Just 1 ounce of almonds packs a powerful nutritional punch, providing healthy fat, fiber and essential vitamins and minerals. Yet, almonds have little or no cholesterol, saturated fat or sodium. When they are added to a healthy diet, almonds can even help prevent or reverse hypertension.
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The medical condition referred to as “hypertension” is simply the condition of high blood pressure. A blood pressure reading measures the amount of force that presses against the artery walls during contraction and relaxation of the heart. Although blood pressure varies throughout the day, a blood pressure reading that remains high over an extended length of time is a cause for concern. Increased pressure against the artery walls increases the workload on the heart, which can eventually be quite damaging to the heart and cardiovascular system. If left untreated, hypertension can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke and disorders of the brain and eyes.
Almonds and Hypertension
When added to a healthy diet, almonds can help influence lower blood pressure levels. In fact, almonds are included in the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension -- DASH -- Diet. In the diet, almonds are included in the “nuts, seeds and legumes” group. The diet recommends eating four to five servings of this food group per week. With regard to almonds, one serving of almonds is just one-third cup. The healthy monounsaturated fat in almonds contributes to lower blood cholesterol levels and reduced arterial inflammation, which ultimately helps lower the pressure inside the arteries.
Benefits from Fiber
Other nutrients in almonds benefit those suffering from hypertension. Each ounce of almonds comes packed with fiber -- 3.5 grams per ounce, which is 9 percent of the daily recommended fiber intake for men and 13 percent for women -- which helps reduce your cholesterol levels, ultimately helping to control blood pressure. A high-fiber diet also helps you lose weight, notes Colorado State University, which protects against obesity-related hypertension.
Regularly substituting almonds for an unhealthy snack is an easy way to contribute to healthier blood pressure levels. However, lowering your blood pressure will likely require much more effort than simply eating almonds. Along with almonds, enjoy a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits and low-fat dairy products. You’ll also want to lose any excess weight, especially those pesky pounds that sit around your middle. Limit alcohol to just one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. If possible, avoid caffeine and tobacco products. Exercising at least 30 to 60 minutes most days of the week can also help you lower blood pressure levels.