10 Foods That Help Lower Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, has been a serious health concern for quite some time. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 75 million Americans currently have high blood pressure.
Known as the silent killer for a reason, hypertension develops over time and most people are not aware they have it. Sadly, people may often not realize until they are diagnosed with heart or kidney disease, which stems from high blood pressure.
There is always a reason to get your blood pressure checked regularly with your doctor. Outside of that, if you do have concerns, you can always make lifestyle changes that help to lower blood pressure naturally.
The increased pressure pushing your blood through arteries can cause serious damage over time. Artery walls can become weakened, and blood vessels can be permanently damaged with continued exposure to high blood pressure.
With no observable symptoms, hypertension creeps up, and when left untreated, leads to serious cardiovascular complications, including heart attack and stroke. What may seem minor at first, can spiral out of control into problems that can ultimately lead to death.
Studies have found that a major contributor to high blood pressure is our diet, specifically sodium and sugar intake. Knowing this allows you to change your diet, so you can keep blood pressure low and remain heart healthy.
Foods That Help Lower Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, the typical American diet consists of a large amount of processed and sugary foods, which are damaging to your body in many ways. The best course of action is to curb these foods and replace them with healthier options.
Several foods are available that can help you regulate your blood pressure while providing healthy and essential nutrients. If you worry about hypertension because it runs in your family or you have other risk factors, then consider switching up your meal plans to get control over your blood pressure before it kills you.
The foods below can help you to lower blood pressure and prevent serious damage to your arteries and blood vessels. Foods that are low in sodium and high in calcium, magnesium, or potassium can help to cut your risk of stroke or heart attack in half.
Switch out some of your usual snacks and meals to include these items to promote a healthier cardiovascular system and enhance your overall health for the long run.
White Beans: One cup of white beans delivers 13 percent of the calcium, 30 percent of the magnesium, and 24 percent of the potassium you need every day. Providing the three power nutrients and remaining low in sodium, white beans are an ideal heart healthy food to add to any dish.
Be sure to rinse well if you used canned versions, to remove any sodium used during canning.
Fat-Free Plain Yogurt: With one cup of yogurt, you get 49 percent of the calcium, 12 percent of the magnesium, and 18 percent of the potassium you need for the day. Perfect for breakfast with some added fruit or used to make sauces and dressings, plain yogurt is a great choice.
Make sure you always buy the low-sugar varieties that are free of flavorings.
Kiwi: One single kiwi a day provides small amounts of the three power nutrients but makes a much healthier snack than chips or candy. They also contain more vitamin C than oranges, so, combined with having no sodium, these furry fruits are good for your entire body.
Kale: Cooked or raw, one cup will provide 9 percent of the calcium and potassium and 6 percent of the magnesium you need daily. Kale is also low in calories and is widely hailed as a superfood because of the large dose of antioxidants it contains, which help to protect your cells from oxidative damage.
They are a great base for any salad and also possess a plant-based fat known as alpha-linolenic acid, which reduces inflammation. Since inflammation also contributes to cardiovascular problems, kale provides double protection.
Pork Tenderloin: Pork gives you magnesium and a decent dose of potassium. As an alternative to other red meats that can contribute to hypertension, this leaner cut of protein is good for regulating blood pressure levels.
It is best to grill or broil the tenderloins, rather than fry them, to ensure you can take advantage of the nutrients without consuming unwanted fats.
Bananas: Known for high potassium content, bananas should be eaten daily for those worried about hypertension. No need to get rid of them if the peel turns brown.
You can mash them up and a make a heart healthy smoothie. Bananas also help to lower stress hormone production, and too many of those can elevate blood pressure, so it is best to keep them to a minimum.
Broccoli: One cup of cooked broccoli gives you small amounts of calcium and magnesium and 14 percent of your daily potassium. Not only can broccoli help to strengthen blood vessels and artery walls, it also possesses cancer-fighting phytonutrients, making it a super-healthy addition to any meal.
Quinoa: With an impressive amount of magnesium to support blood coagulation and flow, quinoa is a healthy side dish that is also high in protein. It is easier and quicker to cook than rice and also contains phytonutrients that help to stave off cancer cell growth.
Avocado: Although fairly high in potassium, avocados are better known for the heart healthy monounsaturated fats they contain. Avocados are perfect to use in salads because they help to fill you up without unnecessary carbohydrates and fats.
They also contain carotenoids, which are useful in preventing cancer and protecting cells throughout your body.
Sweet Potato: As a dessert, side dish, or added to a smoothie, sweet potatoes deliver all of the power nutrients that promote heart health and can help to regulate blood pressure levels. The best part about sweet potatoes is that they can be included in every meal of the day, ensuring you support your heart all day long.
The bottom line is that your blood pressure is so much more than just a set of numbers: It is a solid indicator for the state of your health. High blood pressure can be the sign of a more serious disease or health issue, so you should always pay attention to those numbers.
There are certain factors that increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, including smoking, family history, excessive alcohol consumption, poor diet, and diabetes. Whether these factors apply to you or not, it is a good idea to get your blood pressure checked regularly.