High blood pressure is often called "the silent killer" for good reason: It can have no signs or symptoms, so many people don't even know they have it. If left untreated, it can lead to stroke, heart attack or kidney failure.
Luckily, high blood pressure can be both preventable and reversible, and diet can play a big role.
A recent Next Avenue article ("Fiftysomething Diet: 5 Foods That Will Bring Your Blood Pressure Down, June 2014) lists foods that can actually help lower your blood pressure. Here are a few examples:
Bananas. Bananas are not only fiber-rich, but each banana contains at least 450 milligrams of potassium, which naturally lowers blood pressure.
Avocado. Avocadoes contain a whopping 975 milligrams of potassium each. They are also full of monounsaturated fats and other vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals (chemical compounds that occur naturally in fruits and vegetables and help protect against heart disease). Try spreading creamy avocado on a sandwich in place of mayo or butter for an easy way to incorporate it into your diet. And who doesn't love guacamole? (Just make sure that whatever you dip in it is low in salt.)
Yogurt. Consuming 1000 to 1500 milligrams of calcium per day (from food, rather than supplements) can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. The easiest way to ingest that amount of calcium is by eating at least two cups of plain, nonfat yogurt. Add fresh fruit to your yogurt for breakfast, mix yogurt into dips or use it in place of water when baking. Yogurt has the added benefit of keeping your digestive system healthy with probiotic bacteria.
What are your healthy eating habits? Share with us!