Many people have high blood pressure problems, also known as high blood pressure. Hypertension means that the artery walls are subjected to abnormal pressure. Over time, hypertension weakens blood vessels and can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, strokes and other health problems. This health problem can also go unnoticed for years because people with it do not have symptoms until another disease appears. It is therefore very important to have your blood pressure checked frequently. If you are one of those with high blood pressure problems, here are some foods to add to your meals to reduce your blood pressure.
1. Leafy greens
Sodium is one of the main causes of high blood pressure. Potassium can help your kidneys eliminate more sodium in the urine, which reduces the effects of high blood pressure. Green leafy vegetables are a fantastic source of this essential nutrient, especially romaine lettuce, arugula, turnip greens, spinach, kale, cabbage greens and beet greens.
If you are not a fan of the green substance, bananas are also rich in potassium. Try mixing a banana with greens and any type of nut milk to get the potassium you need and more flavour.
Many types of berries, especially blueberries, are filled with healthy compounds called flavonoids. Eating enough flavonoids in your diet is associated with preventing high blood pressure and lowering blood pressure in people who already have it.
Flavonoids also provide many anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits to the body, so consuming berries is good for your health (unless, of course, you are allergic to them). These foods are easy to add to your diet, you can sprinkle them on cereal or a salad, or eat them on their own.
The reason beets are good for people with high blood pressure is because they contain a large amount of nitric oxide, which helps to open blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. Studies have shown that the consumption of beet juice reduces blood pressure in only 24 hours.
Beets have a very special flavour that people seem to like or hate, and if you are in the latter category, you will be happy to know that the peeling and roasting of beets removes a large part of the “earthy” taste. Creative ways to use roasted beets in cooking include cookie dough and humus.
4. Skim milk and yogurt
Calcium, abundant in milk and yogurt, plays a vital role in constricting and relaxing blood vessels and can, therefore, help reduce blood pressure. Calcium is also essential for muscle contraction and relaxation.
As reported by the American Heart Association, women who eat five or more servings of yogurt a week are 20% less likely to develop high blood pressure. Skim milk and yogurt are recommended sources of calcium because they are also low in fat but beware of the sugar content of yogurt.
If you are not a dairy lover, you can find calcium in seafood, leafy vegetables, legumes, dried fruits, tofu and seeds.
5. Oatmeal flakes
A diet high in fibre and whole grains can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. Oatmeal has both. With only 100 grams of oatmeal, you will get 10 grams of fibre, 352 milligrams of calcium and 359 grams of potassium.
So it’s one of the best lunches you can have if you try to reduce your blood pressure. Oatmeal is also low in fat and low in sodium, and provides a lot of slow-burning carbohydrates to fuel your day. Add fruit or nuts for an even healthier meal!
We mentioned that potassium helps to lower blood pressure because it helps to remove excess sodium. It is important to note that eating foods rich in potassium is better for your body than taking a dietary supplement.
Bananas are one of the best food sources of potassium and also contain protein, fibre, magnesium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. Have a healthy breakfast by slicing a banana and adding it to your oatmeal.
7. Garlic and sweet herbs
Like beets, garlic contains nitric oxide, which helps to widen the arteries, also known as vasodilation. This can lower blood pressure and make food tastier as well. Some herbs are known to be beneficial for high blood pressure.
Basil, cinnamon, cardamom, ginger and celery seeds are good examples. Adding more herbs and spices to your diet can also help you reduce the amount of sodium you need to enjoy your meals.
8. Dark chocolate
If you want a little something sweet, dark chocolate is perfect for you. A Harvard study found that consuming a small square of dark chocolate daily helps lower blood pressure in people with high blood pressure.
The study was conducted on 24 separate chocolate studies and involved 1,106 people. The researchers found that dark chocolate, provided it contained at least 50 to 70% cocoa, lowered the blood pressure of each participant.
This mechanism is probably linked to the heart-healthy flavonoids in cocoa, which cause blood vessels to dilate. To get the most out of it, look for a chocolate with a cocoa content of 60 to 70% cocoa.
High blood pressure is a frightening disease because it can lead to a whole series of dangerous health complications, but has no real symptoms in itself.
And doctors now consider blood pressure levels between 120/80 and 140/90, once considered normal, to be a condition called prehypertension. People with prehypertension are twice as likely to develop heart disease as people with lower blood pressure.
Fortunately, high blood pressure is very treatable with medication from your doctor and some dietary changes. In the case of prehypertension, making these changes early can prevent you from developing complete high blood pressure and prevent you from having to take medication.
As you can see, many tasty and satisfying foods can be part of a high blood pressure diet. Just don’t skip your annual check-ups in order to treat this health problem as soon as possible.