Of all the lifestyle diseases older people develop, hypertension is one of the biggest and most dangerous because high blood pressure brings on several diseases including stroke, heart attacks and kidney failure.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), roughly 103 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure. As if that statistic weren’t startling enough, the number of deaths due to hypertension increased by 38% between the years 2005 and 2015, and the AHA estimated that 1 million people died of heart disease in 2018 alone.
Oftentimes, it is the food choices we make over the years that helps us to develop high blood pressure in the first place. Luckily, making different food choices can bring those numbers back down.
With this in mind, here are 11 superfoods that can naturally help to lower your blood pressure:
Many studies have found links between low potassium intake and an increased risk of high blood pressure and death from stroke. Bananas are rich in potassium, making them an excellent food for those looking to lower their blood pressure. Bananas also happen to have a high fiber content, and it is believed that high fiber foods can help to lower blood pressure as well.
Another potassium-rich fruit, avocados are also rich in important minerals, phytonutrients, monounsaturated fats and vitamins. All of these powerful nutrients combined can decrease the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) in the body, which is healthier for your heart.
Another healthy and delicious food rich in potassium is the potato. But potatoes also have blood pressure-lowering compounds called kukoamines. When you combine these two nutrients with the high doses of diverse minerals and vitamins found in potatoes, you understand how such a simple and humble food offers so many health benefits. As a reminder – French fries are still not a healthy option, nor are greasy potato chips.
Folate is another compound thought to lower blood pressure, and spinach is high in folate. Plus, spinach is high in protein, iron and powerful antioxidants. Now we know why Popeye got big and strong by eating spinach.
Another nutrient that has been shown to fight high blood pressure is omega-3, an essential fatty acid found in cold water fish and nuts like almonds. Plus, almonds contain monounsaturated fats that lower the levels of cholesterol in the body.
Celery is one of the most overlooked veggies out there. Sure, people will chop and toss some into tuna salad, but beyond that, celery doesn’t get a lot of love. Well, that’s about to change when you hear that celery contains something called 3-n-butyl phthalide. These compounds function as a pacifying element for the muscle lining of blood vessels, relaxing them to lower blood pressure. Celery also happens to be rich in minerals, vitamins, magnesium, and calcium, so eating more of it is good for your overall health.
7. Dark Chocolate
Yep, you’re seeing clearly, we’re adding chocolate to this list! But not any old chocolate. Milk chocolate offers no health benefits. In order to not feel guilty and actually lower your blood pressure, opt for dark chocolate. These bars contain far more cocoa powder, which helps to expand blood vessels.
8. Olive Oil
You’ve probably heard that olive oil is part of the Mediterranean diet and is good for you, but do you know why? Olive oil contains polyphenols, which are very powerful antioxidants that decrease blood pressure by preventing LDL cholesterol from being oxidized. This is very important because when large amounts of LDL oxidize, it can make blood vessels inflexible. And like avocados and almonds, olive oil contains beneficial monounsaturated fatty acids, like oleic acid.
There’s nothing like the smell or taste of garlic, and if you’re a fan, you’ve got even more reason to rejoice. It turns out garlic has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties, which help remove blockages from arteries. Garlic also produces a specific gas after eating it that helps relax arteries. Eating two to three cloves of garlic a day can reduce high blood pressure. If you don’t want to eat garlic, you can opt for garlic supplements instead.
I previously mentioned that cold water fish are loaded with omega-3s. If you’re looking to up your omega-3 intake, you can’t do any better than eating more salmon. But beyond beneficial omega-3s, Salmon also contains eicosapentaenoic acid, which reduces inflammation, reducing blood pressure even further.
Tomatoes are rich in lycopene that attacks free radicals in the body. But they are also rich in carotenoids that help to bring down high blood pressure. Plus, tomatoes offer a lot of calcium, and vitamin A, C, and E, which boosts overall health.
If you are looking to naturally lower your blood pressure, you would be wise to cut out processed junk food and start eating more of these 11 superfoods.
But there are even MORE ways to naturally lower your blood pressure.