16 Non-Drug Ways To Lower Blood Pressure (Continued)
4. Pile on potassium. The USDA Dietary Reference Intakes recommend that adults consume at least 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium a day and no more than 2,300 mg of sodium. (However, most Americans do the reverse — we consume twice as much sodium as potassium.) A review of studies published in the July 2008 issue of Journal of Clinical Hypertension found that eating foods rich in potassium may help lower blood pressure. Good, low-glycemic sources of potassium include soybeans, canned beans, tomato sauce and paste, beet greens, spinach, halibut, lima beans, and lentils.
5. Get enough magnesium. Eating foods rich in magnesium may also benefit blood pressure control. A recent review of studies found an inverse relationship between dietary magnesium and blood pressure. Furthermore, research links magnesium intake to a reduced risk of stroke and preeclampsia (pregnancy-induced hypertension). Good sources of magnesium include bran cereal, brown rice, almonds, hazelnuts, lima beans, spinach, and milk.
6. Don't forget milk. Calcium-rich foods like milk have also been shown to reduce blood pressure. The USDA recommends 1,000 mg to 1,200 mg of calcium a day, the amount found in two to three 8-ounce glasses of milk. Other good sources of calcium include yogurt, cheese, tofu, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, spinach, and kale.
7. Have a potato. Ok, maybe just a small one. They're not only rich in potassium, they contain a blood-pressure lowering compound called kukoamines, a substance previously only known to be found in Chinese herbal medicine. If potatoes are too carb-heavy for your meal plan, try tomatoes instead. They contain kukoamines, too, but in lower concentrations.
8. Sweeten with stevia. A one-year, double-blind study found this sweet herb may lower blood pressure. It has no calories or carbohydrates and shouldn't impact your blood sugar. While many people like its sweet taste, others find it bitter, especially in large doses. Try the different kinds. You may be able to sample stevia at your local natural foods store to see if you like it.
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 10/08
- American Academy of Family Physicians. High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do To Lower Yours. (Accessed July 28, 2008)
- American Diabetes Association. Treating High Blood Pressure in People With Diabetes. (Accessed July 29, 2008)
- American Heart Association. Blood Pressure. (Accessed July 23, 2009)
- American Heart Association. Your High Blood Pressure Questions Answered: Blood Pressure and Exercise. (Accessed August 1, 2008)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010, press release: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101001.html?s_cid=mediarel_r101001 (Accessed January 24, 2011).
- Chan, P., B. Tomlinson, Y.J. Chen, J.C. Liu, M.H. Hsieh, and J.T. Cheng. 2000. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness and tolerability of oral stevioside in human hypertension. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 50:215-220
- Duke, James A. 1997. The Green Pharmacy: The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press.
- Fatehi, M., T. Rashidabady, and Z.F. Hassanabad. 2007. Effects of petals extracts of saffron on rat blood pressure and on responses induced by electrical field stimulation in the rat isolated vas deferens and guinea-pig ileum. Acta Horticulturae. 739:347-350
- Ferrari, Antonella, Giuseppina Costanzo, Annamaria Vetere, Ignazio Simonetti, Gian F. Gensini, and Pietro A. Modesti. Daily Sessions of Music Listening in Mild Hypertension Can Reduce 24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure after One Month. Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting for the American Society of Hypertension, May 14-17, 2008 in New Orleans, La.
- Forman, J.P., E.B. Rimm, M.J. Stampfer, and G.C. Curhan. 2005. Folate intake and the risk of incident hypertension among US women. Journal of the American Medical Association. 293(3):320-9.
- Hawkley, L.C., C.M. Masi, J.D. Berry, and J.T. Cacioppo. 2006. Loneliness is a unique predictor of age-related differences in systolic blood pressure. Psychology and Aging. 21(1):152-64.
- Houston, Mark C. and Karen J. Harper. 2008. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium: Their role in both the cause and treatment of hypertension. Journal of Clinical Hypertension (Greenwich) 10(7 suppl 2): 2–11.
- Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: Electrolytes and Water. http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/20/004/0.pdf (accessed August 4, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Calcium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/calcium/ (accessed August 12, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Essential Fatty Acids. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/ (accessed August 4, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Magnesium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/magnesium/ (accessed August 12, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Potassium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/potassium/ (accessed August 4, 2008)
- Medline Plus, Herbs and Supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid. (accessed August 4, 2008)
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Your Guide To Lowering High Blood Pressure. (Accessed July 23, 2008)
- Norat, Teresa, Richard Bowman, Robert Luben, Ailsa Welch, Kay Tee Khaw, Nick Wareham, and Sheila Bingham. 2008. Blood pressure and interactions between the angiotensin polymorphism AGT M235T and sodium intake: a cross-sectional population study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 88:392-397.
- Parr, A., F. Mellon, I. Colquhoun, and H. Davies. 2005. Dihydrocaffeoyl polymines (kukoamine and aillies) in potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers detected during metabolite profiling. Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry. 53(13):5461-5466.
- Pescatello, Linda S. Exercise and hypertension: Recent advances in exercise prescription. 2005. Current Hypertension Reports 7:281-286.
- Rainforth, Maxwell V., Robert H. Schneider, Sanford I. Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, John W. Salerno and James W. Anderson. 2007. Stress reduction programs in patients with elevated blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Current Hypertension Reports 9:520-528.
- Reid, K., O.R. Frank, N.P. Stocks, P. Fakler, and T. Sullivan. 2008. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 8:13.
- Taubert, D., R. Roesen, C. Lehmann, N. Jung, and E. Schomig. 2007. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 298(1):49-60.
- Webb, A.J., N. Patel, S. Loukogeorgakis, M. Okorie, Z. Aboud, S. Misra, R. Rashid, P. Miall, J. Deanfield, N. Benjamin, R. MacAllister, A.J. Hobbs, and A. Ahluwalia. 2008. Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite. Journal of Hypertension. 51(3):784-90.
- Whitaker, Julian M. 2001. Reversing Hypertension: A Vital New Program to Prevent, Treat, and Reduce High Blood Pressure. New York: Grand Central Publishing.
- Xin, X., J. He, M.G. Frontini, L.G. Ogden, O.I. Motsamai, and P.K. Whelton. 2001. Effects of alcohol reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Hypertension. 38(5):1112-7.
Sliced Mushroom Pinwheels Carrots Simmered in Moroccan Spices Tomato and Corn Polenta Black-Eyed Pea and Rice Blueberry Vinegar Herbed Bread Stuffed Tomatoes Refreshing Cauliflower Salad Cajun Garlic Pork Roast Lemon Stir Fry Chicken Grilled Tangerine-Herbed Chicken
Many people say that depression is a side effect or complication of diabetes. Without discounting the association of the psychological condition with the physical one, I'm not convinced that our high and/or unstable glucose levels are directly responsible for that change in our mental state. My belief is that the unrelenting need for self-care, for following the sort of care schedules that can drive licensed, professional caregivers crazy, is what overwhelms us...