Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, is a condition that occurs when the force of the blood against the arterial wall is too high. High blood pressure is indicated by a blood pressure measurement of 140/90 or higher. Newer recommendations state that levels greater than 130/80 should now be considered high blood pressure.
A blood pressure reading has two numbers: a systolic blood pressure (the first number in the reading) and a diastolic blood pressure (the second number in the reading). The systolic blood pressure is the maximum pressure the blood exerts on the vessels when the heart is beating. The diastolic blood pressure is the pressure the blood exerts on the vessels in between heartbeats. Hypertension can be a result of increased blood flow through vessels, or of increased resistance to the blood flow within the vessels.”
Hypertension impacts an extremely large number of Americans. With the new change in guidelines, it is estimated that now almost half of Americans experience high blood pressure. Hypertension can be dangerous, as it can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
While treatment for high blood pressure can include medications, it can also often be treated through lifestyle changes, such as reducing sodium intake, eating a nutritious diet, and exercising regularly. If you’re looking to manage or lower your blood pressure, adding these nutritious foods to your diet may be an effective way to see results!
Beets are well-known for their blood pressure reducing properties. A meta-analysis published in The Journal of Nutrition showed that beetroot juice was associated with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure because of their concentration of dietary nitrates. Beetroot contains high levels of nitrate (NO3), which the body converts into biologically active nitrite (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). Nitric oxide works within the body to relax and dilate blood vessels.
You can eat beets by roasting them, baking them into chips, and adding them to salads. You can pack in their nutrients by juicing them as well.
Bananas are packed with potassium, a key electrolyte that helps to lower blood pressure. Potassium works in opposition to sodium, thus counteracting the blood pressure raising effects of sodium and helping the kidneys remove sodium from the body.
Add more bananas to your diet by adding them on top of toast, oatmeal, or adding them to your smoothies. They also make a perfect fueling afternoon snack with a little nut butter.
Hemp seeds aren’t just omega-3 and protein powerhouses, they also help effectively lower blood pressure. They contain high amounts of the amino acid arginine, which is used to produce nitric oxide. Nitric oxide works to dilate and relax the blood pressures, promoting better blood flow, lowering blood pressure and contributing to a healthier heart.
Hemp seeds make the perfect heart-healthy addition to smoothies, salads, or sprinkled on top of oatmeal or yogurt.
Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens are packed with potassium, magnesium, and folate. All of these are essential to help maintain healthy blood pressure. Potassium helps your kidneys flush out sodium, magnesium helps regulate blood flow, and folate lowers homocysteine levels, which prevents the damage to arteries that contribute to high blood pressure.
Make sure you’re packing in these nutritious veggies into your day. Use them as a base in salads, add them to pasta, or sneak them into your breakfasts in smoothies or eggs.
Olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean diet, which has been shown to have significant effects on improving cardiovascular health. The nitro fatty acids in olive oil inhibit the enzyme soluble epoxide hydrolase, which regulates blood pressure. In one study, hypertensive patients consumed olive oil every day, and 35% were able to completely discontinue their hypertensive medication after the 6-month study.
This heart-healthy oil is packed with numerous health benefits and is perfect to use for sautéeing, as a base in salad dressings, and for drizzling over any roasted veggies.
Raspberries are full of natural compounds called flavonoids, which may prevent hypertension. They are also rich in a class of antioxidants called anthocyanins, which have been shown to promote the dilation of blood vessels and thus help to reduce blood pressure.
These sweet berries are easy to add to your diet. Top your morning yogurt or cereal with these delicious treats, or add them to your smoothies for a tart kick.
Nuts have been shown to have great effects on lowering blood pressure, and pistachios may have the largest blood pressure-lowering effects of them all. They are also rich in potassium and magnesium, which further contributes to relieving hypertension.
Grab a handful for a snack, or throw them in your salad for some crunch. Just make sure you reach for unsalted to lower your intake of added sodium.
This bright, tart drink isn’t just a nice pick-me-up, it has amazing effects on treating hypertension. Research has shown that drinking some each day helps to significantly lower systolic blood pressure. Hibiscus tea includes anthocyanins and other flavonoids, along with polyphenolic compounds that are all linked to blood pressure reduction.
Brew a cup in the morning before breakfast or have one in the afternoon. Consult with your healthcare provider about a recommended dose, as hibiscus tea may have interactions with specific medications.
These beautiful cousins to the regular potato are quite beneficial for blood pressure reduction, and research backs it up. It is thought that these potatoes work their magic because they are rich in the phytochemical chlorogenic acid, which has been linked to lower blood pressure. They are also fabulous sources of potassium.
Purple potatoes are a perfect healthy addition to your dinner table. Eat them baked, or roast them with rosemary to eat as a delicious side dish.
Author: Maggie Harriman