A handful of raisins washed down with a glass of soymilk can help keep your blood pressure under control. Two recent studies show that simple dietary changes such as these can still have significant effects on your health. In the first study, researchers found that people who ate a handful of raisins three times a day saw a drop in their blood pressure. No similar effect happened with people who snacked on cookies or crackers. The effect, which occurred after several weeks, may be due to the high potassium content of raisins. Potassium has been shown previously to lower blood pressure. Researchers suspect that the dietary fiber in the raisins may have also played a part by reducing the stiffness of the arteries. The second study found that people who ate small amounts of soy products also had a decrease in their blood pressure. The isoflavones in soy products—such as tofu and soy milk—are known to boost enzymes in the body that cause the arteries to widen, leading to lower blood pressure. A single glass of soymilk contains ten times as many isoflavones as the amount studied, so it’s easy to add this to your diet. Prevention, though, is just as important in dealing with high blood pressure, which is a risk factor for heart disease. So why wait to swap out a few of your usual snacks for raisins or soy?
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