High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can lead to serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. There are rarely symptoms - only a blood pressure test can confirm healthy or unhealthy levels.
Many things can cause high blood pressure, such as being overweight or having an unhealthy diet. Certain habits like smoking and drinking alcohol can also increase blood pressure levels.
The good news is that you can prevent hypertension or high blood pressure. You can do this by making lifestyle changes, like losing weight and changing your diet. Keep reading to find out which foods you should include in your diet.
The following foods have special nutrients that can help lower blood pressure.
First on the list are leafy greens such as spinach and swiss chard. This is because they are rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which are all greatly beneficial for the body.
Adding a portion of leafy greens to your plate can help you get the daily amounts of these important nutrients that you need.
Other leafy greens include:
Next on the list is beetroot, which is known for being high in nitrates. According tonitrates can:
The British Heart Foundation did a study about beetroot. They found that people who drank beetroot juice every day had lower blood pressure. Beetroot is also good for you because it has a lot of nutrients.
Salmon, tuna, sardines, or any other fish high in fatty acids are also good. These fats are known as Omega-3s, which play a large role in supporting heart health in the body.
They help with blood clotting, as well as the opening and closing of the artery walls in the heart. Next time, skip the steak for a serving of steamed salmon or pan-fried tuna.
Natural or Greek yoghurt has important nutrients that can help lower blood pressure. Dairy products are also a source of calcium and potassium, which helps to regulate blood pressure. Plain, unflavoured yoghurt does not have any added sugar and has other health benefits like good bacteria for a healthy gut.
Chia seeds and flax seeds are tiny seeds that are packed full of fibre and other beneficial nutrients such as potassium and magnesium.
Pumpkin seeds are also very high in magnesium. Sprinkle any of these on your morning oats or yoghurt to add a health kick to your breakfasts.
Fruits and vegetables have vitamins in them. Vitamin C can help to lower blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessel walls. Try eating citrus fruits, tomatoes, broccoli, and carrots because they are all sources of vitamin C.
However, if you are taking blood pressure medications, you should be mindful of some citrus fruits. Grapefruit and grapefruit juice in particular can react badly with some blood pressure medicines. Talk to a doctor if you are ever feeling unsure.
Celery and berries are high in antioxidants. Antioxidants can be found in food and have been proven to help our bodies with diseases. They also help with early ageing, your brain health, and can help with stress.
Certain foods are known to make blood pressure worse. You should avoid the following:
This includes table salt and any foods that are high in sodium. It is proven that a high salt intake can increase blood pressure as it causes your cells to hold onto more water. This increases pressure in the blood vessel walls.
Be wary and remember to check food labels - some foods contain huge amounts of hidden salt. Bread, bagels, pizza and breakfast cereals all fall into this category.
Many sauces, such as ketchup, bbq, and ranch dressing, have large amounts of salt and sugar. Salad dressings can also be very high in fat and have lots of calories. To avoid these, try adding spices and herbs into your cooking for better nutrition and health. Alternatively, choose low-fat and low-salt substitutes for your favourite sauces.
Deep-fried foods are very high in calories. They also contain a lot of unhealthy fats, which can build up in the walls of your arteries if you consume too much.
For healthier blood pressure, try to avoid deep-fried food. Instead, try baking, roasting, or boiling your food.
Similarly, fast food has little nutritional value because it is processed and very high in sodium and fat.
You don’t have to cut out the above foods entirely. But eating them in moderation will benefit you compared to consuming them daily.
If you are trying to lower your blood pressure, eating healthily as well as losing weight is beneficial. You should avoid fatty foods if you are trying to lower your BMI (body mass index)
The DASH diet stands for “Dietary Attempts to Stop Hypertension” and aims to reduce high blood pressure.
The diet includes foods that are high in magnesium, calcium, and potassium, as they are all nutrients that control blood pressure. This includes eating leafy greens and the other foods mentioned above.
Another aim of the DASH diet is to be healthy and balanced. This means eating mostly fruits, vegetables, beans, pulses, and lean sources of protein. It is a very flexible diet and does not limit or exclude whole food groups. Instead, it helps you eat a balanced diet that is good for overall health.
If you want to start the DASH diet, here are some tips:
The DASH diet also has other health benefits aside from lowering blood pressure. It has the potential to help with weight loss, as it promotes healthy eating. It can also lower your risks of cancer, diabetes, and heart disease.
Overall, eating a balanced diet with lots of fruit and vegetables, and cutting down on salty foods, is the best way to maintain and manage healthy blood pressure. However, other lifestyle changes such as losing weight can help improve blood pressure levels.
If you have difficulty controlling your blood pressure levels, your doctor may prescribe you blood pressure medication to help keep your levels stable.
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