Foods that Help Reduce High Blood Pressure
Did you know you can reduce your blood pressure with foods currently (most likely) in your kitchen? Did you know that diet and lifestyle changes can significantly regulate high blood pressure?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 million adults have high blood pressure (nearly one in three of adults). Research has shown that certain foods can lower blood pressure. Dietary changes and other lifestyle modifications can reduce high blood pressure while lowering the risk of associated conditions.
**In this article, we discuss foods that can help to reduce high blood pressure and provide the scientific evidence.
Flavonoids are powerful antioxidants found in berries that have been linked to lower blood pressure and hypertension. That’s why berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and other berries) are ideal to have handy think: add to oatmeal, yogurt, or smoothies. A study found that people with hypertension who had the highest intake of antioxidants from berries reduced their risk of high blood pressure by 8 percent.
People with high blood pressure who drank a daily eight-ounce glass of beetroot juice experienced a decrease in blood pressure, according to a study published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension. The magic ingredient? Nitrate, which turns into nitric oxide, a gas that widens blood vessels and aids blood flow. The researchers suggested that beet's high levels of inorganic nitrate caused the reduction in blood pressure.
Foods that lower blood pressure and taste great? Dark chocolate is at the top of the list. This bittersweet food is rich in antioxidant-flavanols, which make blood vessels more elastic and have been shown in numerous studies to lower blood pressure, improve blood flow to the brain and heart, and make blood platelets less sticky and able to clot, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Choose high-quality chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa, and consume a single square, or a piece measuring about 1 ounce.
A wide body of research has shown that eating oatmeal can lower blood pressure. One study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that eating beta-glucan (a special fiber found in oats) every day lowered blood pressure in men and women who had elevated blood pressure. Plus, the fiber can help you maintain a healthy body weight and prevent obesity, a risk factor for high blood pressure.
Start the day off with a bowl of oatmeal, or use rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs to give texture to meat or veggie burger patties.
Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables are rich in nitrates, which help to manage blood pressure. Some research suggests that eating 1–2 servings of nitrate-rich vegetables every day can reduce hypertension.
Examples of leafy greens include:
· collard greens
· mustard greens
· Swiss chard
To consume a daily dose of green vegetables, stir spinach into curries and stews, sauté Swiss chard with garlic for a tasty side dish, bake a batch of kale chips, or slip them in smoothies
A whole food diet and lifestyle can help to reduce the risk of hypertension. Incorporate these into a balanced diet and engage in adequate physical activity to treat hypertension and improve overall health. There isn't a single "magic" food in this list. Instead, it's the foundation for an all-around healthful eating strategy that is good for blood pressure and so much more.
Do you have high blood pressure? Have you made lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure? Please share with us #nutrition_connections. We would love to hear from you!
By: Carol Aguirre MS, RD/LDN
Zhipeng Yu. Journal of Agricultural Food Chemistry: 2014. “Antihypertensive Effect of Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitory Peptide RVPSL on Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats by Regulating Gene Expression of the Renin–Angiotensin System.”
Lee Y. 2017. Journal of the American Heart Association: “Effects of Dark Chocolate and Almonds on Cardiovascular Risk Factors in Overweight and Obese Individuals: A Randomized Controlled-Feeding Trial.”
American Heart Association Council on Epidemiology and Prevention Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. (2018, January.) Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics—2018 Update: A Report From the American Heart Association.
“DASH Eating Plan.” National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.
Karin Ried, Thomas Sullivan, Peter Fakler, Oliver R Frank, and Nigel P Stocks. (2010, June.) Does chocolate reduce blood pressure? A meta-analysis.
Vikas Kapil, Rayomand S. Khambata, Amy Robertson, Mark J. Caulfield, Amrita Ahluwalia. (2014, November.) Dietary Nitrate Provides Sustained Blood Pressure Lowering in Hypertensive Patients.