High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
7 Foods That Are Good For High Blood Pressure
Hypertension: The Silent Killer
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious health problem common among Americans. Over time, it causes blood vessel damage that can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems.
Hypertension sometimes is called the silent killer because, by itself, it produces no symptoms. If you don’t get your blood pressure checked regularly, hypertension could go unnoticed, and untreated, for years.
High Blood Pressure and Diet
Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure, such as the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol.
The DASH guidelines also suggest eating more foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. The following slides present some of the best foods you can eat to lower your blood pressure.
Foods high in potassium give you a better ratio of potassium to sodium. Improvements in this ratio can help with lowering blood pressure. Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium.
Try to opt for fresh or frozen greens, as canned vegetables often have added sodium. Frozen vegetables, on the other hand, contain just as many nutrients as they do when fresh and are easy to store.
Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that consuming these compounds may prevent hypertension, and possibly help to reduce high blood pressure as well.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet. Put them on your cereal every morning. Keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthful dessert.
Potatoes are high in both potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. They are also high in fiber, which is necessary for an overall healthy diet. Enjoy a baked potato as the centerpiece of your dinner. Instead of fattening and salty butter and sour cream, try adding plain yogurt or salsa for flavor.
Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London found that patients with high blood pressure saw significant improvements in blood pressure from drinking beetroot juice. The study authors concluded that it was the nitrates in the juice that brought down the 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 when added to stir-fries and stews. Remember to use caution when handling beets—their deep red color will stain your hands and clothes.
The DASH diet recommends increasing the amount of calcium-rich foods that you eat. Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat, another important element of a diet for lowering blood pressure.
Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk, or if you don’t care for milk, eat more low-fat or non-fat yogurt. Just watch out for those that are high in sugar.
High-fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium foods are just what you want for lowering your blood pressure, and oatmeal fits the bill. Oatmeal for your breakfast is a great way to charge up for the day.
On its own, oatmeal can be bland, but refrain from adding too much sugar. Instead, add fresh or frozen berries to sweeten it up, and maybe just a touch of honey.
Bananas are a great way to add potassium to your diet. Adding foods that are rich in this mineral to your diet is better than taking supplements, and it’s easy. Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or take one to work every day for a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack.
Cassidy, A., O’Reilly, E.J., Kay, C., Sampson, L.,
Franz, M., Forman, J.P., Curhan, G., & Rimm, E.B. (2011, February).
Habitual Intake of Flavonoid Subclasses and Incident Hypertension in Adults. Am J Clin Nutr, 93(2), 338-347. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/93/2/338.full
● Diet and Hypertension. (2013, February). Colorado State University. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/foodnut/09318.html
● Following the DASH Eating Plan. (2012, July 22). National Institutes of Health. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/followdash.html
● Nitrate in Beetroot Juice Lowers Blood Pressure. (2010, June 29). Queen Mary University of London. Retrieved August 19, 2013, from http://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/smd/31048.html