These 12 Foods Help Lower High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure affects 75 million Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The disorder is called the silent killer because it causes blood vessel damage that increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and kidney disease. Fortunately, healthy lifestyle measures, such as following a nutritious diet, can help. Here are some blood pressure-reducing foods to include in your meals.
1. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Of all the foods beneficial for blood pressure, extra virgin olive oil may be one of the most valuable; as some research on it has been particularly impressive. A 2000 study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine indicated the daily substitution of 4 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil for other fats in the diet could result in a 50-percent dosage reduction in medication needed for high blood pressure. Moreover, in a UC Davis Olive Center study, 35 percent of the participants were able to discontinue their blood pressure drugs after six months of daily taking 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil.
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Bananas are rich in potassium, an important mineral for blood vessel health. The American Heart Association reports that it produces better blood pressure in two ways: it promotes the loss of sodium through urine, and it reduces tension in blood vessel walls. Other potassium food sources include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, watermelon, spinach, black beans, beets, butternut squash, yogurt and Swiss chard.
Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidants called anthocyanins, which can help reduce blood pressure. A 2010 study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found hypertensive adults with the highest intake of the berries had a 9-percent decrease in the risk of high blood pressure compared to those with the lowest intake. It concluded that the blood vessel dilating effects of the berry compounds may underlie the benefit.
Beets are sources of nitrates, substances the body converts into nitric oxide, a blood vessel dilator. A 2015 study in the journal Hypertension discovered that drinking approximately one cup of beetroot juice daily for four weeks reduced blood pressure by an average of 8/4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). This magnitude of reduction could bring blood pressure into the normal range for many.
5. Green Leafy Vegetables
Another excellent food for blood pressure, green leafy vegetables are rich in potassium and nitrates. Examples include spinach, kale, lettuce, cabbage, arugula, Swiss chard, turnip greens and mustard greens. An easy way to ensure you eat them daily is to add them to a salad.
Oats and barley contain beta-glucan fiber, which some research suggests can lower blood pressure. In a 2015 investigation in the Journal of Hypertension, scientists found foods with this fiber could modestly decrease systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Eating a bowl of oatmeal topped with fresh fruit provides an excellent way to start the day.
7. Dark Chocolate
A 2015 study in the British Journal of Medicine suggested that dark chocolate may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. In addition, a 2010 study in BMC Medicine showed the food may lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure; however, it didn’t significantly decrease blood pressure below 140 mmHg for systolic or 80 mmHg for diastolic. Experts recommend eating an ounce of chocolate containing at least 70 percent cocoa per day.
8. Salmon and Fatty Fish
Including sources of omega-3 fatty acids in the diet can lower blood pressure. A 2017 study in the Annals of Nursing and Practice revealed the healthy fat may reduce blood pressure and improve the function of the endothelium, the lining of blood vessels. Good sources are salmon, mackerel and trout.
Scientists involved in a 2014 investigation in the American Journal of Hypertension concluded watermelon may significantly lower blood pressure in overweight people during rest, as well as in times of stress. The fruit contains an amino acid called citrulline, which helps the body make nitric oxide. In another study, mice that drank watermelon juice had 50-percent less plaque in their arteries.
A 2013 research paper in the Pakistan Journal of Pharmaceutical Sciences found taking garlic supplements significantly reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Other studies show garlic boosts the body’s production of nitric oxide. Furthermore, garlic and other herbs impart savory flavor in foods, which can help people cut back on salt in the diet.
Legumes, a food that includes beans, lentils and peas, are plentiful in soluble fiber. They also have a low glycemic index, which makes them especially healthful for diabetics. A 2012 study in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine discovered that eating one cup of legumes per day was linked to lower blood pressure in people with type 2 diabetes. Because beans are high in protein, they’re a good substitute for meat in meals.
12. Probiotic Foods
Research shows yogurt and other fermented foods, such as kimchi and apple cider vinegar, improve gut health, which in turn, can modestly decrease blood pressure. A 2016 study conducted by the American Heart Association found women who ate at least five servings of yogurt per week, as part of a nutritious diet, had a reduced risk of developing high blood pressure.
Mary West is a natural health enthusiast, as she believes this area can profoundly enhance wellness. She is the creator of a natural healing website where she focuses on solutions to health problems that work without side effects. You can visit her site and learn more at http://www.alternativemedicinetruth.com. Ms. West is also the author of Fight Cancer Through Powerful Natural Strategies.