Blood Pressure, the Mystery Number
June 23, 2015
When it comes to blood pressure, just how low should it go? Despite an exhaustive debate about the topic in ‘The New York Times,’ there seems to be no single answer. Experts are especially interested in the top number, or systolic pressure, which measures the amount of pressure when the heart contracts. Some doctors say the systolic goal number should be 140 or below. Others say 120 should be the target. But this number also shifts with age (150 is suggested for those over 60 while the American Heart Association suggests 140). So how do we make sense of this guessing game? Whatever the target number is, two ways to lower your blood pressure are reducing your sodium intake and adding more potassium to your diet. According to the American Heart Association, too much sodium can create more stress on your heart but potassium-rich foods lessen the effects of sodium on your body. We suggest you try integrating reasonable amounts (4,700 mg a day) of potassium-rich foods such as bananas, sweet potatoes, spinach and fat-free yogurt to your diet. What’s your take on this blood pressure debate? How do you keep yours in check? Tell us in the comments!