Whenever you see an article about “power foods” that make you healthier or treat a variety of health conditions, you probably think of the usual suspects, like kale, broccoli and blueberries. But you might be surprised at some of the foods that can help naturally you lower your blood pressure, because the key to this particular ailment lies in foods rich in three minerals: potassium, magnesium and calcium, according to Prevention. Yes, kale and broccoli do you make the list here, but check out some others.
Please note: The information below includes suggestions that may help lower your blood pressure naturally, but always consult your physician before changing or stopping medications.
Here’s a food that rarely makes the healthy food lists, as many natural health sites tend to discourage a lot of meat consumption in favor of fruits, veggies, and healthy grains. But pork tenderloin is a lean protein that provides 6 percent of your daily magnesium requirements, and 15 percent of your potassium in just a small, three ounce serving. It’s good for your blood pressure, and you won’t feel like you’ve been reduced to eating “rabbit food.” (That’s to say, you guys can still feel manly and not feel like you’re eating “chick food.”) As a bonus, you can cook larger portions in one sitting and save leftovers to make some convenient and healthy lunches and dinners without a big hassle.
Another meaty protein choice is tilapia for a main entree. While many people tend to flock to salmon or tuna for their fish choices, tilapia serves up 8 percent of your daily needs for both magnesium and potassium in just a four ounce filet. Not only is it easier on you your wallet then more high-end options such as salmon, tilapia tends to be very low in environmental toxins like mercury and PCBs. And like most fish options, tilapia cooks up quickly, whether you fry it, bake it, or steam it.
White (Cannellini) Beans
One of the biggest power players for lowering blood pressure at the grocery store is white beans. Yeah, I know you’re crinkling up your nose up at the suggestion of beans, but this is a great source of nutrition once you figure out some tasty recipes. One cup packs a serious nutritional punch, delivering 30 percent of your magnesium, 24 percent of your potassium, and 13 percent of your calcium for the day. Whoa — those are some pretty substantial numbers for the holy trinity of blood pressure minerals.
Just remember that while you’re getting all those great minerals in your diet with this food, choose no salt or low-sodium options that won’t increase your sodium intake to levels that ruin all those great benefits. White beans can be added to soups and other side dishes, and make a great protein source for vegetarians.
One cup of plain yogurt can deliver up to 49 percent of your daily calcium needs, plus 18 percent of potassium and 12 percent of magnesium. Throw in some fresh fruit or berries and you’ll have some healthy anti-oxidant action going on, as well. That makes an easy, healthy snack or breakfast, without even turning on your oven.
There are several fresh fruits recommended to boost you magnesium, potassium and calcium, including kiwi, peaches, nectarines, and bananas. Most run in the single digits on their percentages of those key minerals, except bananas, whose potassium usually satisfies about 12 percent of your daily needs.
While many consider them a veggie because they are savory, avocados fall under the fruit category, and deliver not only those three power minerals, but loads of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. While individual results may vary, I can assure you that at least one person on this planet significantly lowered her cholesterol by about 30 points after discovering the wonders of avocados. Just saying.
Now, you know we can’t go through any lists of healthy foods without throwing kale and broccoli into the mix somewhere, right? Yes, one cup of kale serves up 9 percent of your daily calcium and potassium needs, as well as 6 percent magnesium. Broccoli provides 6 percent of calcium, 8 percent of your magnesium, and a very generous 14 percent of potassium. While most people think of bananas as a quick snack to boost their potassium, note that broccoli is actually a better source. Of course, broccoli is not quite as good in smoothies as bananas are, but it’s worth noting that trying to work a little more broccoli into your diet never hurts.
Red bell peppers also serve up 9 percent of your daily potassium needs, plus a little bit of calcium and magnesium, although in fairly small amounts. Add a whopping 15 percent of your potassium needs to your diet with a medium sweet potato (skin on) plus 8 percent of your magnesium and 4 percent of your recommended calcium intake. Remember, you don’t have to load them down with brown sugar for a slightly sweet side dish. All they need is a little butter to be delicious and nutritious.
You gotta have some grains in the mix for balance, and quinoa packs a huge 15 percent of your daily magnesium needs. There’s a little calcium and potassium in there as well, but good sources of magnesium can be a little hard to find. It’s also gluten-free and a lot quicker to cook than brown rice.
Coconut water is all the rage right now, according to Everyday Roots, and with good reason. This natural drink acts as Mother Nature’s version of Gatorade, replenishing many electrolytes, including potassium and magnesium. Of course, it also comes with a little sodium, so be sure to read the labels on any brand you try. It’s a great way to hydrate and get your electrolytes without a ton of refined sugar.
While certain foods won’t allow you to throw out your blood pressure medications, at least not yet, incorporating them into your diet can help make gradual changes that may result in reductions or elimination of some medications in the future. Directed by your physician, naturally.
[Image via Thinkstock]