Food: High Blood Pressure’s Worst Enemy?


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About 80 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure (a.k.a. hypertension), and, according to the CDC, more than 360,000 American deaths in 2010 included high blood pressure as a primary or contributing cause. That's 1,000 deaths each day.

The good news is, healthy lifestyle choices go a long way toward helping control high blood pressure and summer foods are a great place to start.

The American Heart Association recommends eating a diet that is low in sodium and high in potassium. They call this the D.A.S.H. (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) eating plan, and encourage foods from the following list:

  • Sweet potatoes
  • Potatoes
  • Greens
  • Spinach
  • Mushrooms
  • Lima beans
  • Peas
  • Bananas
  • Tomatoes, tomato juice and tomato sauce (look for low-sodium versions)
  • Oranges and orange juice
  • Cantaloupe and honeydew melon
  • Grapefruit and grapefruit juice (talk to your healthcare provider if you're taking a cholesterol-lowering drug)
  • Prunes and prune juice
  • Apricots and apricot juice
  • Raisins and dates
  • Fat-free or low-fat (1 percent) milk
  • Fat-free yogurt
  • Halibut
  • Tuna
  • Molasses

In addition to potassium, calcium and magnesium are also key warriors in the battle against hypertension. Here are some great summer foods – most of which are available at your local farmer's market right now – that contain all three:*

  • White Beans: One cup provides 13 percent RDA calcium, 30 percent RDA magnesium and 24 percent RDA potassium.
  • Pork Tenderloin: Three ounces provide six percent RDA magnesium and 15 percent RDA potassium
  • Fat-free plain yogurt: One cup provides 49 percent RDA calcium, 12 percent RDA magnesium and 18 percent RDA potassium.
  • Tilapia: Four ounces provide eight percent RDA magnesium and eight percent RDA potassium.
  • Kiwi: One provides two percent RDA calcium, seven percent RDA magnesium and nine percent RDA potassium.
  • Peaches and Nectarines: A medium piece of either provides one percent RDA calcium, three percent RDA magnesium and eight percent RDA potassium.
  • Kale: One cup, raw or cooked, provides nine percent RDA calcium, six percent RDA magnesium and nine percent RDA potassium.
  • Red bell pepper: One cup of raw red bell pepper provides one percent RDA calcium, four percent RDA magnesium and nine percent RDA potassium.
  • Broccoli: One cup provides six percent RDA calcium, eight percent RDA magnesium and 14 percent RDA potassium.
  • Quinoa: A half-cup, cooked, = one-and-a-half percent RDA of calcium, 15 percent RDA of magnesium and four-and-a-half percent RDA of potassium.
  • Avocado: One-half provides one percent RDA calcium, five percent RDA magnesium and 10 percent RDA potassium.
For some ideas on how to incorporate these heart-healthy summer foods into your diet, check out our delicious recipes like Grilled White Fish in a Foil Pouch, Rosemary-Crusted Pork Tenderloin and Mexican-style Chopped Salad on our Sunday Dinner Pledge website.

For more information about helping older adults and those who care for them maintain a healthy lifestyle, please contact Home Instead Senior Care of Central Oregon at 541-330-6400.

*To make it easier, Prevention.com listed how much of your recommended daily allowance, or RDA, is available in each.


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