Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol.
The DASH guidelines also suggest eating more foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. In general, you should eat more low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. The following slides present some of the best foods you can eat to lower your blood pressure.
Foods high in potassium give you a better ratio of potassium to sodium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure.
Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium.
Opt for fresh or frozen greens because canned vegetables often have added sodium. Frozen vegetables contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetables and they are easy to store.
Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study found that consuming these compounds might prevent hypertension, and possibly help to reduce high blood pressure.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet. Put them on your cereal every morning. Keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthful dessert.
Potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. They are also high in fiber, which is necessary for an overall healthy diet.
Enjoy a baked potato as the centerpiece of your dinner. Instead of fattening and salty butter and sour cream, try adding plain yogurt or salsa for flavor.
Researchers found that people with high blood pressure saw significant improvements from drinking beetroot juice. The study authors found that the nitrates in the juice brought down the participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours.
You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root. Beetroot is delicious when roasted or when added to stir-fries and stews.
Remember to use caution when handling beets. Their deep red color could stain your hands and clothes.
The DASH diet recommends increasing the amount of calcium-rich foods that you eat. Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure.
Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk, or if you don’t care for milk, eat more low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Just make sure to avoid yogurt that is high in sugar.
High-fiber, low-fat, and low-sodium foods are just what you want for lowering your blood pressure, and oatmeal fits the bill.
Oatmeal for your breakfast is a great way to charge up for the day.
On its own, oatmeal can be bland. But refrain from adding too much sugar. Instead, add fresh or frozen berries to sweeten it up, and maybe just a touch of honey.
Bananas are a great way to add potassium to your diet. Eating foods that are rich in this mineral is better than taking supplements.
Slice a banana into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal, or take one to work every day for a quick, easy, and inexpensive snack.
- Bellows, L., Moore, M. (2013, February). Diet and hypertension. Retrieved from http://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/diet-and-hypertension-9-318/
- Cassidy, A., O’Reilly, E. J., Kay, C., Sampson, L., Franz, M., Forman, J. P., Curhan, G., … Rimm, E. B. (2011, February). Habitual intake of flavonoid subclasses and incident hypertension in adults. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 93(2), 338-347.Retrieved from http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/93/2/338.full
- Following the DASH eating plan. (2015, September 16). http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash/followdash.html
- Nitrate in beetroot juice lowers blood pressure. (2010, June 29). Retrieved fromhttp://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/smd/31048.html