Lowering Blood Pressure by Changing Your Diet

Hypertension, or what is commonly known as high blood pressure, refers to the elevated amount of blood pressure against your arteries.

high blood pressure

Over time, increased blood pressure can impair the blood vessels and lead to many serious health problems, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Hypertension is also known as a silent killer because it does not have any special symptoms and may go untreated for years.

Certain risk factors exist that are out of your control — including age, gender and family history; still, there are many risk factors that can be controlled by individuals, such as diet and exercise. High blood pressure can be significantly lowered by making changes in your diet. There are a variety of foods that can help in reducing blood pressure, such as those discussed below.

1. Berries

Anthocyanins are antioxidant compounds that are present in blueberries and strawberries. They help in lowering blood pressure levels. According to studies, when anthocyanins are consumed in large amounts, the risk of hypertension can be reduced by as much as 8% when compared to eating a low-anthocyanin diet. Berries can be eaten as a snack or dessert, or they can be simply added to oatmeal, salads, or smoothies.

2. Fenugreek Leaves and Seeds

Fenugreek leaves and seeds contain a high amount of soluble fiber, which helps in lowering cholesterol levels. A diet rich in fiber has been shown to stabilize blood pressure levels. Fenugreek leaves and seeds contain low sodium levels, but it should be remembered that while fenugreek can efficiently reduce blood pressure levels, it can also lower blood sugar levels, and therefore it should not be consumed on a daily basis.

3. Beetroot

Beetroot is rich in nitric oxide that helps in dilating the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. Studies have shown, nitrates present in beetroot juice lowered the blood pressure levels of participants in just a period of 24 hours. Therefore, it is best to include beetroot in your diet by cooking the entire beetroot, making beet juice, or adding it to salads. Beetroot also tastes delicious when it is baked or roasted, stir-fried, or added to stews.

4. Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables contain a high amount of nitrates and also help in reducing blood pressure levels. Studies have proposed that hypertension can be decreased by eating two servings of nitrate-rich vegetables every day.

The following are leafy green vegetables that can be included in your diet:

  • Spinach
  • Swiss chard
  • Kale
  • Mustard greens
  • Lettuce
  • Fennel
  • Cabbage
  • Collard greens

To consume your daily requirement of leafy greens, you can add a side dish of sautéed Swiss chard and garlic to your main meal, eat baked kale chips, prepare a salad of raw leafy greens, or add vegetables to curries and stews.

5. Salmon

One of the best sources of lean proteins and omega-3 fatty acids is fresh fish. Salmons are rich in vitamin D, which has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels. You can replace saturated and trans fats like fatty beef and fried foods with a serving of salmon every week.

A simple substitution once a week can help decrease triglycerides, lower the buildup of arterial plaque, and reduce inflammation — all of these being the major contributors to heart disease.

6. Dark Chocolate

High blood pressure can effectively be lowered by consuming a piece of dark chocolate. Studies have indicated that cocoa-rich chocolates can help in reducing high blood pressure levels in individuals suffering from hypertension or prehypertension. However, only high-quality chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa should be selected. Eating one square or a 1 oz piece daily is sufficient.

Regular exercise combined with a healthy diet can considerably reduce the risk of high blood pressure. To maintain steady blood pressure, individuals should start including all the six foods that aid in reducing blood pressure. Various spices, lentils, herbs, oats, nuts, and other fruits and vegetables are additional foodstuffs that help in reducing blood pressure. Individuals should consult their physician in case of any doubts, or for more health tips in lowering the blood pressure.

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Last updated: Jun 7, 2019 at 5:25 AM

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