Contributed by: Rachana Arya
Healthy food is a great way to prevent and manage high blood pressure and works as a medication — especially in its early stage.
There are foods that can raise blood pressure as well as foods that can lower it.
All you have to do is simply pick wisely, and try to concentrate on what you can eat rather than what you can’t.
A diet to lower blood pressure should emphasise fruits, vegetables, and whole grains while avoiding fats, fried foods, and salty snacks, much like any other healthy diet.
You can easily regulate your blood pressure and lower your risk of stroke, heart failure, and even heart attack if you can control what you consume.
Begin by prioritising these healthy options on your shopping list.
Fruits for high blood pressure
Studies show that the nutrients found in citrus fruits, such as lemons, oranges, and grapefruit, can have powerful antihypertensive properties.
They’re loaded with fibre, antioxidants, and certain mineral content (such as potassium and magnesium), that may help in maintaining healthy blood pressure numbers.
Moreover, since fruits are sweet, they make a good substitute for less healthy desserts.
Here are the best fruits for blood pressure management:
- Oranges (in moderation)
Consume about four to five servings of fresh fruits per day. It is preferable to eat the fruit rather than drink its juice.
This is due to the fact that eating the entire fruit contributes important fibre to your diet.
When purchasing canned fruit, ensure it is packaged in water or natural juices rather than syrup. Also, be sure there isn’t any extra sugar or salt.
Vegetables for high blood pressure
Like fruits, vegetables can also help manage blood pressure through a wide variety of multifactorial effects.
A higher intake of vegetables, as part of a healthy dietary plan, plays a prominent role in blood pressure management.
The mechanisms by which vegetables are able to play a crucial role in an antihypertensive dietary intervention vary according to their potassium, magnesium, and fibre content.
Leafy green vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, or collards are rich in nitrates, which help to manage blood pressure.
Carrots are high in phenolic compounds that help relax blood vessels and help lower blood pressure levels.
Other popular vegetables that may have positive effects on blood pressure include:
- Brussels sprouts
- Green peas
- Leafy greens
- Sweet potatoes
Whole-grain foods that lower blood pressure
According to research, eating carbohydrate-rich foods derived from whole grains rather than refined white flour is the best way to manage hypertension.
Whole grains may actually work wonders when included in a high blood pressure diet and is as effective as anti-hypertensive medication.
Dietary fibre is abundant in whole grains such as oats or wholemeal bread. That’s why they’re far healthier than dishes produced with refined white flour.
Make the switch to whole-grain versions of your favourite dishes.
Choose whole-wheat bread over white bread to reduce blood pressure and in extension, reduce the risk of heart diseases, stroke, heart failure etc.
Look for whole-grain versions of these foods:
- Corn tortillas
Reduced-fat dairy lowers blood pressure
Eating low-fat foods as part of a super low-fat diet can lower systolic blood pressure.
A new study shows a statistically significant inverse association between low-fat dairy product intake and systolic BP.
The top figure on a blood pressure reading is systolic blood pressure, which measures blood pressure in the arteries as the heart pumps and is a good predictor of heart disease.
The greater the number, the greater is the risk of heart disease.
Shop for low-fat versions of:
- Cottage cheese
- Cream cheese
- Yoghurt, plain or Greek
Nuts, seeds & beans are good for blood pressure
Studies show that healthful and nutritious nuts, especially pistachios, are helpful for managing high blood pressure and have a strong effect on lowering both your top and bottom blood pressure readings.
Nuts are low in sodium and also contain a variety of nutrients including unsaturated fatty acids and minerals such as magnesium and potassium that regulates your blood pressure and help blood vessels relax.
Nut consumption has been associated with a big boost of magnesium.
Look for low or no-salt versions of:
- Black beans
- Kidney beans
- Pumpkin seeds
- Sunflower kernels
A healthy, balanced diet has a host of health benefits – including lowering high blood pressure readings. Remember, high blood pressure is a silent killer but it can be lowered by making healthier food choices.
So go ahead and tweak your diet to better control or reduce your risk of hypertension.
Also, keep an eye on your blood pressure with regular health checks, to stay on top of your health and minimize the risk of future complications.
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