8 Foods to Help Reduce Hypertension

July 25, 2018

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blog_feedheartYou probably already know that obesity can cause hypertension, but did you know there are certain foods that help prevent or lower the risk of high blood pressure? According to the Framingham Heart Study, people suffering from obesity have a 27% increased risk of hypertension. They have an increase in fatty tissue that forces heart to work harder and puts more pressure on the arteries. According to a Center for Disease Control and Prevention report, about 7 in 10 U.S. adults with high blood pressure use medications to treat the condition. The CDC also reported high blood pressure costs the United States about $48.6 billion each year. With healthier choices, we can reduce the amount of medication needed.

Unhealthy diets, especially those high in fats, sugars, and salt, are one of the leading causes of obesity. A healthy nutritional intake that consists of a lot of fruits, vegetables, and lean protein can help people decrease their weight and relieve their hypertension. Additionally, people can effectively lower their blood pressure by consuming certain foods. Referred to as the DASH diet, an intake of foods containing potassium, calcium and magnesium and low amounts of sodium can help stabilize high blood pressure. Here are some foods that fit the DASH diet:

Berries, especially blueberries and strawberries, are rich in natural compounds. According to a study in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the combination of antioxidants and the compounds found in berries might prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure.

Berries are easy to include in your diet. You can add them on top of your cereal in the morning, or keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthy snack at work.

A 2013 study in Nutrition Journal found that beet juice can reduce blood pressure just 24 hours after consumption. While the reduction was minimal because of the time frame, longer studies have shown similar results. Beets naturally contain compounds that ease pressure on the arteries. Beets can also help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure.

While you can juice your own beets, you also cook the whole root and add it to your favorite stew or stir-fries. Another option is baking and slicing them into chips for a delicious on-the-go snack.

Dark Chocolate
A 2015 Harvard study found that eating up to 100 grams, or a small square, of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure, especially for people suffering from hypertension. The benefits come from the cacao in the chocolate. A cacao-rich dark chocolate should contain at least 70% cacao.

While it may be tempting to eat the whole bar of chocolate, only a small square once a day is necessary to see the benefits. Chocolate can be loaded with extra calories, so watch out for overindulging.

This one may surprise people as eggs have a questionable reputation when it comes to cholesterol and hypertension, but recent research shows that this protein-loaded food can actually lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels. According to the American Journal of Hypertension, eggs, and other protein-rich foods, can help lower blood pressure naturally while promoting weight loss.

We’re sure you know all the ways eggs can be prepared, but avoid overindulging on unhealthy condiments, which can loaded with salt and sugar.

Though you may think fatty foods can’t possibly help with high blood pressure, fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, are the exception to that rule. These fish are loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation and can lower the risk of heart disease blood pressure.

Whether you prefer baking or grilling your fish, watch out for added side-dishes. To get additional flavor in your dish, try topping your fish with herbs and lemon.

Leafy Greens
Leafy greens are loaded with potassium, which help your kidneys get rid of excess sodium in your body. This can help relieve hypertension and lower blood pressure. High-potassium, leafy greens include: spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, and arugula.

Make sure you’re getting greens fresh or frozen, as canned vegetables often have added sodium. Fresh veggies are your best bet, but their frozen alternative contain just as many nutrients and are easier to store.

Sweet Potatoes
Loaded with vitamin C and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes are the perfect snack to curb cravings and lower blood pressure. Sweet potatoes are also high in potassium and magnesium, which increase kidney function and maintain healthy levels of blood pressure.

They’re also one of the most versatile options on this list. You can bake your potatoes or cut them into chips or fries. They go with basically any meal, but make sure you’re avoiding the extra butter or ketchup, which can add calories and increase blood pressure.

Olive Oil
While it may seem weird to see oil on a list of foods that help with high blood pressure, olive oil is a healthy fat, loaded with nutrients. A 2015 study conducted by UC Davis showed that a healthy dose of extra virgin olive oil can effectively lower blood pressure and reverse the effects of hypertension.

Though it is beneficial, olive oil is still a fatty oil, so limit how much you take in everyday and make sure that you are getting the extra virgin variety. You can learn more about healthy fats by listening to the latest episode of the CMWL podcast.

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