You might not know this, but what you eat has a big role to play in your general well being. Changes in diet can significantly reduce or increase your chances of high blood pressure. Studies show that there are foods that can reduce or manage your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is very active in one third of adults worldwide. There are, however, medications, lifestyle modifications and dietary changes that can simultaneously reduce hypertension and also lowers the risk of conditions associated with hypertension such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, kidney infections and so on.
The sole purpose of this article is to discuss some of the scientifically proven foods that can help lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of conditions associated with it.
Foods that lower blood pressure
Berries like blueberries, blackberries and strawberry embody antioxidant compounds known as anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid.
A research carried out on people with hypertension found that those with the highest intake of anthocyanins especially from berries had a 9 percent reduction in their hypertension risk.
To consume berries, you can use it as a snack or as an after meal treat. You can also add them to smoothies and oatmeal.
Bananas are a rich source of potassium. Potassium plays a very important part in managing and lowering hypertension. Studies further show that potassium inhibits the effect of sodium and also alleviates tension in the walls of the blood vessels.
The required amount of potassium for daily consumption is 4,700mg. In order not to bore yourself to death with banana, there are other potassium-rich foods include
• cantaloupe and honeydew melon
• sweet potatoes
People with kidney disease should speak to their doctors about potassium, as too much can be harmful.
Drinking beet juice is effective in the reduction of blood pressure in the long and short terms.
Studies show that drinking one cup of red beet juice regularly can lower blood pressure by 25 per cent. The effects take place in 24 hours.
In this study, those who drank 1 cup of the beet juice every day had an average drop in blood pressure of around 8/4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). For many, this change brought their blood pressure within the normal range. On average, a single blood pressure medication reduces levels by 9/5 mm Hg.
What this implies is that the high amount of inorganic nitrate caused the reduction in hypertension.
You can either drink a glass of beet juice every day, or add beet to your salads. It can also be prepared as a healthy side dish
This sweet treat may lower blood pressure. Studies show that that cocoa-rich chocolate reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension or prehypertension.
Choose high-quality chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa, and consume a single square, or a piece measuring about 1 ounce, each day.
A daily intake of kiwi can effectively reduce blood pressure in hypertensive people.
When researchers compared the effects of apples and kiwis on people with slightly high blood pressure, they found that eating three kiwis a day for 8 weeks resulted in a more significant reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared with eating one apple a day for the same period. It is suspected that the bioactive compounds in kiwi are responsible for this reduction.
Kiwis are also rich sources of vitamin C, which may significantly improve blood pressure readings in people who consumed around 500 mg of the vitamin every day for about 8 weeks.
You can easily incorporate kiwis to your lunch or smoothies.
Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which may help to manage high blood pressure.
Citrulline helps the body to produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels and encourages flexibility in arteries. These effects aid the flow of blood, which can lower high blood pressure.
One of the studies carried out on adults who are obese and slightly hypertensive who took watermelon extract showed reduced blood pressure in the ankles and brachial arteries. The brachial artery is the main artery in the upper arm.
To boost watermelon intake, add the fruit to salads and smoothies, or enjoy it in a chilled watermelon soup.
Oats contain a type of fiber called beta-glucan, which may reduce blood cholesterol levels. Studies show that a higher consumption of beta-glucan can effectively lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. This fiber can also be found in barley.
Start the day off with a bowl of oatmeal, or use rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs to give texture to meat or vegetarian burger patties.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates, which help to manage blood pressure. Some research suggests that eating 1–2 servings of nitrate-rich vegetables every day can reduce hypertension for up to 24 hours.
Some examples of leafy green include cabbage, kale, collard green, fennel, lettuce, mustard greens, spinach, and Swiss chard.
To consume a daily dose of green vegetables, stir spinach into curries and stews, sauté Swiss chard with garlic for a tasty side dish, or bake a batch of kale chips.
Garlic is a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal food. Its main active ingredient, allicin, is often responsible for associated health benefits.
Some research suggests that garlic increases the body’s production of nitric oxide, which helps the smooth muscles to relax and the blood vessels to dilate. These changes can reduce hypertension.
One study reported that garlic extract reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in hypertensive people.
Garlic can enhance the flavor of many savory meals, including stir-fries, soups, and omelets. Using garlic instead of salt can further promote the health of the heart.
Fermented foods are rich in probiotics, which are beneficial bacteria that play an important role in maintaining gut health. Eating probiotics can have a modest effect on high blood pressure, according to a review of nine studies.
Fermented foods to add to the diet include;
apple cider vinegar
Some people prefer to take concentrated probiotic supplements every day
Drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days can lower high blood pressure in the short term, thanks to the fruit’s antioxidant content.
While pomegranates can be enjoyed whole, some people prefer the juice. If you can’t make the juice, you buy a pre-packaged one. But check the package to ensure that there is no added sugar.