High blood pressure or hypertension is known to affect 1 out of 3 American adults. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that about 75 million Americans suffer from hypertension. Before we look into the foods that can naturally lower blood pressure, let’s know what hypertension means.
High blood pressure refers to the pressure exerted by blood against the artery walls. When blood pressure remains high over time, it’s likely that it would lead to heart and kidney diseases, and other fatal disorders. The most uncertain aspect of high blood pressure is that it can go untreated and unnoticed for years.
There are a myriad of factors that contribute to the medical condition of high blood pressure, some being gender, family history, and age. Contrary to popular opinion, high blood pressure isn’t an age-related disorder and can be controlled effectively if a proper diet, rich in magnesium, fiber, and potassium is consumed. Now, let’s look at some foods that can help in reducing and controlling hypertension naturally.
Blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries are rich in anthocyanin, a type of flavonoid, and an antioxidant. Research has shown that people who consumed anthocyanin-rich foods could bring down their blood pressure by 8%, as compared to those with a lower intake.
Berries are foods that you can easily add to your diet. Add them to your morning cereal or your favorite dessert.
There are a variety of options to choose from when it comes to leafy green vegetables. Cabbage, kale, fennel, collard greens, lettuce, spinach, and mustard greens all fall under leafy green vegetables.
Leafy greens are nitrate-rich, which helps in controlling blood pressure. Nitrates contain potassium that helps your kidneys eliminate sodium through your urine. Several studies reveal that consuming a serving of leafy greens daily can reduce hypertension for 24 hours.
Skimmed Milk and Yogurt
Skimmed milk and yogurt are low in fat and a rich source of calcium. Calcium and low fat are both significant elements when it comes to reducing blood pressure. A study conducted by the American Heart Association suggests that consuming five or more servings of yogurt per week can reduce the risk of developing hypertension by 20%.
Add berries, granola, and almond to your yogurt to experience better heart health.
Oatmeal is high-fiber, low-sodium, and low-fat food that can reduce blood pressure. Eating oats for breakfast is an exceptional way to gain energy for the entire day.
Overnight oats are also a healthy option for breakfast. Soak half cup rolled oats and half cup nut milk in a jar for the night. In the morning, add granola, berries, and cinnamon to taste.
Bananas are full of micronutrients like potassium, which is essential to lower blood pressure. You can easily slice a banana into your meal or have it as your midday snack.
Beetroots are high in nitric oxide, which can increase blood flow in your body, open blood vessels, and lower blood pressure, as a result. A major study in this subject was conducted by the Queen Mary University of London in which it was observed that the nitrates present in beetroot could lower blood pressure within 24 hours.
There are multiple ways of making beetroot juice. You can purchase an organic beetroot powder from Amazon or buy raw beetroot from the supermarket and juice it.
Mackerel, Salmon, and Omega-3 Rich Fish
Fish is an abundant source of protein. One serving of fatty fish like salmon and mackerel contains over 30 grams of protein. It is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids that can reduce inflammation in the body, improve cognitive functions, and lower blood pressure. Other than these fishes, trout, a source of Vitamin-D can also reduce blood pressure.
Unsalted seeds contain numerous health benefits as they’re full of micronutrients. Pumpkin and sunflower seeds are rich in potassium and they can help reduce hypertension. Another advantage of seeds is that they’re easily available and are a great snacking option.
Natural Herbs and Garlic
Adding herbs and spices like basil, thyme, rosemary, etc., to your diet can help you cut back on sodium-filled salt.
Garlic is another herb that can help increase the production of nitric oxide in your body. This leads to the expansion of blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.
Pistachios can help lower peripheral vascular resistance and heart rate, which, in turn, helps reduce hypertension.
A study conducted by the National Library of Medicine also suggests that one serving of pistachios daily can help reduce blood pressure in your body.
A 2012 study conducted by the National Library of Medicine reveals that drinking one cup of pomegranate juice every day for 28 days can marginally reduce blood pressure. This effect of pomegranates can be attributed to its antioxidant content.
You can consume pomegranates whole or make a juice and drink it. While purchasing pomegranate juice from the supermarket, make sure you check the nutritional facts regarding its sugar content.
Pulses and Lentils
For many people around the world, lentils constitute the majority of their diet. Lentils are an excellent source of vegetarian protein. They’re rich in fiber as well.
A 2014 research conducted on rats suggests a diet rich in lentils and other pulses resulted in a reduced cholesterol and blood pressure level.
Watermelon contains the highest amount of citrulline, an amino acid that can help in reducing blood pressure. This is because citrulline has been known to increase nitric oxide production in your body, which can open up blood vessels and improve flexibility in arteries.
An increase in blood flow in the body can help lower hypertension.
There have been multiple studies conducted which suggest that a group of people who ate watermelon against a placebo group reported lower levels of blood pressure after the end of the study.
Olive oil is a source of saturated fats or healthy fats. They contain polyphenols, an essential compound that fights inflammation in your body and reduces hypertension.
Olive oil can be a healthy alternative to vegetable oils and seed oils, which have fatal impacts on your heart health in the long-term.
After looking at foods that can reduce blood pressure, there are some foods to avoid if you want to maintain healthy blood pressure levels in the body in the long-term. Excessive consumption of salt, alcohol, and caffeine can increase blood pressure in your body. These foods can have disastrous impacts on the body if consumed in irrational amounts.
A healthy lifestyle complementing a healthy diet can rescue the risk of developing hypertension. It can also help in controlling blood pressure levels in the body. Make sure you buy a blood pressure-measuring device and track your pressure regularly.
For the best results, you can add a light workout or power yoga session to your day. Incorporate the above-mentioned foods in adequate quantities in your diet and watch your pressure fall to healthy levels.