These Foods Reduce High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure or hypertension has long been the bane of the health world. According to the CDC, close to 75 million Americans have hypertension. This increased pressure affects the artery walls and over time, can permanently damage blood vessels.
Reduce High Blood Pressure
Hypertension is known as the silent killer mainly because it has no real observable symptoms and can go unnoticed for years. It is usually detected only when more serious symptoms begin to surface. It is scary to think that you may not know you have high blood pressure until you are diagnosed with heart disease, kidney disease or stroke…
The culprit was hypertension and you didn’t even know it was there.
Knowing this may help shed a little light on why doctors across the country check blood pressure as part of every visit, even when it’s not a chief complaint. Hypertension can cause serious health problems if left uncorrected and what may seem minor at first, can spiral out of control into complications that can ultimately lead to death.
The major culprit is sodium, which we get from our diets but, it is not as simple as just removing salt from the diet. You want to watch sodium intake but also be sure to pay attention to which foods lower blood pressure.
What are some of the foods that help reduce high blood pressure?
Blood pressure is affected by gender, genetics, weight, age, family history, and race, which you cannot control. What you can control is the food you eat and that can have just as much impact on blood pressure as the other factors. A diet low in sodium is one thing, but you also want to include beneficial foods that control blood pressure, such as foods containing potassium, magnesium, and fiber.
As the number one source of potassium in most diets, bananas provide more of this nutrient than any supplement and the natural version is always more beneficial for your body. Higher levels of potassium will help keep blood pressure within healthy ranges, so slice one up on your cereal or eat one as a daily afternoon snack.
Berries, particularly blueberries, contain flavonoids, which have been proven in numerous studies to lower blood pressure and prevent hypertension. It is easy to add berries to your diet as they can go into any salad, be added to cereal or thrown into a smoothie of your choice.
3. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate has been celebrated before regarding its benefits to health. With significantly less sugar than milk chocolate, it is a preferred sweet treat for the health conscious. In addition to lower sugar content, dark chocolate contains antioxidants, which help to lower your risk of cardiovascular disease. One hundred grams a day with some yogurt or eaten with fruit will keep your blood pressure down and heart disease at bay.
Nitric oxide is responsible for promoting vasodilation (widening of the arteries), which therefore promotes optimal blood flow. Garlic is a number one source for these valuable nitrates and can be easily incorporated into any meal. You get great flavor and optimal blood pressure, it’s a win-win.
5. Leafy Greens
Since potassium helps to remove sodium from your blood, it makes a good ally for lowering blood pressure. It is always better to use fresh greens because canned goods generally contain too much sodium.
Frozen vegetables contain just as many nutrients as their fresh counterparts, so don’t feel guilty filling up your freezer. The best leafy greens to add to your diet include: kale, romaine lettuce, spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, and Swiss chard.
Known for being the heart healthy food, oatmeal is the perfect way to start your day. High in fiber, and low in sugar and sodium, you get fuel for the day and a dose of everything your heart needs to stay healthy.
7. Olive Oil
This healthy fat is one you want to use instead of the more saturated, unhealthy fats like vegetable or palm oil. A certain amount of fat in our diet is important, plus olive oil contains polyphenols, which fights inflammation and lowers blood pressure.
As a healthier alternative to butters and most salad dressings, add olive oil to your diet to help fight hypertension and other inflammation-related diseases.
These green gems decrease blood pressure by reducing peripheral vascular resistance and the tightening of blood vessels as well as lowering elevated heart rates. Pistachios are easily added to your diet by way of salads, sauces or just as a snack.
9. Red Beets
Beets are not everyone’s favorites but they should be. High in nitric oxide, beets are ideal for opening up blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. You can juice the beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. They are great when roasted and added to a nice meal or when made into chips for snacking.
Exposure to the nitrates in beets has been shown to lower blood pressure within 24 hours so if you are at high risk for hypertension, you need to consider having beets on hand.
When it comes to fatty fish such as salmon and mackerel, it is the omega-3 fatty acids that are important. Fatty fish provides more of these compounds and is the ideal candidate for fighting inflammation and lowering blood pressure. Trout is an additional choice that helps lower blood pressure because of the unexpected levels of vitamin D it contains.
Make sure you grab the unsalted ones; otherwise, you will undo all the goodness of the seeds. Seeds contain high levels of potassium, magnesium, and other beneficial nutrients that fight hypertension. Pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds or even squash seeds make a great heart healthy snack each day.
12. Skim Milk and Yogurt
Whether you prefer milk or yogurt is up to you. It is the calcium and low fat attributes that are important to blood pressure. The American Heart Association reported that women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week have a 20% reduction in their risk for developing hypertension. By mixing yogurt with berries you get a nice healthy dessert and your blood pressure will thank you.
So what is good for low blood pressure?
Having the right diet is a good start. Additionally, there are some lifestyle changes you may want to consider.
- Quit smoking
- Limit your alcohol intake
- Manage stress
- Enjoy physical activity regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
The bottom line is that your blood pressure is more than just a number. It is an important indicator of your overall health.
In fact, high blood pressure could be the first sign of a more serious complication, so make sure you pay attention.
If high blood pressure runs in your family, be sure to take extra measures and consume blood pressure friendly foods. Remember, that in the case of these numbers, bigger is not always better. Now it’s time to start putting these foods in your diet to reduce high blood pressure.