Two out of three Americans over age 60 have hypertension, which puts them at risk for health problems like heart attack and stroke. Always check with your doctor first, then consider trying these foods to naturally reduce blood pressure.

Walnuts – Research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition now suggests walnuts, long touted as healthy, may lower blood pressure. When adults ate about 1/2 cup of walnuts daily for 4 months, they had better blood flow, lower blood pressure and smaller waists. Plus, they didn’t gain weight even though they added over 350 calories of walnuts daily. Walnuts deliver healthy fats, magnesium, and fiber, which may be the reason they’re good for BP.

Flaxseed – Eating 3 tablespoons of these nutty seeds daily for 6 months helped people with hypertension lower their blood pressure by an average of 10%, says a study published in the journal Hypertension. Researchers believe the anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3 fats in combination with legions (a phytoestrogen) and fiber may be the reason flax is good for blood pressure. Try sprinkling ground flaxseeds into your yogurt or smoothie.

Beets – When people with high blood pressure drank 8 ounces of beet juice, their blood pressure dipped an average of 10 points for up to 24 hours afterwards notes a study published in the journal Hypertension. Research suggests that eating nitrate-rich foods like beets and green leafy vegetables could help people with hypertension by widening blood vessels and aiding blood flow.

eatingwell.com  July/August 2014

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