Here is a new list of recommended foods for America’s 77 million adult hypertensives!

In the latest issue of Food Technology magazine, Contributing Editor Linda Milo Ohr refers to recent statistics that more than 77 million U.S. adults have been diagnosed high blood pressure. While U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend consuming less than 2,300mg per day, the average American consumes about 3,400mg of sodium daily.

Ohr refers to one international perception survey around food and taste involving 5,000 18–45-year-old subjects. The survey showed that people’s perceptions of how much salt they consume daily do not align with actual consumption data. In fact, in some countries people are consuming three times the recommended daily amount.

Another recent study by Illinois-based global food manufacturers Tate & Lyle, indicated that in the U.S., the sodium intake has been increasing by 63 mg per day every two years from 2001 to 2010. The study used data from the What We Eat in America (WWEIA)/National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) to measure overall sodium intake and sources of sodium in diets during those the study period. They found that “the largest contributor of sodium in the diet was grains and grain products (i.e., breads, cereals, and salty snacks), followed by meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, and milk and milk products.”

In her article, Ohr lists six foods that have been shown in studies to have a beneficial effect on lowering blood pressure: grape seed extract, beetroot juice, nuts, dairy foods, raisins and flaxseed.

According to one study, eating 56 g of walnuts a day reduced systolic blood pressure and did not lead to weight gain. In another study 28 subjects with high cholesterol showed reductions in systolic blood pressure after one serving of pistachios a day.

Several studies have shown that a diet with more dairy and nuts and less meat lowers the risk of developing hypertension and is associated with having lower systolic blood pressure.

As far as raisins go, a 12-week study of 46 pre-hypertensive subjects found that those who consumed the dried fruit three times a day, or other snacks equal in calorie value, had “significantly reduced systolic blood pressure”

A study of subjects with narrowed arteries, found that after six months of 30g of milled dietary flaxseed a day, both their systolic and diastolic blood pressure was lower.


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