If you have elevated or high blood pressure, a common condition in menopausal women, you naturally want to reduce your sodium intake. But you also want to make sure that your diet includes enough potassium, which as a natural diuretic, will promote the excretion of water and sodium from your body
If you’ve been diagnosed with hypertension, (half the U.S. population has high blood pressure, according to the Center for Disease Control), The American Heart Association recommends that you consume as much as 4700 mg/day of potassium and not more than 1500 mg/day of sodium to achieve an effective balance. However, sodium intake can be slightly higher — 2300 mg/per day — for those with normal blood pressure.
Here’s a list of 10 best foods to lower blood pressure and that are delicious enough to make a part of your daily diet.
Bananas – I’ll start the list with this deliciously sweet, grab and go kind of food because it’s readily available and I’ve never met a person who didn’t like them. Each medium size fruit has between 350 and 800 mg of potassium per cup depending on size. But it also contains some magnesium, which offers additional health benefits.
Beans- Cooked white beans contain a whopping 1000 mg per cup. But soy, lima, kidney, pinto and garbanzo beans are good choices too, with between 500 and 800 mg/cup. You can easily incorporate them into salads and stews, or add some spice to the garbanzos or soy beans and snack on them.
Leafy Green Vegetables - Beet Greens top the list at 1300 mg/cup, spinach at 800 mg/cup and kale, broccoli, collards, and swiss chard- all at around 500-800 mg per cooked cup are all good foods to eat on a regular basis.
Potatoes- a baked russet potato, including the skin offers 1000 mg of potassium per cup. Sweet potatoes have less, but they’re so nutritious they’re a good choice too.
Dried fruit – Apricots at 1100 mg per cup tops the list of nutritious, potassium-rich dried fruits. Raisins, prunes and peaches are good choices too. Dried fruits have a high sugar content, so go easy on these sweet treats.
Yogurt- One cup of plain, non-fat or skim yogurt offers more than 600 mg of potassium.
Avocados- One half of an average avocado contains nearly 500 mg of potassium. More is better of course, but with more than 300 calories, you want to hold back on this nutritious fruit.
Squash – Baked acorn squash – one of my favorites – tops the list at 900 mg per one cup cubed. Other good bets include Zucchini, and Butternut and Hubbard.
Salmon - One small, 3-oz fillet of Sockeye salmon contains as much as 530 mg of potassium. Consider that most of us eat twice that amount in one sitting. Other fish such as swordfish, haddock, tuna and cod have half as much but are still good choices.
Mushrooms – One cup of white mushrooms offer nearly 400 mg of potassium. Portabella, crimni, shiitake have less, but are good choices too.
By the way, potassium-rich, low-sodium meals don’t have to be bland. Not if you follow the recipes found on the Sodium Girl Blog and her recently published, companion cookbook, Sodium Girl’s Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook.
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