High blood pressure is a serious concern for many. With the potential to cause damage that could ultimately lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems, high blood pressure can prove fatal if left untreated.
Although there are many factors that contribute to high blood pressure, including age, race, and family medical history, there are some things you can do to help lower your blood pressure and improve overall health. Diet is one of the most important ways we can influence blood pressure. Here are some of the best foods to eat to help bring blood pressure down and contribute to a healthy heart.
You will probably see vegetables on most lists about eating to improve your health, and there is good reason for that! Leafy greens are some of the best foods to lower high pressure. Very high in potassium, leafy greens held your body eliminate excess sodium and therefore take pressure off your heart. Some of the best leafy greens to reach for include kale, spinach, beet greens, swiss chard, and arugula.
In addition to being sure not to throw out the nutrient-packed greens, the red parts of the beet are also the best foods to lower high blood pressure. Beets are very high in nitric acid which does wonders to open up blood vessels and alleviate pressure. Juice can be a very effective way of consuming high amounts without doing too much prep work, but keep in mind that beets are also a wonderful vegetable to throw into soups, stir-fries, or roasting pans.
Although all berries are the best foods to lower high blood pressure, the blueberry stands out for its very high content of a natural compound called flavonoids. Berries are also easy to incorporate into meals throughout the day. Whether you throw them into a morning bowl of cereal or a smoothie, add them to a salad at lunch, or enjoy them on their own as a light snack and dessert, berries are an easy way to take steps to lower your blood pressure.
More than just a great source of lean protein, fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are also very high in omega-3 fatty acids which can work wonders to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation. Not to mean, some fish also contain vitamin D, which is found very rarely in natural food sources.
This crucial vitamin has a hormone-like effect that has been shown to lower blood pressure. Fish is also easy to prepare and tastes delicious with the addition of a few simple ingredients like olive oil and lemon.
Like berries, seeds are a super simple and very effective way to up your intake of potassium, magnesium, and other minerals known to reduce blood pressure. You can throw them into pretty much any meal you can think of or combine a bunch of different kinds of seeds in energy balls or cookies for a blood pressure-lowering powerhouse.
Another mainstay on the list of miracle foods, garlic has the ability to seriously improve overall health and fight illness. Like red beets, garlic is also a good source of nitric oxide which promotes the widening of arteries to reduce blood pressure.
One of the best ways to enjoy lots of garlic without overwhelming the flavour of the other ingredients is to roast it. By allowing the flavour and aroma to mellow in the over, you can easily incorporate a whole head of garlic into a meal. Roasted garlic is also nice simply spread on bread or mixed with yogurt to make a quick and easy dip.
An ingredient that goes happily well with garlic, olive oil is another great example of a healthy fat. These types of fats contain polyphenols which work to fight inflammation and reduce overall blood pressure. A nice olive oil will also add incredible flavour to any meal and can serve as a great alternative to butter or canola oil in many dishes.
Found most often in the form of dark chocolate, cocoa has also been found to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. You can also prepare cocoa as a drink which can often many benefits also. If you do decide to go with dark chocolate though, make sure you choose a variety that is at least 60 percent cocoa and contains relatively little sugar.
Skim milk and yogurt
Calcium is another important ingredient for lowering blood pressure and skim milk and yogurt both contain high amounts. If you really don’t enjoy the taste of milk, you can still easily add some calcium to your diet by adding yogurt to cereal, smoothies, or dips. As always, be sure you opt for a variety that is low in sugar or sugar-free. You don’t want to decrease the benefits your body is receiving by consuming too much sugar.