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How does nutrition affect blood pressure?

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Quick Answer

Getting enough magnesium, potassium and fiber through a healthy diet helps to control blood pressure, according to WebMD. Excess sodium raises blood pressure levels, and people should strive for less than 2,300 milligrams per day.

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Full Answer

Nuts, seeds poultry, lean meats and legumes are good sources of magnesium, states WebMD. Selecting a variety of whole fruits, such as apples, bananas, grapes, melons and strawberries, as well as vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, potatoes, squash and spinach, provides the essential nutrients required to manage blood pressure levels. Fruit juice is not as nutrient-rich as whole fruits, as the fiber has been removed through the juicing process.

An eating plan known as Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH, helps people manage blood pressure more effectively than the standard American diet, notes WebMD. The DASH diet emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, legumes and low-fat dairy products, while significantly reducing salt, sugar, red meat, fats and processed meats.

The DASH diet recommendations include seven to eight daily servings of grains, four to five servings each of vegetables and fruit, two to three of dairy and two or fewer servings of lean meat, poultry or fish, according to WebMD. Additionally, people should eat four to five servings per week of nuts, legumes and seeds, two to three daily servings of fats and less than five servings of sweets per week.

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