Hypertension, more commonly known as blood pressure, refers to the pressure of blood in the arteries. Over time, high blood pressure can cause a lot of damage to the body. It can lead to cardiovascular diseases, kidney issues, strokes, and many other problems. However, the good news is that you can keep your blood pressure in check by including more blood pressure-lowering foods in your daily diet. This makes it important to know which foods can help you bring down your blood pressure.
Blood Pressure-Lowering Foods to Induce in Your Daily Diet
What you eat can have short-term as well as long-term effects on your blood pressure. Scroll down and take a look at some healthy foods that can help you keep your blood pressure within the normal blood pressure range.
1. Leafy Green Vegetables
You probably already know that leafy green veggies are super healthy. They are loaded with potassium, which allows your kidney to get rid of excess sodium through urine production. Since sodium can elevate blood pressure, removing it from the body can help control hypertension. Here’s a list of some leafy greens that you can include in your daily diet to ensure your body gets all the potassium it needs to fight hypertension.
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
- Collard greens
Keep in mind that canned vegetables contain preservatives, including sodium. This is why it is better to steer clear of canned veggies. However, if fresh vegetables are not available, you can always go with frozen vegetables. They contain the same amount of nutrients as fresh vegetables and are easier to store. Whether you use these vegetables to make scrumptious dishes or add them in smoothies, make sure these blood pressure-lowering foods are part of your regular diet.
Bananas are super-rich in potassium. Just like leafy green vegetables, they can also help your kidneys remove sodium from the body through urine. A single-medium sized banana contains around 422 milligrams of potassium. A healthy diet for adults must contain around 4,700 mg of potassium daily. Consuming banana in any form can easily help you reach your daily potassium goals.
Another reason why bananas are one of the best blood pressure-lowering foods is that stress is considered to be a common risk factor for increased blood pressure and bananas can help bring down stress levels in the body. Bananas are packed with B-vitamins that help produce serotonin in the body. As a result, stress levels are reduced, which in turn lower blood pressure.
The best part about bananas is that they are quite versatile. From bread to milkshakes, you can add them to a lot of different foods. You can also add them to cereal or eat them raw on the go!
Berries contain a high level of antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. They are a type of flavonoids and can help reduce and even prevent high blood pressure. The effectiveness of flavonoids in managing blood pressure is backed by science. One study shows that people who increased their anthocyanin consumption by adding berries in their diets experienced an 8% reduction in the risk of developing hypertension than those with a low or average anthocyanin intake. Some of the best options to include in your diet are as follows.
Whether you munch on your favorite berries as an afternoon snack or include them in yummy smoothies, you will find it easier to lower and manage your blood pressure.
4. Dark Chocolate
Here’s some good news for all chocolate lovers – dark chocolate is an excellent choice when it comes to blood pressure-lowering foods that you can enjoy whenever and wherever you like! Research suggests that these sweet yummy treats can effectively help lower high blood pressure in normotensive and hypertensive people.
However, it is essential to pick the right kind of dark chocolate in order to gain maximum benefits from it. It is advisable to opt for excellent-quality dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa content. Recommended daily consumption is about one ounce. The right kind of dark chocolate in the right amounts can be the yummiest way of keeping your blood pressure in check!
Cool and sweet watermelons are the perfect summer treats. But did you know that consuming this delicious fruit can help prevent a spike in blood pressure? The reason why watermelons bring down the blood pressure is that they are rich in an amino acid called citrulline. Citrulline encourages the production of nitric oxide gas in the body. This gas helps relax the muscles in arteries, affecting the flow of the blood. As a result, your blood pressure drops!
You can boost your watermelon intake by including it in fruit salads or smoothies. You can also eat it raw. Sprinkle a bit of black pepper to add an interesting flavor to your bowl of watermelon cubes. It is best served chilled!
Garlic is another excellent choice for blood pressure-lowering foods that you can easily include in your diet. It is a natural antibiotic and has tons of other health benefits. Quite interestingly, it works the same way to lower blood pressure as watermelons. It increases the production of nitric oxide in the body, which helps the muscles to relax, dilating the blood vessels. Consequently, blood pressure is reduced.
According to research, garlic consumption affects both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in people struggling with hypertension. Considering this health benefit of garlic, it is important to consume it on a daily basis. While you may not be able to eat it raw, you can include it in many dishes to add a savory taste. For instance, you can add a bit of garlic in your omelet to get your daily dose of garlic right at the start of the day. You can also add it in stir-fries, soups, and fried veggies. For the best results, it is advisable to use garlic instead of salt for flavor. This will help reduce sodium consumption, which helps in lowering your blood pressure.
If you are a fan of beets, you should have no problem regulating your blood pressure. Beets are one of the healthiest root vegetables. They are loaded with minerals, vitamins, and multiple plant compounds, some of which are medicinal in nature. One advantage of daily consumption of beets is that it can help lower your blood pressure. While you can consume it in cooked form as well, it is advisable to drink beet juice when it comes to lowering high blood pressure.
Beet juice can have short-term as well as long-term effects on blood pressure. According to research, people who consumed a glass of beet juice on a daily basis may experience an average drop in the blood pressure of 8/4 mm of mercury.
You must have heard the old age adage – an apple a day keeps the doctor away. But did you know that kiwis work better than apples when it comes to reducing blood pressure?
One study compared the effects of consuming apples and kiwis in people struggling with hypertension. The study concluded that “among men and women with moderately elevated BP, intake of three kiwifruits was associated with lower systolic and diastolic 24-h BP compared with one apple a day.” Results suggest that consuming 3 kiwis can cause a more significant change to lower blood pressure than apples.
Kiwis are also rich in antioxidants and vitamin C. This is another reason why they help regulate blood pressure in people with hypertension. Kiwis are easy to add in your daily diet. You can include them in fruit salads, eat them raw, or enjoy kiwi smoothies on the go. Regardless of how you choose to consume it, this super fruit will surely help you keep your high blood pressure in control.
Foods to Avoid
Now you know all about some of the best blood-pressure-lowering foods to include in your daily diet. However, it is also important to know about foods that you must avoid in order to maintain healthy blood pressure. Here’s a list of foods that can cause your blood pressure levels to spike.
- Salt: If you are struggling with hypertension, it is best to cut back on your sodium intake. You can do that by removing or at least limiting salt in your daily diet. This is important because sodium can significantly raise blood pressure in a matter of minutes!
- Alcohol: Alcohol can cause your blood pressure to shoot up. So, if you are trying to bring down your blood pressure levels, it is best to cut back on alcohol. Heavy alcohol consumption also increases the risk of heart failure, stroke, and obesity, which is why it is best to limit its consumption even if you don’t have blood pressure issues
- Caffeinated Drinks: Eliminate caffeinated drinks from your diet to experience a change in your blood pressure. Caffeinated drinks include coffee, soft drinks, tea, and energy drinks.
The Bottom Line
Include blood pressure-lowering foods in your daily diet to regulate your blood pressure without taking medications. It is also important to avoid foods that can increase blood pressure. However, if you are unable to manage your blood pressure through diet, it is advisable to consult a doctor.