. Aim for less than 1,500 mg of sodium a day if you have high blood pressure.
- Boost your potassium intake
How does Potassium Help Reduce Blood Pressure?Potassium is a very important mineral for the proper functioning of all cells of our body. Along with sodium, calcium and magnesium, potassium helps maintain the electrolyte balance of the body. Too much salt or sodium causes water retention in the body. This increases the blood volume and puts pressure on the artery walls resulting in high blood pressure.
Again, low potassium levels and high sodium levels, makes the heart and blood vessels to work harder and therefore increase pressure on the walls. So, keeping the right sodium–potassium balance is important for proper functioning of the body. Increasing the dietary consumption of potassium can help lower blood pressure.
Since our diet is normally high in sodium, it is important that we increase the intake of potassium. And if you have high blood pressure, you need to decrease the intake of sodium and increase the intake of potassium to get better effects.
Fruits that Lower Blood PressureThe National Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet to lower high blood pressure. The DASH diet plan is high in fruits, vegetables, and low fat dairy products. It is also high in potassium, calcium and magnesium which are useful in controlling high blood pressure.
Data from the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) indicated that higher dietary potassium intakes were associated with significantly lower blood pressures. The DASH trial provided further support for the beneficial effects of a potassium-rich diet on blood pressure. According to them, consumption of a diet including 8.5 servings/day of fruits and vegetables and 4,100 mg/day of potassium lowered blood pressure by an average of 2.8 /1.1 mm Hg (systolic BP/diastolic BP) in people with normal blood pressure and by an average of 7.2 /2.8 mm Hg in people with hypertension. Increasing dietary calcium intake by 800 mg/day in the DASH trial lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure still further.
Since fruits contain many essential nutrients, vitamins and anti-oxidants besides potassium, it is one of the best types of food that can help lower your blood pressure. Here are some fruits that are high in potassium content and which help lower blood pressure.
Apricot: Apricot is a very good source of potassium and vitamin A. With 2202 mg (63 percent DV) of potassium in a cup (119 g of cubes) of dehydrated apricot, it is perhaps one of the best foods that have potassium in them. It is very low in sodium content as well as saturated fat and cholesterol.
Avocado: Avocado is rich in assortment of vitamins and high in monounsaturated fat and potassium. It contains a unique fatty alcohol, called avocadene, which has a curative property for a number of ailments including high blood pressure. One cup (150 g of cubes) contains 727 mg of potassium (21 percent of the daily recommended value for potassium) and only 10.5 mg of sodium (zero percent of the daily recommended value [DV]). Avocado is very low in cholesterol and it is a good source of dietary fiber.
Banana: Bananais a versatile fruit – eat a whole banana as a snack or add sliced banana to your morning cereal or make a fruit salad with banana as one of the ingredients. Whatever way you eat it, a medium sized banana will provide 422 mg of potassium and 17 percent of the daily recommended value for vitamin C. With 2.83 g of dietary fiber, this fruit will help you stay full for longer periods of time.
Cantaloupe: Cantaloupe is a fruit that belongs to the melon family. It is an excellent source of vitamin A and vitamin C. A cup of cubed cantaloupe (160 g) contains 494.5 mg of potassium 14.1 percent daily recommended value for potassium. Remember to wash the outside of the cantaloupe before cutting it since bacteria can grow on its surface. Refrigerate if you are not going to consume it immediately.
Oranges and Lemons: Citrus fruits are best known for their high vitamin C content. Oranges are high in nutrition and low in calories. With a potassium content of 326 mg and no sodium, this is one of the best fruits that lower blood pressure. Limes, too, are a good source of potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin A and folate. They contain 2.8 g of dietary fiber.
Grapefruit: This fruit has a distinctive, tangy taste. Select ripe grapefruits for best flavor and quality. The bioflavonoids present in grapefruit and other citrus fruits not only help lower blood pressure but also help lower cholesterol levels. Half a grapefruit (123 g) contains 166 mg of potassium and provides 5 percent of daily recommended value for potassium.
Melons: Melon is a very good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, thiamin and potassium. One cup of frozen melon balls (173 g) 484 mg of potassium and provides 14 percent of daily recommended value for potassium. It is also a good source of magnesium, folate and vitamin B6.
Prune: Prunes are actually the dried version of European plums. They are sweet in taste and have a sticky chewy texture. One cup of pitted prunes (174 g) contains 1274 mg of potassium and almost no sodium. Moreover, prune is a rich source of dietary fiber. A quarter cup of prunes supply 12.1 percent of the daily value for fiber. The soluble fiber promotes a sense of satisfied fullness after a meal as it slows down the digestive process and thus helps with weight loss. So if you have high blood pressure and are overweight too, prunes may be the right fruit for you.
In addition to these fruits, you can also eat raisins, dates, figs and molasses. They too contain a high amount of potassium. According to the NIH, dried fruits normally contain more potassium than fresh versions.
The following chart will help you plan your menu for fruit intake recommended in the DASH diet.
|Food Groups||Servings for a 2000 calorie daily diet||Servings for a 1600 calorie daily diet||Examples of 1 Serving|
|Fruits||4-5 a day||4 a day||Half Cup (4 ounce) 100 percent fruit juice|
|1 medium fruit|
|Half cup fresh, frozen or canned fruit|
|One-fourth cup dried fruit|
Fruits Help you Save CaloriesIf you are obese or overweight and have high blood pressure, substituting some cereals or protein food can help you save calories. For example:
- Eating a medium sized apple instead of four shortbread cookies can save you 80 calories.
- Eating one-fourth cup of dried apricots instead of a 2-ounce bag of pork rinds can save you 230 calories.
|Calories in Fruits per 100 grams|
|Orange Juice (100 ml)||47|
- Potassium leaches out into the water during cooking. So the best way to get potassium is through fruits.
- Keep the fruit out on the counter or in the front of the fridge. That way you’ll be more likely to notice it and eat it.
- Choose color and variety in fruits. Go for yellow, green, orange and red fruits.
- Fruits salads are an interesting way to eat fruits.
- Get some fruits at snack time too.
- Go for variety in fruits. Try some new fruits.
- Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. And fruits are a great source of potassium.
Latest Publications and Research on Fruits to Help Lower Blood PressureFilling America's fiber intake gap: summary of a roundtable to probe realistic solutions with a focus on grain-based foods. - Published by PubMed