In many countries, 1 in 3 adults suffer from high blood pressure or hypertension . This condition is characterized by a blood pressure level of 140/90 mmHg or higher. You can increase your risk of undesirable conditions, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and blindness, to name just a few. Regulating your weight by staying active and eating well can help you control your hypertension. Here’s how diet can help you naturally control your blood pressure.
DASH Diet to Lower Your Blood Pressure:
The National Institutes of Health has developed a meal plan called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension or dietary strategies to stop hypertension) designed to reduce blood pressure. What you essentially ask me to do with that diet is to be filled with foods rich in potassium, magnesium and calcium and low in sodium. While sodium increases blood pressure, potassium neutralizes its effect. Magnesium and calcium also help reduce blood pressure. In addition to following the DASH plan, you can also look for foods that help reduce blood pressure naturally, such as:
If beets do not have a place in their diet, it is time to give them a second chance. These top the list of foods that lower blood pressure rapidly. One study found that blood pressure plummeted in healthy participants in approximately 3 hours after consuming 500 ml of beet juice. The main actor? Nitrate beet. Your body converts this natural chemical into nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and helps reduce blood pressure.
2. Dark Chocolate:
Your body is constantly under attack from reactive free radicals that damage your cells. They also help in the accumulation of plaque in the arteries, which leads to atherosclerosis, which ultimately hinders blood flow and causes hypertension. The polyphenols (organic chemicals) found in cocoa, especially flavanols, have powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It has been shown to increase the production of nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels. In fact, a study in the Journal of Nutrition found that consuming 100 gm of flavanol-rich dark chocolate a day for only 15 days reduced hypertension. In addition, it improved glucose sensitivity in people with hypertension and glucose intolerance. So go ahead, give him some dark chocolate. It is a true gift for your heart!
This delicious fruit has wonderful medicinal properties. A study in Phytotherapy Research delved into the effects of pomegranate juice by giving people with hypertension a daily glass (150 ml) of pomegranate juice between lunch and dinner for 2 weeks.
“Pomegranate, rich in antioxidants and bioactive polyphenols, was found to be effective in reducing blood pressure”.
In another study, atherosclerotic patients who had high pressure could reduce their systolic blood pressure by 21% after one year and reduce the thickness of the carotid artery by up to 30% by taking only 55 ml of pomegranate juice a day.
If you have hypertension, a simple bowl of oatmeal can change things. Research has found that whole oats rich in soluble fiber have the ability to significantly reduce blood pressure. They can also reduce the level of “bad cholesterol” in your body. Consider a breakfast full of energy that can help your heart in multiple ways.
This juicy summer fruit is loaded with amino acids (L-citrulline) that can increase the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide widens blood vessels and is associated with lower blood pressure. One study found that when people with hypertension ate 2 g of watermelon twice a day for 6 weeks, they saw a reduction in their aortic systolic blood pressure (i.e. blood pressure when their heart beats compared to the pressure between beats). The experiment also observed a decrease in the stiffness of the arteries, ensuring that blood can pass easily.
When garlic is crushed or minced, an organic compound called allicin develops. This substance dilates the blood vessels and inhibits angiotensin II, a hormone that causes the vessels to contract. Several studies have found that garlic can effectively reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. In this way, in addition to improving your food, this spicy bulb can lower your blood pressure somewhat.
7. Flax Seeds:
Flaxseeds are good for lowering blood pressure, probably due to their alpha-linolenoic acid (ALA), which is a type of heart – healthy omega-3 fatty acid, its soluble fibers and lignans, which are plant estrogens with antioxidant properties. In addition, only 1 tablespoon (10.3 g) of whole seeds can cover 10% of your daily magnesium requirement and 2% of each calcium and potassium requirement. There is an insignificant amount of sodium in these seeds, making them an ideal food to lower blood pressure. In what form should you consume them? Take flaxseed powder to reduce systolic blood pressure, and flaxseed oil and lignan extract to reduce diastolic blood pressure. And to see the best results, continue for at least 12 weeks.
Here is one more excuse to add these tasty berries to your fruit salads, smoothies and smoothies. The anthocyanins in them, which give them the bright blue color, are antioxidants responsible for good heart health. Blueberries also help release more nitric oxide and therefore help reduce blood pressure significantly, as seen in a study on postmenopausal women with hypertension or prehypertension. The women were given 22g of lyophilized cranberry powder (equivalent to 1 cup of fresh blueberries) daily for 8 weeks. It was found that his systolic blood pressure dropped an average of 5.1% and the diastolic blood pressure dropped 6.3% and his arteries were less rigid than at the beginning of the study.
9. Sweet Potatoes:
This healthy alternative to potatoes is rich in fiber, a carbohydrate that is known to reduce high pressure. In fact, one study showed that individuals who consumed a diet high in fiber were less likely to develop high pressure. In addition, sweet potatoes (or sweet potatoes) are also good sources of carotenoids, which protect the heart and reduce the risk of hypertension. By helping yourself to an 80g serving of cooked or baked sweet potato, you can gradually reduce high pressure in blood.
It turns out Popeye was right all the time. Spinach (and other green leafy vegetables) improve heart health and reduce the risk of heart disease. Thanks to its high nitrate content, spinach can help control blood pressure. Your body converts nitrate to nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels and reduces high blood pressure. The potassium in spinach also balances the sodium content, reducing blood pressure. To get your benefits, consume a cup of fresh spinach or half a cup of cooked spinach every day.
This delicious calcium-rich food is known to strengthen bones, but a less known benefit of yogurt is that it maintains heart health. A study presented at the Epidemiology Sessions of the American Heart Association analyzed the effects of yogurt on blood pressure. To understand this, the data of participating women between 25 and 55 years was analyzed. After approximately 18 to 30 years of follow-up sessions, it was revealed that women who had consumed 5 or more servings of yogurt each week had a reduced risk of 20% high pressure in blood. Interestingly, the risk was lower in women whose diet corresponded to that of a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
12. Fatty Fish:
Fish such as salmon, sardines and lake trout are examples of fatty fish, which can reduce high pressure levels to some extent. Although it is not clear why, but we do know that it has something to do with omega-3 fatty acids. However, you would need a large amount of fish to reach the required fatty acid content. Since 1-2 servings of fish per week is the “safe” limit, you can also get the required amount of omega-3 fatty acids by opting for other sources such as nuts.
What to Eat to Control High Blood Pressure?
Apart from nourishing your body with fiber and protein, these foods also provide vital minerals such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.
- Choose between 4 and 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Make meals interesting and fun by focusing on a variety of colors and preparation techniques.
- Eat poultry, fish and whole grains.
- Also consume nuts and low-fat dairy products.
What Not to Eat?
- Reduce the consumption of foods high in total fats, saturated fats and cholesterol.
- Limit sugar intake.
- Minimize salt intake. Aim for 1,500 mg of sodium per day as recommended for hypertensive patients. This equals less than 1 teaspoon (<6 gm) of table salt. Remember, table salt is not the only source of sodium. Everyday foods such as soy sauce, baking soda, canned soup and salad dressing are high sources of sodium. Stay on top of your consumption by carefully reading food labels.
Reducing your sodium intake does not mean you have to sacrifice the taste. Add onions, garlic, spices and herbs to help your taste buds warm up to a low-sodium and heart-friendly diet.