Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to the pressure that is required to circulate your blood through your circulatory system. The higher your numbers, the more pressure is pressing against your artery walls. If left unchecked, high blood pressure can damage blood vessels, in turn leading to heart disease, kidney disease, or stroke.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 75 million Americans have hypertension. While some risk factors may be out of your control, such as age, gender, and family history, lifestyle factors play a bigger role in whether you will develop the disease.
Beyond not smoking or drinking excessively, and exercising regularly, diet is key in preventing and reversing hypertension. It’s important to limit processed foods, which are high in trans fats and sugars. It’s too much sugar, not salt, that is one of the biggest culprits behind hypertension.
There are also nutrients like potassium, magnesium and fiber that are extremely helpful in preventing and reversing hypertension. With this in mind, here are 11 foods for hypertension you should add to your grocery list:
Berries, in particular blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study found that flavonoids might prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure.
Not only are blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries delicious, they are also incredibly easy to add to your diet. Toss them into your morning cereal or granola, or keep frozen berries on hand to add into a smoothie.
2. Leafy Greens
I mentioned in the introduction that potassium is a key nutrient for controlling hypertension. That is because potassium helps remove excess sodium through your kidneys. In reality, people shouldn’t focus on eating less sodium, because sodium is important for overall health. By eating potassium rich foods, you will help your body keep sodium in the proper balance.
Some leafy greens high in potassium include:
- romaine lettuce
- turnip greens
- collard greens
- beet greens
- Swiss chard
If buying and storing fresh greens is hard for you without some of them going bad, opt for frozen vegetables. They contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables, and they’re easier to store.
3. Salmon and Other Fatty Fish
Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and herring are a great source of lean protein. But even more important, these fish contain beneficial omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. Try to eat fatty fish two to three times per week to get the full benefits they offer.
When cooking your fish, you may want to consider spicing it with garlic. One study found that garlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.
5. Red Beets
Another excellent source of nitric oxide are beets. Researchers found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours. Beets are very easy to enjoy. You may either cook the whole beat and eat it, or juice them for a refreshing drink. Sliced beet chips, when baked, make an excellent and delicious snack. Just be careful when handling beets as they sure can stain your hands and clothes!
Yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is not only necessary for strong teeth and bones, but it also helps in lowering blood pressure. In fact, according to the American Heart Association, women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week experienced a 20% reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure.
When it comes to getting some fiber into your diet, adding oatmeal is a great option. Oatmeal makes an excellent breakfast, especially during cold months. And, don’t forget to throw a handful of blueberries in for a hypertension-blasting meal.
Looking again toward getting more potassium into your diet, bananas are one of the best sources. Put them in your oatmeal or toss them into a blender with frozen berries and you have a delicious meal that will help you get your blood pressure under control.
9. Dark chocolate
Studies have found that eating dark chocolate can help a person lower their risk of developing heart disease. Look for dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa solids to get the full benefits.
Pistachios contain nutrients that reduce peripheral vascular resistance, or blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. Studies have shown that by adding just one serving (about a handful) of pistachios to your daily meals, you can reduce your blood pressure. Eat them plain as a snack or chop them up and toss them into a salad.
11. Olive Oil
Olive oil is one of the healthiest fats you can add to your diet. It contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure. If you are currently using vegetable oil-based commercial salad dressings, put those away and start drizzling extra virgin olive oil and vinegar on your salads.
By incorporating more of these 11 foods into your daily meal plans, and exercising regularly, you will be able to reduce your blood pressure numbers and promote your overall health.
Would you like to learn even more natural ways to completely reverse your blood pressure?
The Blood Pressure Solution was written by a doctor who has helped her clients throw away their blood pressure medications once and for all. Pick up your copy today, and live without the fear of developing heart disease or stroke.