Combatting High Blood Pressure Through Diet

In most cases, the causes of high blood pressure are not known. What is, however, clear is that the food you consume can have a direct effect on your blood pressure positively or negatively. Certain foods can lead to a spike in blood pressure, while others can lower and stabilize it. Here, we tell you what you should and shouldn’t eat to keep your blood pressure in check.

Foods that Lower Blood Pressure

Dietary changes, together with medication and exercise, can go a long way to controlling your blood pressure instantly and in the long term. Understand that hypertension increases your chances of developing other serious health conditions, including kidney disease, heart disease, and stroke. Research has found that certain foods can help to combat hypertension.

Leafy Green Vegetables

Leafy green vegetables have a high concentration of nitrates necessary for managing blood pressure. They are also rich in potassium, a concentrate that enables your kidneys to release more sodium through urine, thereby lowering blood pressure. Try to consume more:

  • Spinach
  • Kale
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Turnip greens
  • Beet greens
  • Arugula
  • Collard greens
  • Swiss chard

You want to avoid canned vegetables, as these typically contain extra sodium. Instead, you could choose the frozen vegetables, which are just as rich in nutrients as the fresh veggies.

Red Beets

Beets are loaded with inorganic nitrate, which is excellent at opening up the blood vessels and lowering blood pressure. During digestion, the compound is converted to nitric oxide, causing the arteries to dilate further. Research has found that hypertensive people who took one cup of beet juice for at least four weeks reported lower blood pressure. You could prepare the beets as a healthful vegetable side dish, juice them or add them to your salad.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is a low-fat diet with high fiber and low sodium, all necessary for lowering blood pressure. Oats contain beta-glucan, a fiber that also reduces the levels of blood cholesterol. Improve your blood pressure by eating rolled oats for breakfast or oat bran. You could also use them in place of breadcrumbs for crumbing or add them to meat patties.

Garlic and Herbs

Garlic has been found to reduce blood pressure by boosting the amount of nitric oxide in the body, which is known to widen the arteries and reduce hypertension. Note that garlic is an antifungal food and is also a natural antibiotic.

Including herbs into your diet can also help you reduce the intake of sodium. Some of the herbs you should consider adding to your daily diet include cinnamon, rosemary, thyme, and basil, among others.

Foods to Avoid

If you are living with hypertension, you will need to limit sodium intake and stay away from sugary beverages, red meat, and sweets as much as possible. Also, you are advised to minimize the intake of processed and pre-packaged foods.

Salt

Also known as sodium, salt is used as a flavor enhancer and a preservative. However, for people with high blood pressure, sodium is not recommended. When you eat too much salt, the body holds extra water to clean the salt out of your body. This added water puts a lot of stress on the blood vessels and the heart leading to a spike in blood pressure.

Alcohol

Consuming alcohol, even in moderation, can raise blood pressure. As soon as a hypertensive person consumes alcohol, the blood pressure levels tend to get lower, only to rise significantly later. Understand that drinking a lot of alcohol raises blood pressure almost instantly, particularly in men. Furthermore, alcohol can also stop hypertension medication from working effectively.

Caffeine

Caffeine is a substance present in coffee, energy drinks, tea, and most sodas. A high intake of this substance can raise blood pressure. For some, however, coffee may not increase blood pressure, meaning it is advisable to monitor your response to caffeine.

High blood pressure is known as a silent killer because it does not present with any symptoms. The good news is a healthy diet can manage your hypertension. Begin by making healthful changes in your lifestyle and eating habits.