Heart DiseaseHypertensionNutrition / DietPublic Health

15 good foods to lower blood pressure

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Changing the diet will significantly lower hypertension. Research has shown that some foods can decrease blood pressure, both immediately and in the long run.

High blood pressure is also known as hypertension and affects 1 in 3 people in the United States.

Drugs, dietary changes, and other lifestyle changes can reduce high blood pressure while reducing the risk of related conditions. Having high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease a person can experience.

We address foods in this article that may help reduce high blood pressure and include the scientific evidence.

Fifteen foods that help to lower blood pressure

Several studies have found certain foods can minimize high blood pressure. They look at which foods function, and how they can be integrated into a balanced diet.

1. Berries

Blueberries and strawberries
Blueberries and strawberries contain anthocyanins, which can help reduce a person’s blood pressure.

Blueberries and strawberries contain antioxidant compounds, a form of flavonoid called anthocyanins.

Researchers performed a broad study of hypertension to more than 34,000 people.

We found that those with the highest consumption of anthocyanins — primarily from blueberries and strawberries — had an 8% decrease in the risk of high blood pressure compared with those with a low consumption of anthocyanin.

Love the berries after meals as a snack or a sweet treat, or add them to the smoothies and oatmeal

2. Bananas

Bananas contain plenty of potassium, a mineral which plays a vital role in hypertension management. One medium-sized banana has around 422 milligrams of potassium in it.

Potassium decreases the effects of sodium and soothes discomfort in the walls of the blood vessels according to the American Heart Association.

Adults will aim for a daily intake of 4,700 milligrams (mg) of potassium. Other foodstuffs high in potassium include:

  • avocado
  • cantaloupe and honeydew melon
  • halibut
  • mushrooms
  • sweet potatoes
  • tomatoes
  • tuna
  • beans

People with kidney disease should speak about potassium with their physicians, since too much can be harmful.

3. Beets

Drinking beet juice can cut short- and long-term blood pressure.

Researchers recorded in 2015 that drinking red beet juice contributed to lower blood pressure in people with hypertension who drank about 1 cup of the juice for 4 weeks every day, 250 milliliters. Within 24 hours the researchers observed a few positive results.

Those who drank 1 cup of the beet juice a day in this study had an average reduction in blood pressure of around 8/4 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). This move has put the blood pressure within the normal range for many. A single blood pressure drug lowers concentrations by 9/5 mm Hg on average.

The researchers suggested that a decrease in blood pressure was caused by the high levels of inorganic nitrate from beets.

Each day, it can help drink a glass of beet juice, add beets to salads, or prepare the vegetables as a nutritious side dish. The beetroot juice items can be ordered online.

4. Dark chocolate

This sweet treatment could bring down blood pressure. A study of 15 studies shows that cocoa-rich chocolate in humans with hypertension or prehypertension decreases blood pressure.

Select high-quality chocolate that contains at least 70 percent of cocoa and eat a single slice, or one piece that weighs around 1 ounce a day.

There’s a selection of dark chocolate available to purchase online.

5. Kiwis

According to findings of one study, a daily serving of kiwi will reduce blood pressure in people with slightly elevated rates.

The researchers compared apple and kiwi effects on people with slightly elevated blood pressure.

They found that eating three kiwis a day for eight weeks resulted in a greater reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, compared to eating one apple a day for the same duration. The authors believe the reduction had been caused by the bioactive substances in kiwis.

Kiwis are also rich in vitamin C, which can substantially increase blood pressure readings in people who have been eating about 500 mg of the vitamin daily for around 8 weeks.

Kiwis can quickly be added to lunches or smoothies too.

6. Watermelon

Watermelon contains an amino acid called citrulline, which can help treat hypertension.

Citrulline helps the body produce nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes blood vessels and improves arterial flexibility. Such effects improve blood flow, which can lower hypertension.

In one study, ankles and brachial arteries showed decreased blood pressure in adults with obesity and prehypertension, or moderate hypertension who took watermelon extract. The brachial artery in the upper arm is the principal artery.

7. Oats

Oats contain a form of fiber called beta-glucan that can lower cholesterol levels in the blood. According to some studies, beta-glucan also may lower blood pressure.

A review of 28 trials concluded that higher consumption of beta-glucan fiber may lower the blood pressure, both systolic and diastolic. Barley includes the fiber as well.

Start the day off with a bowl of oatmeal, or use rolled oats to give meat or vegetarian burger patties a texture instead of breadcrumbs.

Oats are available to buy online.

8. Leafy green vegetables

Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates which help with blood pressure control. Some research indicates that consuming 1–2 portions of vegetables rich in nitrate each day can minimize hypertension for up to 24 hours.

Examples of leafy greens include:

  • cabbage
  • collard greens
  • fennel
  • kale
  • lettuce
  • mustard greens
  • spinach
  • Swiss chard

Stir spinach into curries and stews to eat a daily dose of green vegetables, sauté Swiss chard with garlic for a savory side dish, or bake a batch of kale chips.

9. Garlic

Eating Garlic
Eating garlic can increase a person’s nitric oxide levels.

Garlic is a natural food which is both antibiotic and antifungal. Its principal active ingredient, allicin, is also responsible for the health benefits associated with it.

Some research suggests that garlic increases nitric oxide production in the body which helps relax the smooth muscles and dilate the blood vessels. Hypertension may be reduced by those improvements.

One research recorded that in hypertensive people, garlic extract lowered the systolic and diastolic blood pressure.

Garlic can improve many delicious meals, including stir-fries, soups, and omelets. Use garlic rather than salt may further improve heart protection.

10. Fermented foods

Fermented foods are abundant in probiotics, beneficial bacteria that play an important role in preserving well-being in the gut. Eating probiotics that have a moderate impact on high blood pressure, a study of nine studies has shown.

More enhanced effects identified by the researchers while study participants were consuming:

  • multiple species of probiotic bacteria
  • probiotics regularly for more than 8 weeks
  • at least 100 billion colony-forming units a day

Fermented foods to add to the diet include:

  • natural yogurt
  • kimchi
  • kombucha
  • apple cider vinegar
  • miso
  • tempeh

Some people tend to take daily concentrated probiotic supplements. Probiotic supplements can be purchased online.

11. Lentils and other pulses

Lentils are a staple of many diets worldwide, as they are an excellent vegetarian protein and fiber source.

Researchers who researched the effects of a diet rich in pulses on rats reported dropping blood pressure and cholesterol levels in 2014. A total of 30% of the rats’ diet contained beans, peas, lentils, and chickpeas.

Lentils are very polyvalent. Most people are using them as a vegetarian alternative to minced beef or adding bulk to salads, stews and soups. There are a number of lentils available online for purchase.

12. Natural yogurt

The America Heart Association has confirmed yogurt can reduce women’s risk of high blood pressure.

The researchers found that middle-aged women who consumed five or more servings of yogurt per week for 18–30 years reported a 20 percent reduction in the risk of hypertension relative to women of comparable age who seldom eat yogurt.

The men in the sample did not seem to have the same benefits but their intakes of yogurt seemed to be lower.

It is important to remember that this work was sponsored by the US National Dairy Council.

Unsweetened yoghurts, such as regular or Greek yoghurts, tend to benefit more. Enjoy them for a balanced snack or dessert, with fruit, nuts, or seeds.

13. Pomegranates

Drinking 1 cup of pomegranate juice daily for 28 days will minimize high blood pressure in the short term, a 2012 study finding suggests. The researchers attributed the influence to the antioxidant content of the berries.

Although you can enjoy pomegranates whole, some people prefer the juice. When purchasing pre-packaged pomegranate juice, check that no added sugar is present.

14. Cinnamon

Cinnamon can also help to lower blood pressure, in the short term at least.

An analysis of three studies showed that cinnamon decreased short-term systolic blood pressure by 5.39 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by 2.6 mm Hg. However, more research is needed.

Add cinnamon to the diet as an alternative to sugar, by sprinkling it over oatmeal or freshly chopped fruit. Cinnamon is available to purchase in various forms.

15. Pistachios

Consuming pistachio nuts may decrease a person’s risk of hypertension.
Consuming pistachio nuts may decrease a person’s risk of hypertension.

Pistachios are good nuts which can lower hypertension.

One study indicated that in a moderate-fat diet, including pistachio nuts could lower blood pressure during times of stress. This may be because the tightness of blood vessels is diminished by a compound in the nuts.

It’s important to remember that this small-scale research was funded by the Fresno California Pistachio Commission and the American Pistachio Growers.

Certain studies have shown a similar effect for certain nuts, such as almonds.

Snack on plain pistachios, sprinkle them in salads or combine them in pestos. Unsalted nuts are safer and are available to purchase online.

Foods to avoid

While certain foods may relieve hypertension, others can cause significant rises in blood pressure.

People can prevent or reduce hypertension by avoiding the following:

Salt

Sodium can significantly increase blood pressure. Lowering salt consumption by 4.4 grams a day significantly lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure, according to the findings of a study from 2013.

Caffeine

In coffee, tea, cola, and energy drinks caffeine can cause short-term blood pressure spikes.

A review of five trials showed that drinking up to 2 cups of strong coffee could raise the blood pressure of both systolic and diastolic for 3 hours after use.

Such results do not indicate that coffee would in the long run raise blood pressure or the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Alcohol

Consuming small levels of red wine may have some health benefits, but larger amounts of alcohol may cause drastic blood pressure increases.

Heavy intake of alcohol also raises the chances of heart failure, stroke, cancer and obesity.

Outlook

A healthy diet and lifestyle will assist in reducing the risk of hypertension.

Foods that can reduce blood pressure include berries, beans, oats, nuts, lentils, herbs, and spices.

Incorporate these into a healthy diet and perform sufficient physical activity to treat hypertension and improve health overall.

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