Can whole-grain foods lower blood pressure?
It might. Eating more whole-grain foods on a regular basis might help reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension).
Whole grains are grains that include the entire grain kernel — they haven't had their bran and germ removed by refining. Whole-grain foods are a rich source of healthy nutrients, including fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron and selenium.
Eating more whole-grain foods offers many health benefits, which may include:
- Helping manage weight, since whole-grain foods can make you feel full longer
- Increasing potassium level, which is linked to lower blood pressure
- Decreasing the risk of insulin resistance
- Reducing damage to blood vessels
These heart-healthy benefits can work together to help reduce the risk of high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, eating more whole-grain foods might help lower your blood pressure.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet and the Mediterranean diet both recommend including whole grains as part of a healthy diet.
According to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, adults should eat about 3 ounces of whole grains a day, or the equivalent of three slices of whole-wheat bread.
One ounce of grains approximately equals:
- 1/2 cup cooked rice or pasta
- 1 medium slice of bread, tortilla, or flatbread
- 1 cup of flaked whole-grain cereal
The guidelines also recommend that at least half of all grains you eat are 100% whole grain.
Examples of whole-grain foods include:
- Barley (not pearled)
- Dark rye bread
- Whole-grain cereals and crackers
- Whole-grain cornmeal
- Whole-wheat bread
- Wild rice
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