Did you know that there are some foods that lower blood pressure? While hypertension is a relatively common disease, and hundreds of people are on medication to keep their blood pressures low enough, a study by the University of Hertfordshire found that most people couldn’t name any foods that lower blood pressure naturally. Here’s some of the easiest pressure-fighting foods to fit into your diet…
Oranges have to be one of the best foods that lower blood pressure, as they are just so easy to consume. These citrus fruits are bursting with vitamin C, and studies link high levels of vitamin C with lower blood pressure. Of course, there are plenty of other fruit sources, including tomatoes and strawberries, but a glass of orange juice or a whole orange is a pretty easy snack.
Milk products are packed with compounds such as calcium, potassium and magnesium which fight high blood pressures. They also have a number of benefits, including boosting your bones! The recommended diet to reduce hypertension includes two to three servings of low fat milk per day, which shows just how much you can consume. Just make sure you are choosing a low fat milk – full fat milk is full of saturated fat. For extra nutrients, try snacking on hazelnuts and a glass of milk, or a home-made milkshake.
If you’ve ever recorded a borderline blood pressure at the doctors, you’ve probably been told to snack on bananas. These fruits are known for reducing blood pressure quickly, and are packed with potassium and fibre. Bananas taste their sweetest when their yellow skins are starting to become speckled, but the banana itself is still firm – pick up a few that are at their best, and try adding banana slices to your breakfast, or a yogurt. Potatoes and apricots are also great sources of potassium.
I love sweet potatoes – I’ve got friends who can do amazing things with them! But whether you eat them in a traditional Thanksgiving meal or mix them into a curry, sweet potatoes will do you some good. They are another potassium packed food, and they support the kidneys by causing excess sodium to be excreted. Reduced sodium levels often equal lower blood pressure. Make a quick sweet potato snack by boiling them with sliced apple, celery and scallions, and dressing with olive oil or honey.
Salt should be completely off the menu if you are trying to reduce your blood pressure. That doesn’t mean food has to be bland, though – you just need to get more creative with your herbs. Dried herbs and spices are often sodium free, making them an excellent addition to any meal. There’s even a whole variety of exotic spice mixes you can create in advance!
Any oily fish is good for you, providing omega-3 fatty acids which are essential for both lowering blood pressure and beating cholesterol. Salmon tends to be the most popular fish, and it’s easy to prepare, too. The American Heart Association recommends eating 2 3.5 ounce servings of oily fish per week, so try to add them to your meal plan. Tinned tuna and salmon also count, and poached salmon makes a great sandwich filler!
This has to be one of the best foods that lower blood pressure – dark chocolate. Not only do the flavonols in dark chocolate improve your mood, but they improve the elasticity of blood vessels, protecting you against high blood pressure or strokes. So allow yourself to give in to a few squares of chocolate each day – just choose the darkest brand your taste buds can handle, and opt for a brand that’s full of cacao, which is the source of the goodness.
It’s no surprise that heart issues are becoming a big issue in today’s society – heart disease is said to kill a woman a minute in the US, with over 430,000 women dying of the disease each year. Give yourself a kick in the right direction with these foods that lower blood pressure – I’ll be adding a few to my diet! Do you recommend any others?