The Popular Dried Fruit That Can Help Lower High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure can creep up on you unnoticed. While your blood pressure will rise and fall throughout the day, a consistently high blood pressure reading often doesn't have symptoms until it becomes a health problem such as stroke, aneurysm, heart attack, or vascular dementia. Because one-third of people with high blood pressure aren't aware of their condition, the National Institutes of Health stresses the importance of getting your blood pressure checked at least once a year.

A high blood pressure diagnosis doesn't necessarily mean you'll need to be on medication. You and your healthcare provider can take a close look at your cardiovascular risk factors and create a plan to manage your blood pressure. This might include exercising, limiting alcohol, quitting smoking, and ensuring a good night's sleep. You'll also need to make heart-healthy changes to your diet, such as reducing high-sodium foods while adding foods high in potassium. You can start reducing your high blood pressure by snacking on one food that's probably already in your cupboard: raisins.

Raisins are high in potassium

Most Americans don't get the recommended 3,400 milligrams of potassium a day for men and 2,600 for women. A small box of raisins provides 320 milligrams of potassium, which is just shy of 10% of the daily value for men and 12% for women. What's more, you'll only find 11.2 milligrams of sodium in your box of nature's candy. The average American eats more sodium than the recommended 2,300 milligrams a day. Too much sodium draws water into your bloodstream, which puts pressure on your blood vessels. 

Potassium helps to keep your fluid levels in balance and pulls the excess sodium out of your body. Keeping a low ratio of sodium to potassium is important for controlling high blood pressure. A 2022 study in the European Heart Journal found that people who had more potassium in their diets had lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly among women.

Other potassium-rich foods

If you're not big into raisins, there are plenty of potassium-rich foods to control your blood pressure. You might already know that bananas are a good source of potassium, but a large banana offers less potassium than that small box of raisins with just 243 milligrams of potassium. Do you like passion fruit? Just half a cup of passion fruit packs 411 milligrams of potassium with 114 calories. A cup of kiwifruit has just 110 calories and gives you a whopping 562 milligrams of potassium. People who are looking to limit sugar can turn to a half cup of avocado, which offers 354 milligrams of potassium.

Don't eat fruit? Vegetables, beans, and dairy are also good sources of potassium. A medium red potato or a cup of cooked yams both provide more than 900 milligrams of potassium. A cup of cooked black beans comes in at 305 milligrams of potassium. You can also turn to a cup of nonfat yogurt for 628 milligrams of potassium.