What Carbs Should I be Eating for Better Blood Pressure?

Including certain healthy carbs can help boost the nutrients in your diet and help you maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Approximately 1 in every 3 U.S. adults has high blood pressure, putting them at an increased risk of stroke, heart attack and other undesired outcomes. When a person is diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first diet tip that is typically given is to limit the consumption of dietary sodium. And while keeping the saltshaker-shaking to a minimum is probably a good idea, there are many other factors that play into supporting healthy blood pressure levels.

Most notably, following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, diet, has been shown to lower blood pressure significantly. The DASH diet emphasizes foods like whole grains, vegetables, fruits, nonfat or low-fat milk and dairy foods, lean meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, legumes and healthy fats. Sodium intake should be limited to 2,300 milligrams per day, and consuming foods that contain the minerals calcium, magnesium and potassium is encouraged.

If you are a carb lover and have high blood pressure, the good news is that the DASH diet includes several carb-rich foods, so you don’t have to eschew your favorite macro when trying to manage your health. Instead of going carb-free, opting for plant-based carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains may help lower blood pressure in a natural way. Conversely, too many added sugars from foods like sugar-sweetened beverages are associated with higher blood pressure levels and higher hypertension risk.

Excerpted from Eating Well

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