Hypertension or high blood pressure (HBP) is a stealth condition that is one of the main causes of stroke, heart attacks, and other cardiovascular diseases. Taking medication, as per your doctor’s prescription, is one way to control high blood pressure. However, your diet also plays a critical role in bringing down your blood pressure numbers. Transforming your eating habits and consuming a healthy diet is key to proper HBP management. This type of dietary plan is called Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet. In this article, we read more about foods that help to lower and control high blood pressure naturally.
Role of Diet in High Blood Pressure
It is quite a popular notion to fiddle with your diet to lower or control cholesterol. However, changing your diet to manage high blood pressure is not so straightforward. Still, the food you eat has a direct impact on your blood pressure. Salt is the popular villain and minimizing salt intake can have a positive effect on your blood pressure readings. Nevertheless, limiting blood pressure management to merely reducing salt intake is not the only answer to keep your blood pressure in check. The role of diet in HBP management is far more than that, and including fruits, vegetables, whole-grain carbs, nuts, etc. can have a wholesome effect on your blood pressure.
Skimping saturated fat and high sodium food might give you better results. Lifestyle choices play a critical role in HBP management as well. Cutting back on caffeine and limiting your alcohol consumption also positively affects your blood pressure. By doing this, you can avoid or limit the need for medication to reduce HBP. Therefore, making these lifestyle changes helps you cope with hypertension and improve your overall health.
Best Foods to Control and Lower Hypertension
A healthy diet includes food that is rich in nutrients, and a diet specifically essential for lowering blood pressure has nutrients such as potassium and magnesium. This diet doesn’t necessarily mean eating bland and boring food. Here is a list of few delicious and nourishing foods that helps you control blood pressure naturally without any side effects:
- Citrus fruits- Fruits such as oranges, lemons, and grapefruits are loaded with plenty of vitamins and minerals that aid in reducing blood pressure and its related diseases.
- Berries- Most berries such as strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are a great source of antioxidants that enhances nitric oxide levels in the blood along with other impressive health benefits.
- Yogurt- Research shows that daily intake of yogurt lowers the risk of high blood pressure considerably. Yogurt is calcium-rich which aids in the proper functioning of our blood vessels.
- Green tea- Even though it is advised to limit your caffeine intake to reduce blood pressure, green tea is a blessing in disguise for caffeine addicts! Long-term consumption of green tea reduces your risk of cardiovascular diseases.
- Olive oil- Healthy oils are an essential part of any healthy eating plan. Olive oil has a whole bunch of fatty acids and polyphenols that help lower blood pressure considerably.
- Spinach and other leafy green vegetables- Any vegetable that is green, leafy, and raw is a powerhouse of nutrients such as folic acid and potassium. Moreover, these heart-healthy veggies excrete excess sodium from our body as well!
- Whole-grain foods- These foods are nutrient-dense, especially in fiber. A perfect example is oats which lower both systolic and diastolic (upper and lower) blood pressure readings.
- Pistachios- Nut lovers, rejoice! These all-time favorites are packed with nutrients such as potassium and healthy fats. They help regulate blood pressure by reducing both SBP and DBP.
- Dark chocolate- This chocolate variant reduces HBP as it is a great source of antioxidants. However, be careful not to get carried away as everything good is better in moderation.
- Garlic- Just like berries, garlic bulbs boost nitric oxide levels and ensures the smooth functioning of your blood vessels. They are also a natural antibiotic and a popular alternative to salt as it enhances the flavor of many dishes.
- Lentils, beans, and other pulses- These versatile foods aid in blood pressure regulation and are packed with fiber, magnesium, and potassium. Eating them as a part of a balanced diet would significantly lower your high blood pressure levels.
- Bananas- It is no secret that bananas are loaded with potassium which is vital in managing hypertension effectively. Potassium also brings down sodium levels and thus relaxes the blood vessel walls of your arteries.
- Carrots- These veggie delights are high in both potassium and beta-carotene. Carrots can be eaten raw and carrot juice is effective in maintaining good heart and kidney conditions.
- Beetroot- Beets efficiently lowers HBP in a short period! They are rich in nitrates which eases the tight blood vessels, improving the flow of blood.
- Watermelon- Watermelon is a delectable and easy addition to a tasty and nutritious list of fruits. It has citrulline, which is an amino acid that helps bring down hypertension. Citrulline produces nitric oxide that promotes smooth blood flow through arteries.
Foods to Avoid
Just as there are foods that help relieve high blood pressure, there are foods that can enhance your hypertension as well. We must avoid such foods at any cost. Some foods to avoid the increase in blood pressure are:
- Salt or Sodium- High sodium intake significantly enhances blood pressure. Foods such as processed foods, deli meats, condiments, and frozen or canned foods are typically high in sodium content and should be avoided altogether.
- Caffeine- Caffeine is a troublemaker and the less you include it in your diet, the better for healthy blood pressure numbers. However, your blood pressure may or may not be sensitive to caffeine, as people who regularly consume coffee has had little or no effect on their blood pressure.
- Alcohol- When you drink alcohol in moderation, it can be good for your health as it can potentially lower your blood pressure by a small degree. However, alcohol also has nasty effects on your health when the intake is in larger amounts. Therefore, it is generally advised to limit or stop alcohol intake for HBP management.
- Sugar- Sugar contributes to HBP in several ways. High sugar intake leads to weight gain and obesity, thus increasing your blood pressure levels drastically.
A healthy diet and a mindful lifestyle can help keep hypertension at bay along with risk factors associated with it. It is important to understand that the foods you eat can have good effects as well as adverse effects. Hence, be mindful of unhealthy foods that need to be avoided that lead to a substantial rise in blood pressure, which in turn may further lead to further high-risk illnesses. When you control what you eat, you inevitably control your blood pressure as well. Proper nutrition has a positive effect on your blood pressure and incorporating a balanced diet into your daily routine would produce promising results. All foods listed in this article naturally combats high blood pressure with little or no side effects. Therefore, eating the right foods will eliminate the risk of high blood pressure and your heart will eventually thank you.