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Dietary Fiber Lowers Blood Pressure
You've heard it before, and you'll hear it again. What you eat can affect your blood pressure. Now there's an additional study to support this claim. Researchers at Tulane University analyzed data on almost 1,500 adults in more than two dozen studies and found that eating between about seven grams to 19 grams if fiber a day led to a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure (the top and bottom figures, respectively, in a blood pressure reading).
''We performed a comprehensive analysis of data from 25 clinical trials and all the data pointed to one strong conclusion-adding fiber to a person's diet has a health effect on their blood pressured lead author and medical student Seamus Shelton said in a prepared statement.
Actually, nutritional guidelines recommend more fiber than what was indicated in the Tulane University study. The recommended is 20 grams to 35 grams of fiber a day.
Keep track of how much fiber you eat. Start by reading food labels. Then eat a variety of foods high in fiber, such as:
* Whole-grain breads and cereals. Six servings a day give you about 12 grams of fiber. Include wheat and oat bran cereals, whole-wheat muffins or toast, and corn tortillas in your meals.
*Fruits. Two servings a day give you at least four grams of fiber. Apples, oranges, strawberries, pears and bananas are good sources. (Note: fruit juice is bow in fibers)
* Vegetables. Three servings a day give you at least six grams cf fiber. Add asparagus, carrots, broccoli peas and corn to your meals.
* Legumes. One serving a day in place of meat gives you at least four grams of fiber. Try navy beans, lentils and chickpeas.
* Seeds. A small handful of seeds gives you about three grams of fiber. Try sun- flower seeds.
Foods That Are Naturally Low Fat
Some foods other than those labeled ''fat free'' are naturally low fat, and can even be more satisfying than low-fat offerings. Moses Taylor Hospital lists these low-fat treats:
* Pretzels: one ounce has only one-tenth of the fat as an ounce of potato chips.
* Buttermilk: one cup of buttermilk has slightly less fat than a cup of 1 percent- fat milk.
* Pancakes: a pancake has about the same amount of calories as a slice of bread. It's what you top it with that makes a difference. Try low-fat yogurt or jam.
* Bagels: there is one gram of fat per bagel , which contains the same calories as two slices of bread.
*Potatoes: a medium-sized sweet or white potato has about 30 calories and a tenth of a gram of fat.
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