16 Non-Drug Ways To Lower Blood Pressure (Continued)
9. Snack on celery. In a 1992 study, according to a New York Times article ("A New Look at an Ancient Remedy: Celery," June 9, 1992), a compound in celery relaxes the smooth muscle lining of blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. The equivalent of four ribs of celery a day (for a human being) was found to lower blood pressure by 12 to 14 percent in animal studies.
10. Go fish. Cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and halibut are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which may help to reduce blood pressure. If you're not a fish eater, try omega-3 enriched eggs, margarine, or peanut butter — or talk to your doctor about taking fish oil capsules.
11. Munch on walnuts. They're rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which may also help lower blood pressure. For the best bang, go for English walnuts —they contain the most ALA. You can also get ALA from flaxseeds and tofu — or flaxseed, walnut, soybean, and canola oils.
12. Spice it up. Cooking with spices not only boosts the flavor of low-sodium fare, certain spices may help lower blood pressure as well. Fennel, oregano, black pepper, basil, and tarragon are all reported to help reduce blood pressure. Now Iranian researchers have found that the bittersweet herb saffron may also lower blood pressure.
13. A clove a day. A review of studies published over the past 50 years found that garlic supplements may be as effective in relieving hypertension as some commonly used blood pressure medications. Australian researchers note that the 600 mg to 900 mg dose of garlic powder used in most studies contains about 3.6 mg to 5.4 mg of allicin, the active ingredient in garlic. One fresh clove contains 5 mg to 9 mg of allicin.
14. Eat your spinach. Folate-rich foods, such as spinach, are associated with a lower risk of hypertension. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found women who consumed at least 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of folate a day through either diet or supplements, had a decreased risk of hypertension compared with those who consumed 200 mcg a day. Other good sources of folate include any dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and asparagus.
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 10/08
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