High blood pressure, also known as hypertension is the number one risk factor for heart diseases and complications. But, the good news is that it is preventable.
Over a billion people in the world experience high blood pressure or systolic blood (SBP, the top number) pressure which values at 130 mm Hg or more, and diastolic blood pressure (DBP, the bottom number) of more than 80 mm Hg, or both. It affects every 1 in 3 adults in the United States.
While medications like angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are most commonly used to treat high blood pressure, the effects are futile if not combined with a healthy diet and significant lifestyle changes.
Following a nutritious diet rich in certain foods is recommended for people with high blood pressure. However, when we think about a high blood pressure diet, our focus shifts to limiting salt or other processed foods. But a heart-healthy diet should be more than that.
Therefore, in this article, we have discussed the best foods for high blood pressure that you must include in your heart-healthy diet. Read on!
7 Best foods for high blood pressure
- Citrus Fruits
Citrus fruits are known to have blood-pressure-lowering effects. That makes citrus fruits like grapefruit, lemons, and oranges one of the best foods for high blood pressure. Besides, they are packed with essential vitamins, plant compounds, and minerals that keep the heart healthy by reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure and inflammation.
Studies have also shown that drinking fresh juice squeezed from grapefruit and oranges can do wonders for lowering blood pressure.
- Potassium-rich foods
Potassium is a vital mineral that has an important role to play in lowering your blood pressure and managing hypertension. Thus, potassium-rich foods like bananas are one of the best foods for high blood pressure. One whole banana contains around 422 milligrams of potassium.
The American Heart Association has confirmed that potassium reduces the effect of sodium in the body and bloodstream, and also, alleviates the tension that is built-up in the walls of the blood vessels.
Any adult (regardless of any condition) should aim to consume 4,700 milligrams of potassium every day. Other foods for high blood pressure that contain potassium include:
- Cantaloupe and honeydew melon
- Sweet potatoes
However, it should be noted that if you have an underlying kidney condition, you should speak to your doctor before consuming potassium. Too much potassium can be harmful to a kidney disease patient.
Did you know that quinoa is a super grain? Yes, you heard that right! About a half-cup of quinoa contains approximately 15 percent of the magnesium intake you need in a day. Besides, quinoa is rich in plant-based protein and fiber that can help relieve constipation, ward off hunger, curb your appetite, and stabilize blood sugar levels. This makes quinoa one of the best foods for high blood pressure.
Clueless about how to cook quinoa or include it in your meals? Quinoa is a versatile food. You can add it to your salads, use it as a base for the veggie burger patty, or even consume it as a cold cereal for breakfast!
- Salmon and other fatty fish
By this time, you already know that fatty fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are known to have significant heart-health benefits, which makes fatty fish like salmon, tuna, sardines, mackerel, etc, some of the best foods for high blood pressure.
The fats present in fish can lower high blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and decrease the levels of blood-vessel-constricting compounds, known as oxylipins.
This is science-based evidence. Research has linked higher consumption of omega-3 fatty acids food like fatty fish to lower blood pressure levels. A study was conducted with 2,036 healthy people, which found that those with the highest levels of omega-3 fatty acids in their blood had significantly lower SBP and DBP than those with the lowest blood levels of these fats.
Therefore, higher omega-3 intake can be associated with a lower risk of hypertension and heart diseases.
Broccoli is a cruciferous vegetable and one of the best foods for high blood pressure. Cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, are high in all the four magic compounds responsible for lowering high blood pressure and managing hypertension. These four magic compounds are calcium, potassium, vitamin C, and magnesium.
This, too, is a science-based fact. Studies have shown that those who consume diets high in cruciferous vegetables have increased longevity and lower risks of developing heart diseases and complications. Other cruciferous vegetables rich in the four magic compounds are:
- Bok choy
- Brussel Sprouts
- Collard Greens
To get the most essential nutrients out of your broccoli, or any other cruciferous vegetable, try the “hack and hold” method. All you have to do is dice up your vegetable and let it sit for about 40 to 50 minutes. This will allow the inflammation-fighting enzymes to release. Then, you can cook or eat the vegetable as you generally would.
- Peaches and nectarines
Similar to Bananas, peaches and nectarines are some of the most incredible foods for high blood pressure. Peaches and nectarines are fruit cousins that share a lot of amazing benefits for heart health. They have a high potassium content, consuming one big peach or one nectarine a day contributes to about 10 percent of an average person’s daily recommended potassium intake.
The potassium present in peaches and nectarines helps in balancing the water levels in the body and gets rid of the excess sodium.
- Dark Chocolate
Who said foods for high blood pressure couldn’t be fun? Here’s some good news for all sweet tooths: flavanol-rich dark chocolate has been linked to a lowered risk of cardiovascular diseases and hypertension. The flavonoids present in dark chocolate promote healthy blood vessel function. Further, this claim has been confirmed by a May 2017 Study in Heart.
However, stick to a one-ounce serving and don’t go overboard with it.
These were some of the best foods for high blood pressure. Remember to stay consistent with what you do, drink lots of water and lead an active lifestyle. With these golden rules, there is no disease you can’t fight.
Also, read What Is Included In The Alkaline Food List?