Tasty ways to combat hypertension and reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke
Nearly half of U.S. adults have high blood pressure, according to 2018 data from the American Heart Association, and the number of deaths from high blood pressure increased by almost 38 percent. The good news: in many cases, it can be controlled by dietary changes alone. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet—which avoids salt, alcohol, and caffeine, and emphasizes vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, legumes, nuts, seeds, and whole grains—has been shown to reduce blood pressure in just two weeks. Some foods are especially beneficial, so load your plate with these eight and protect yourself from heart attack and stroke.
1 Beet greens are rich in magnesium, antioxidants, and potassium, a mineral that balances the effects of sodium in the body. A number of studies link dietary potassium with reduced blood pressure, and several meta-analyses show that high potassium intake drops the risk of stroke by about 25 percent. Other high-potassium foods include potatoes, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, spinach, lima beans, zucchini, and tomatoes.
Recipe Tips: Chop beet greens and sauté with leeks, garlic, black olives, and red pepper flakes; toss whole beet greens with diced sweet potatoes, white potatoes, and olive oil, and roast until tender; mix beet greens with steamed green beans, tomatoes, and feta cheese, and drizzle with a garlicky lemon dressing.
2 Pomegranates are high in polyphenols, antioxidants with a beneficial effect on blood pressure and cardiovascular disease. In one study, people who drank a cup or more of pomegranate juice daily showed a decrease in both systolic (the maximum pressure your heart exerts while beating) and diastolic (the amount of pressure in your arteries between beats) numbers.
Recipe Tips: Toss pomegranate seeds with shaved Brussels sprouts, chopped pecans, and a lemon-olive oil dressing; make salsa with pomegranate seeds, chopped grapefruit segments, red onion, serrano peppers, and lime juice; toss grilled shrimp with pomegranate seeds, shaved carrots, and arugula.
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