Your diet – what you eat and drink – has a real effect on your heart and blood pressure.
The healthier your eating habits are, the lower your blood pressure will be. If you have high blood pressure, it is even more important to make healthy changes to your diet. If you take medicines for your blood pressure, then a healthy blood pressure diet can reduce the number you may need. For a few people, following blood pressure friendly eating habits may help them to avoid medicines altogether. Here is a list of 10 foods that work and how to incorporate them into a healthful diet:
Potassium helps your kidneys get rid of more sodium through your urine. This in turn lowers your blood pressure.
Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include:
- romaine lettuce
- turnip greens
- collard greens
- beet greens
- Swiss chard
Canned vegetables often have added sodium. But frozen vegetables contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables, and they’re easier to store. You can also blend these veggies with bananas and nut milk for a healthy, sweet green juice.
Beets are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Researchers also found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered research participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours. You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or added to stir-fries and stews. You can also bake them into chips. Be careful when handling beets – the juice can stain your hands and clothes.
milk and yogurt
Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. You can also opt for yogurt if you don’t like milk. According to the American Heart Association, women who ate five or more servings of yogurt a week experienced a 20 percent reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure.
Try incorporating granola, almond slivers, and fruits into your yogurt for extra heart-healthy benefits. When buying yogurt, be sure to check for added sugar. The lower the sugar quantity per serving, the better.
Oatmeal fits the bill for a high-fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up for the day. Overnight oats are a popular breakfast option. To make them, soak 1/2 cup of rolled oats and 1/2 cup of nut milk in a jar. In the morning, stir and add berries, granola, and cinnamon to taste.
Salmon, mackerel, and fish with omega-3s
Fish are a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish like mackerel and salmon are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower triglycerides. In addition to these fish sources, trout contains vitamin D. Foods rarely contain vitamin D, and this hormone-like vitamin has properties that can lower blood pressure. One benefit of preparing fish is that it’s easy to flavor and cook. To try it, place a fillet of salmon in parchment paper and season with herbs, lemon, and olive oil. Bake the fish in a preheated oven at 450°F for 12-15 minutes.
Garlic and herbs
One review notes that garlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.
Pistachios are a healthy way to decrease blood pressure by reducing peripheral vascular resistance, or blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. One study found that a diet with one serving of pistachios a day helps reduce blood pressure. You can incorporate pistachios into your diet by adding them to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads, or by eating them plain as a snack.
Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study found that consuming these compounds might prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet. You can put them on your cereal or granola in the morning, or keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthy dessert.
Eating foods that are rich in potassium is better than taking supplements. Slice a banana into your cereal or oatmeal for a potassium-rich addition. You can also take one to go along with a boiled egg for a quick breakfast or snack.
Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that you can enjoy raw or as a juice. One study concluded that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure over the short term. Pomegranate juice is tasty with a healthy breakfast. Be sure to check the sugar content in store-bought juices, as the added sugars can negate the health benefits.
Including these foods everyday will put you on a path to good health. More of these foods means less of the foods that may be too high in salt or saturated fat. Limiting your salt and saturated fat intake is important for your heart health, and the health of your blood vessels. Choose the above foods and know you’ll be automatically lowering your salt and saturated fat intake.
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Chen is a Functional Nutrition expert consultant, leading authority on weight management, women’s health and gluten sensitivity. She is a clinician, public speaker, educator and Amazon Best Seller author of “What If Gluten Free Is Not Enough – The Balanced Diet”.
Chen uses Functional Nutrition to help you find answers to the root causes of your illness and address the biochemical imbalances that may trigger your health and weight. She uses cutting edge lab testing and design the nutritional program to your specific needs as an individual. Food, supplements, lifestyle changes will have integrated to bring balance
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