7 Foods To Lower Blood Pressure
By Stephanie April 27, 11:00 AM
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, refers to the pressure of blood against your artery walls. Over time, high blood pressure can cause blood vessel damage that leads to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed — and untreated — for years.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 75 million Americans have high blood pressure. Many risk factors for high blood pressure are out of your control, such as age, family history, gender, and race. But there are also factors you can control, such as exercise and diet. A diet that can help control blood pressure is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber and lower in sodium.
Read on to learn which foods can help you fight hypertension.
Research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition now suggests walnuts, long touted as healthy, may lower blood pressure. When adults ate about ½ cup of walnuts daily for four months, they had better blood flow, lower blood pressure and smaller waists. Plus, they didn’t gain weight even though they added over 350 calories of walnuts daily. Walnuts deliver healthy fats, magnesium and fiber, which may be the reason they’re good for BP.
Don’t just eat ’em, drink ’em too. When people with high blood pressure drank 8 ounces of beet juice, their blood pressure dipped an average of 10 points for up to 24 hours afterwards, notes a study published in Hypertension. While this study was relatively small (and beet’s long-term effects on blood pressure weren’t studied), research suggests that eating nitrate-rich foods like beets and green leafy vegetables could help people with hypertension by widening blood vessels and aiding blood flow.
Eating 3 tablespoons of these nutty seeds daily for 6 months helped people with hypertension lower their blood pressure by an average of 10 percent, says a study published in the journal Hypertension. People who didn’t eat flaxseed saw no change or even a slight increase. Researchers believe the anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3 fats in combination with lignans (a phytoestrogen) and fiber may be the reason flax is good for blood pressure.
Gazpacho is a popular cold soup typically made from tomato, cucumber, green peppers, garlic and olive oil and many of these ingredients protect against high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for heart attack or stroke. By analyzing the diets of some 3995 Spanish individuals at high risk of heart disease, it was found that people who reported regularly consuming Gazpacho were much less likely to have high blood pressure (hypertension).
The effectiveness of potassium-rich foods in lowering blood pressure has been demonstrated by a number of studies. Banana is one of the best sources of potassium. According to the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) diets containing foods that are good sources of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.
It is an essential mineral that plays a key role in maintaining blood pressure and normal heart function. Moreover, potassium also helps the body to maintain fluid and electrolyte balances in the cells, which helps control blood pressure. A medium-sized banana provides 350 mg of potassium. People with a low amount of potassium in their diet are at an increased risk of stroke.
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.
The findings revealed that, especially when coupled with a healthy diet, the yogurt supplementation decreased the women’s cardiovascular disease (including stroke) risk by 17 percent while men’s risk was slashed by 21 percent compared to folks who consumed less than one monthly serving of the snack.
“We hypothesized that long-term yogurt intake might reduce the risk of cardiovascular problems since some previous small studies had shown beneficial effects of fermented dairy products,” Justin Buendia, one of the study’s authors, explained to Science Daily. “Here, we had a very large cohort of hypertensive men and women, who were followed for up to 30 years. Our results provide important new evidence that yogurt may benefit heart health alone or as a consistent part of a diet rich in fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.”