Can Food Help Lower Your Blood Pressure?
While high blood pressure is often hereditary, it doesn’t mean those who suffer from it can’t take steps to keep it in check. Certain foods and lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure and manage hypertension over the long run. As a plus, those changes don’t have to be boring!
There are plenty of blood pressure-reducing whole foods that taste great and are easy to incorporate into meals. However, the first step is to learn more about the potential impact diet can have on blood pressure and what to eat for hypertension prevention and management.
Living with Hypertension
As 1 in every 3 adults are diagnosed with hypertension in the United States, the condition has become far too common. There are a number of factors that can influence blood pressure, with family history and age being two primary (and unavoidable) ones. However, exercise and diet are within your control. Shedding excess weight has been shown to help reduce blood pressure, and 150 minutes of exercise per week is generally recommended for those with hypertension.
Foods for Lower Blood Pressure
The DASH diet is often recommended for people dealing with high blood pressure. Consuming foods rich in magnesium, potassium and fiber can also assist in lowering these levels. Pile on the leafy greens and blueberry smoothies to help get your blood pressure to a healthy status.
Other foods that may help prevent hypertension naturally include the following:
● Bananas, kiwi and watermelon
● Low-fat milk and yogurt
● Olive oil
● Beet juice
● Pomegranate juice
● Whole grains
● Lentils and pulses
● Hibiscus tea
In addition to the nutritious options above, you may be excited to learn that you can indulge your sweet tooth (just a bit) and tackle hypertension at the same time. Dark chocolate and cocoa products appear to reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with pre-hypertension and hypertension. Cocoa’s polyphenols are believed to be related to the widening of blood vessels and thus, the lowering of blood pressure.
Foods to Avoid with High Blood Pressure
Sodium is important to avoid when trying to manage hypertension. Fresh vegetables are a great choice –however, beware the added sodium found in most canned vegetables. In place of salt, add more flavor and lower blood pressure at the same time with a little garlic, basil, rosemary, or thyme.
You may love your morning cup of coffee, but if you have high blood pressure, it’s important to consider your daily caffeine intake. Spikes in blood pressure can occur shortly after drinking coffee, cola, tea, and energy drinks. With high blood pressure, it may be best to swap out a caffeinated beverage with an herbal tea. Another drink important to keep in moderation is alcohol. Increased alcohol consumption is directly correlated with a rise in blood pressure.