If you are wondering if the foods you eat play any role in keeping your blood pressure in check, the answer is yes. Adding foods that lower blood pressure can reduce or even eliminate the need for medication to control blood pressure.
High blood pressure is also known as hypertension. It is often called a silent killer since it normally has no warning signs but can potentially cause heart attack and stroke.
According to the Mayo Clinic, blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). When the reading is 130/80 mm Hg or higher, it is known as high blood pressure.
The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association have categorized blood pressure into four groups:
Blood pressure exceeding 180/120 mm Hg is considered a hypertensive emergency or crisis. In such cases, it is important to seek immediate medical help.
High bp makes the heart work harder and damages the blood vessels by narrowing them. This narrowness makes the vessels stiff and weak. Over time, it can harm several important organs, including your heart, kidneys, brain, and eyes.
A diet rich in plant-based foods, low-fat dairy products, whole grains, and sodium intake within normal limits can effectively prevent and manage raised blood pressure. Here are seven foods that lower blood pressure.
Dark green leafy vegetables are incredibly nutritious and have a rich history in American cuisine. Leafy vegetables are rich in potassium, which relaxes the walls of blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and reduces muscle cramping. A study by the National Library of Medicine suggests a link between low potassium intake, high blood pressure, and the risk of stroke.
These vegetables also contain vitamins A, C, E, and K, fiber, iron, and other important minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients help protect against cancer and lower the risk of heart disease.
Popular types include collard greens, spinach, and kale. You can enjoy them in salads, wraps, soups, stir-fries, or steamed dishes. Adding green leafy vegetables to your diet is an excellent way to stay healthy.
Berries such as strawberries and blueberries are rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. Research has linked the consumption of anthocyanins, an antioxidant compound, with reduced blood pressure in people with hypertension.
Similarly, polyphenols help decrease inflammation and stimulate nitric oxide production, which signals the arteries to expand and increase blood flow.
Adding a clove or two of garlic not only makes your meal flavorful but also helps your heart. Garlic is an herb like onions, leeks, and chives and produces a chemical called allicin. This makes garlic smell and acts as a blood thinner.
Recent research by the National Institute of Health shows that allicin can prevent angiotensin production, a hormone responsible for spiking blood pressure. It is also used for the common cold, osteoarthritis, and many other conditions.
Fish and fish oil contain ample amounts of Omega-3 fatty acids. Fish oil contains DHA and EPA, essential nutrients that help lower blood pressure and prevent or manage heart disease. Some of the other benefits of Omega-3 include -
According to the American Heart Association, consuming fish, especially cold-water fatty fish, at least twice a week can help you stay heart-healthy. Some fishes, like salmon, mackerel, herring, sardines, lake trout, and tuna, are richer in omega-3 fatty acids than others.
Nuts and seeds can be beneficial for managing high blood pressure. These are packed with nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which are known to help lower blood pressure.
Pistachios, almonds, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds are good sources of potassium and reverse sodium's effects, which relaxes the blood vessel walls and lowers blood pressure.
Similarly, cashews, flaxseeds, and chia seeds contain magnesium. Many studies, including a study conducted by NIH, connect magnesium with lowered blood pressure levels.
When eating nuts, seeds, and other calorie-dense foods that lower blood pressure, it is important to keep portion size in mind. A handful of nuts or a tablespoon of seeds a day is ideal.
Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt contain important nutrients such as protein, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus. These nutrients may help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of hypertension.
Recent National Center for Biotechnology Information studies have shown that consuming more low-fat dairy products is linked to a reduced risk of chronic kidney disease and a slower decline in kidney function. However, we still need more research to understand the relationship between kidney function and the effects of dairy on blood pressure.
Consuming more whole-grain foods regularly may help reduce the chances of high blood pressure. Whole grains are rich in nutrients like fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and selenium.
The health benefits of adding whole-grain foods that lower blood pressure include -
These heart-healthy benefits work together to lower the risk of high blood pressure. If you already have high blood pressure, consuming more whole-grain foods might help reduce it.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, adults should consume around 3 ounces of whole grains daily, equivalent to three slices of whole-wheat bread.
Managing high blood pressure is a step in the right direction. Lifestyle changes and including foods that lower blood pressure in your diet can help keep your health in check. If your normal diet lacks these nutrients, you can also opt for food supplements and tablets to lower blood pressure. Check with your doctor before buying nutritional supplements.
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Shweta Chaubey, has been a Health Products For You contributor since 2021. An advocate-turned-writer, her desire to create meaningful and positive content has brought her to HPFY and what better than writing ...
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