With chronic conditions, such as hypertension, being so prevalent today, it is important to protect yourself from this preventable illness. Many people have at least one family member that has hypertension or more commonly known as high blood pressure. This is one condition where family history is a strong indicator, so pay attention to its presence in your own family and keep an eye on your own status by maintaining routine physicals with your physician. In addition to knowing your regular blood pressure levels, there are also some things that you can take into your own hands in terms of lowering your blood pressure. If you have ever had high blood pressure, then your doctor’s top piece of advice to you was probably to alter your diet in some way. This is because your nutrition is directly linked to your cardiovascular health and thus, your risk of high blood pressure.
1) Skim Milk: This may not be one of the first foods that you think about when you consider lowering your blood pressure, but the reason why it is a go-to is because it eliminates some of the unhealthy fats that affect the heart. The calcium and Vitamin D, in particular work to reduce blood pressure levels. In fact, swapping out skim for whole or higher fat dairy options can reduce your risk for hypertension by up to 15%.
2) Spinach: Dark, leafy greens are always praised as healthy super foods, but the folate, magnesium and potassium content found in spinach is great for those with hypertensive conditions. It is high in fiber and low in calories. It is also very versatile and can be eaten raw or added seamlessly into many of your favorite dishes.
3) Sunflower Seeds: This food item is another source of magnesium and therefore, good for lowering high blood pressure. Having a ¼ cup serving may do your heart health justice. Just make sure that you consume the unsalted versions.
4) Beans: These are another fan-favorite, mainly because of their versatility and the wide variety of beans offered. Most know that they are full of fiber, but they also contain potassium and magnesium as well. As an inexpensive option, these should be at the top of your list to try and incorporate into your diet.
5) Baked White Potato: These potatoes contain potassium, which has been mentioned in several of the other foods. The reason why it is so important, because when potassium levels are low, sodium levels rise, which can ultimately lead to heightened blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy balance is essential to relieving hypertension.
6) Bananas: Because of the benefits of potassium, there is no wonder why bananas have made it on the list. Many people enjoy bananas as a snack, but they can easily be integrated into foods like smoothies or on top of cereal to improve any meal.
7) Soybeans: These are another potassium-filled food that also contains magnesium. They are utilized in a lot of Asian cuisines and can be a delicious snack eaten steamed, straight out of the pod.
8) Dark Chocolate: Finally, here is a food item that helps to fight against hypertension and that most will be excited about! This does not mean that you can go crazy and eat al of the chocolate you want. It is still a high calorie, high sugar food. The benefits for lowering blood pressure, however, are very real.
9) Whole Grains: This food group is praised for its many health benefits, mainly due to the fiber content. The fiber and magnesium content are what make this group great for balancing your blood pressure.
10) Garlic: Garlic lovers will be glad to know that there are additional benefits, aside from flavor, that this food contains. It acts as a natural blood thinner, which has an impact on blood pressure. A specific element called allicin that is released in chopped garlic is what distinctively works to reduce hypertension.
11) Flaxseeds: These have been praised in previous articles for their health benefits, and their Omega-3 content, in particular, is what helps to fight inflammation and facilitate the lowering of blood pressure levels.
12) Apricots: There haven’t been many sweets on this list, but here is a treat with dried apricots. The dried versions, specifically, have an impact on hypertension as they contain a soluble fiber that works to relieve it.
13) Pumpkin Seeds: Similar to sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds have the ability to relieve hypertension by preventing inflammation. This is because they contain high levels of zinc.
14) Broccoli: This is not only a common veggie favorite, but also a hypertension fighter as it contains Vitamin C and beta-carotene. This is a kid-friendly option and is another versatile option to incorporate into your diet.
15) Cashew Nuts: Nuts are known for their protein and fiber content, which are great for our health in general. Cashew nuts, in particular, contain magnesium and copper, which we have learned are good for relieving high blood pressure.
Given this long list of food items, there is no reason why a hypertension diagnosis should be irreversible. There are plenty of ways that you can take control of your diet and reverse the signs of high blood pressure. You are bound to find at least a few of these food items that you will enjoy incorporating into your diet.