When it comes to lowering blood pressure, rightfully, most people think of putting away the salt shaker first. Even though reducing salt can lower blood pressure, especially for salt-sensitive individuals, most people don’t realize that one of the first lines of defense should also be increasing your consumption of fruits and vegetables, which are rich in potassium.
The National Institute of Health studied the effect of sodium (salt) on blood pressure at three different levels in individuals eating either a typical American diet or the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. The results showed that at sodium levels of 3,300 mg., 2,300 mg and 1,500 mg., those who followed the DASH diet had the lowest blood pressure. In fact, the results showed that even adding more fruits and vegetables to the typical American diet reduced blood pressure in study participants.
The hallmark of the DASH eating plan is eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables daily, or about four to five cups. The DASH diet also includes food rich in other minerals important for blood pressure regulation such as low-fat dairy products, nuts and whole grains. For the greatest effect on blood pressure, follow the DASH diet and reduce your sodium consumption. For more information visit www.nih.gov, search keyword DASH.