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Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

According to the Heart and Stroke Foundation, high blood pressure is the number one risk factor for stroke and a major risk factor for heart disease. That's why dietitian Sue Mah is passionate about helping reduce our risk of high blood pressure, pointing out how certain foods can help keep it in check.

Potassium is an important mineral. We know that a healthy diet containing foods that are high in potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure.

Vegetables and fruit are the best sources of potassium, and they're filled with fiber, antioxidants and other vitamins and minerals. So really load up on these foods.

Aim to eat seven to 10 servings every day.

Keep in mind that potassium can be easily lost in the cooking water, so it's best to steam, bake, roast or microwave these foods.

Eating too much salt and sodium can raise your blood pressure. Some people are more sensitive to salt than others. Cutting back on the amount of sodium and salt we eat is good for everyone because almost all of us, even our kids, are eating way too much sodium.

Experiment with different ingredients - flavoured vinegars, garlic, onions, garlic powder, onion powder and even some grated cheese like Parmesan or Romano to flavor to your food.

Studies show that getting enough milk products as part of a healthy diet and physical activity can have a significant impact on the prevention and management of hypertension/high blood pressure.

We're not exactly sure how milk products have this benefit on blood pressure, but it probably involves the many nutrients found in milk such as calcium, vitamin D, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus.

All nuts are good because they contain healthy fats and no cholesterol. They're a good substitute for meat and also contain important nutrients like potassium, magnesium and selenium. Just remember that a serving size is 1/4 cup or 60 mL which is about a small handful. Go for plain or unsalted nuts.

Most of us are only getting about half the fiber we need every day. Getting enough fiber helps us feel full which might help prevent overeating. The more we weigh, the more pressure it puts on our blood vessels to get the blood pumping, and this may raise our blood pressure.

One way to get enough fiber is to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables instead of drinking the juice. And guess what - 5 cups of apple juice adds up to about 600 calories whereas one apple is only about 70 calories. Keep the skins on fruit and veggies too for extra fiber.

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