High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases your risk for heart disease, kidney disease and stroke. A healthy diet can help you prevent high blood pressure or manage prehypertension or hypertension. Almonds are nutritious and versatile foods that can be regular components of a healthy diet to manage blood pressure.
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Potassium and Almonds
Almonds can be good for your blood pressure because of their potassium. An ounce of almonds contains 208 milligrams of potassium. Potassium is a mineral that can help lower blood pressure, and healthy adults should get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day, according to "Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010." For a high-potassium snack, have sliced almonds in yogurt, or make trail mix with almonds, other nuts, peanuts and dried fruit. For a high-potassium main course, broil halibut with crushed almonds on top.
Weight and Blood Pressure
If you are overweight and have high blood pressure, losing 7 percent to 10 percent of your body weight can help lower your blood pressure, according to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Clearinghouse. Individuals who eat nuts, such as almonds, have a lower risk for weight gain than those who avoid eating nuts, according to a 2007 study published in “Obesity.” Compared to most other types of nuts, almonds are lower in calories and higher in dietary fiber, which is a filling nutrient that can help prevent obesity and also lowers risk for heart disease. Almonds provide 163 calories per ounce, however, and can contribute to weight gain if you consume too many. Consume almonds only in small portions to prevent unintentional weight gain and an increased risk of high blood pressure.
Monounsaturated Fats and Blood Pressure
Dry-roasted almonds provide 9.4 grams of monounsaturated fats and only 1.2 grams of saturated fat per ounce. A diet high in monounsaturated fats may help lower blood pressure when compared to a diet high in saturated fats, according to research published in a 2006 article in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.” Almonds have more monounsaturated fat per ounce than Brazil nuts, cashews, walnuts and pistachios. Monounsaturated fats may also help lower your risk for heart disease because of their effects on improving blood cholesterol levels.
Almonds and Sodium
A low-sodium diet can help prevent or lower high blood pressure, and almonds are naturally sodium-free. Healthy adults should limit daily sodium intake to 2,300 milligrams per day, and individuals with high blood pressure or who are at risk for high blood pressure should have no more than 1,500 milligrams per day. To limit your sodium intake, choose unsalted almond products instead of salted almonds or almond butter. An ounce of dry-roasted salted almonds contains 186 milligrams of sodium.
- Linus Pauling Institute: Nuts
- USDA National Nutrient Database
- American Journal of Clinical Nutrition: Effects of Dietary Saturated, Monounsaturated, and n-3 Fatty Acids on Blood Pressure in Healthy Subjects
- U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services: Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010
- National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Clearinghouse: High Blood Pressure and Kidney Disease
- Obesity: Nut Consumption and Weight Gain in a Mediterranean Cohort: The SUN Study