10 foods that naturally help lower blood pressure

Honey glazed salmon with avo and citrus salsa.
Honey glazed salmon with avo and citrus salsa.
Image: Supplied

Did you know certain foods can lower your blood pressure, both right away and in the long run? This can be achieved by the use of a method known as “DASH” which means: a Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. 

Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure increases a person’s risk of heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease.

Hence loading up on fruits and veggies, cutting back on salt and including whole grains, fish, poultry, nuts, legumes, and low-fat dairy in your meals can help reduce blood pressure levels.

According to registered dietitian Jamie Vespa of Dishing Out Health, the key to cooking wholesome meals that also work to lower blood pressure is focusing on this mineral: "Potassium can help flush sodium out of the kidneys and counteract salt's role in high blood pressure," Vespa says. "When your sodium-to-potassium ratio is in check, it can help protect your heart from cardiac-related diseases."

Here are the 10 best foods for high blood pressure:

Citrus fruits

Citrus fruits which include grapefruit, oranges, and lemons, may have powerful blood-pressure-lowering effects.

These colourful fruits are loaded with essential vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds that may help keep your heart healthy by reducing heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure.

However, while a study has proven that grapefruit and grapefruit juice may interfere with common blood-pressure-lowering medications, it is important to consult your healthcare provider before adding this fruit to your diet 

Berries

Blueberries, Raspberries and strawberries are just some of the berries that have been associated with blood-pressure-lowering effects. They contain antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid.

Anthocyanins have been shown to increase nitric oxide levels in the blood as it reduces the production of blood-vessel-restricting molecules, which may help lower blood pressure levels.

You can enjoy berries as a snack or sweet treat after meals, or add them to smoothies and oatmeal.

Salmon and other fatty fish

Fatty fish is known as an excellent source of omega 3 fats that have significant heart health benefits.

These fats may help reduce blood pressure levels by reducing inflammation and decreasing levels of blood-vessel-constricting compounds called Oxylipins.

Beans and lentils 

Beans and lentils are noted to be rich in nutrients such as fibre, magnesium, and potassium that can help regulate blood pressure.

Lentils are very versatile. You can use them as a vegetarian alternative to minced beef or add bulk to salads, stews, hearty warm winter soup.

You can get the good stuff straight from the chlorophyll source by making a smoothie with leafy greens such as spinach and chard.
You can get the good stuff straight from the chlorophyll source by making a smoothie with leafy greens such as spinach and chard.
Image: 123RF

Spinach

Known to be high in nitrates, Spinach is also loaded with antioxidants, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, which makes the green plant an excellent choice for people with high blood pressure.

Implementing spinach soup is noted to decrease artery stiffness which may help reduce blood pressure and improve heart health.

 

Pumpkin seeds 

They may be small, but Pumpkin seeds fully packed with plenty of nutrients.

They are known to be a highly concentrated source of nutrients important for blood pressure control, including magnesium, potassium, and arginine, an amino acid needed for the production of nitric oxide, which is essential for blood vessel relaxation and blood pressure reduction.

Carrots

Carrots not only help with eyesight but this crunchy, sweet, and nutritious staple veggie are high in phenolic compounds, such as chlorogenic, p-coumaric, and caffeic acids, that help relax blood vessels and reduce inflammation which helps lower blood pressure levels.

While carrots can be enjoyed cooked or raw, eating them uncooked may be more beneficial for reducing high blood pressure.

Celery

This popular vegetable is noted to have positive effects on blood pressure. It contains compounds called phthalides, which may help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure levels.

A cooked celery intake is significantly noted to reduce blood pressure.

Roast tomatoes and white beans with caper, chilli and mint dressing
Roast tomatoes and white beans with caper, chilli and mint dressing

Tomatoes and tomato products

Tomatoes and tomato products are rich in many nutrients, including potassium and the carotenoid pigment lycopene.

Lycopene has been significantly associated with beneficial effects on heart health and eating foods high in this nutrient, such as tomato products, may help reduce heart disease risk factors like high blood pressure.

Consuming tomato and tomato products helps improve blood pressure which may help reduce your risk of heart disease and heart disease-related death. 

Beetroot, beet greens, and beet juice

Beets and beet greens are remarkably nutritious and eating them may help promote healthy blood pressure levels. They’re high in nitrates, which help relax blood vessels and may lower blood pressure.

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