Having high blood pressure can increase the risk for many things- heart attack, stroke, and vision problems- to name a few. As per the Centers for Disease Control, about half of American adults have high blood pressure, and out of which, only about one in four have their condition under control. While Hypertension is one of the significant causes of death worldwide, it can be averted by bringing specific changes in your life and diet. Initially, you can start by reducing sodium intake, i.e., remove processed foods such as cold cuts, canned foods, and frozen dinners from your life. Then, you can follow the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is precisely planned to help maintain blood pressure by emphasizing eating vegetables, fruits, low-fat dairy, and fiber-rich foods. To simplify, To simplify, we have curated the list of best foods with their unique benefits for you.
11 Best Foods for High Blood Pressure
1. Leafy green vegetables
We suppose moms are indeed onto something when they tell us to eat those veggies! Leafy green vegetables such as kale, microgreens, spinach, collard greens are highly rich in fibers, vitamins, and minerals such as magnesium (promotes healthy blood flow) and potassium (efficient for flushing out extra sodium from the body). These nutrients are considered an essential part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which helps maintain blood pressure levels. Some studies suggest that eating two-three servings of vegetables rich in nitrate each day can lower Hypertension for at least 24 hours. Seems like a good time to start listening to your mom, yeah?
2. BeetRoot Juice
Beets are high in nitrates, which, when digested, convert into nitric oxide, efficiently relaxing and expanding the blood vessels, therefore, responsible for lower blood pressure levels. They also contain several other essential nutrients like iron, calcium, and potassium, suitable for your overall health. You can include beets in your diet through salad, soup, or roasted form, although the researches show beet juice to be more effective. As per a case study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, individuals with high blood pressure who consumed a daily 8-ounce glass of beetroot juice recorded a reasonable decrease in their blood pressure.
Over the years, berries have often been associated with various admirable health benefits, including the potential to lower heart disease factors such as HDL cholesterol and high blood pressure. Blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and other varieties of berries, are rich sources of fibers and antioxidants, including anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid. They increase nitric oxide levels in your blood and lower the production of restricting molecules in the blood vessels- which ultimately help in reducing blood pressure levels. You can easily enjoy them as snacks or add them to your smoothies, yogurt, or oatmeal.
Eating food rich in potassium plays a vital role in lowering blood pressure levels. Banana is considered a great example, as an average medium-size banana contains approximately 422 mg of potassium. They also contain magnesium and fiber, which provide many other health benefits. For effective results, it is recommended that bananas should be consumed daily. Although, people suffering from any kidney disease should first consult their respective doctors about potassium intake, as a little too much can be very harmful.
5. Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3s
Research shows consuming fatty fishes (such as salmon, mackerel, lake trout, sardines, herring, and tuna), which contain high omega-3 content, can help in reducing blood pressure. They help by bringing inflammation down and decreasing the quantity of constricting compounds in the blood vessels known as oxylipins. For better results, individuals suffering from Hypertension should eat two servings of fish every week.
Pomegranates reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, at least short-term. Due to the fruit’s antioxidant content, drinking a cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days has shown remarkable results. You can also enjoy the whole thing as snacks, but most people prefer juice form. However, it is hard to make a fresh batch every day, so you can buy pre-packaged pomegranate juice from your nearby store but not before checking to ensure that the fluid has no added sugar.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is a huge source of potassium and calcium, which are essential as minerals help the blood vessels relax and tighten as necessary. It also acts as an excellent alternative for your daily dairy needs if you are not a fan of milk. As per the report from American Heart Association, women who consume more than 5-servings of yogurt every week show a 20% reduction in their chances of developing high blood pressure. However, the men who participated in the study did not seem to have the same benefits as their yogurt intake tended to be lower than women.
8. Garlic and herbs
Isn’t it hard to believe if there is something that garlic can’t do? This natural antifungal and antibiotic medicine are popularly known for its multiple health benefits. Studies show that garlic raises nitric oxide production in the body, which further assists the smooth muscles to loosen up and dilate the blood vessels. These changes help in reducing diastolic and systolic blood pressure in hypertensive people. Other than garlic, there are many herbs available that have shown potential to lower blood pressure levels, such as celery seed, saffron, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, black cumin, sweet basil, cinnamon, ginseng, and cardamom.
These healthy nuts are highly nutritious, and even one tiny serving of them can considerably help in reducing blood pressure. One research found that the pistachios in an average fat diet may ease up the blood pressure during stressful times due to their effect on heart rate and blood vessel tightening. So maybe it’s time to toss them in your salads or blend them into pestos, but do not forget unsalted nuts are more healthy for you.
If you start the day off with a bowl of your favorite oatmeal, you are on the right path. It is a high-fiber, low-sodium, and low-fat meal that helps maintain your blood pressure at an optimum level. Moreover, oats contain a type of fiber known as beta-glucan, which helps in reducing blood cholesterol levels of one and the other diastolic and systolic blood pressure. The thread also allows you to keep healthy body weight and prevent obesity, a risk element for high blood pressure.
11. Fermented foods
Fermented food is a very good source of probiotics, good bacteria that play a vital role in maintaining a healthy gut. According to an analysis of nine studies printed in Hypertension, the participants who consumed probiotic-rich foods (such as kimchi, kombucha, miso, and tempeh) every day for more than eight weeks showed improvement in their blood pressure levels. But keep in mind that fermented foods usually are heavy on salt, so there might be a chance that eating any of this in excess could backfire spectacularly and raise your blood pressure.
We understand that modifying your lifestyle is hard, and no one blames you for slacking off once in a while, but compromises must be made when it comes to health. It is necessary to adopt a healthy diet that can help you to lower your blood pressure and reduce heart disease risk. To make it easier, you can try experimenting with different ingredients and come up with your recipes, but avoid using excessive salt in anything.