Tasty foods that can help bring down your blood pressure!
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is one of the most common, preventable health issues around. It's estimated that 1 in 4 men and 1 in 5 women across the world, or over 1.13 billion people, live with high blood pressure.
The most common type of hypertension is 'Primary Hypertension', meaning there is no known cause for it, and is likely a result of lifestyle, diet, environment and age.
In fact there are many things that can cause primary hypertension, including:
- A diet high in salt/fat
- A diet low in fruit and vegetables
- Obesity and being overweight
- Lack of physical activity
- Getting older (over 65s are at greater risk
- Race (people of black African or Caribbean descent have increased risk)
- Poor sleep
- Smoking and alcohol
One of the best ways to lower your blood pressure is to adjust your diet, lose excess fat and increase your movement. Getting a healthy, nutritious diet is advised for both those with and without blood-pressure medication (please note the below advice is not to replace medical advice, please seek a doctor fi you have concerns over high blood pressure).
Research has shown that specific foods can reduce your blood pressure levels, particularly those high in certain nutrients i.e magnesium, potassium and calcium.
These amazing foods can work wonders with your blood pressure:
Leafy greens like spinach, broccoli, kale, or collard are high in potassium.
Reports on sodium & potassium have suggested that changing the balance between potassium and sodium can help the heart and arteries.
Great for: Stir fries, salads, spring greens, soups, side dishes, shakes.
Berries contain high levels of 'anthocyanins', which give the berries their colour.
Anthocyanins are thought to increase the blood's nitric oxide levels and reduce the production of blood-vessel-restricting molecules, which may help reduce blood pressure.
Great for: Snacking, Porridge, yoghurts, cereal, smoothies, juices
Seeds (pumpkin, chia, flax) are filled with nutrients that are essential for healthy blood pressure regulation, including potassium, magnesium, and fibre.
Many studies have shown that seeds reduce blood pressure compared to a placebo.
Great for: Salads, snacking, toppings
Oats contain a fibre called 'beta-glucan', and trials have shown this could reduce blood cholesterol levels, and also lower blood pressure.
Oats are also filled with fibre, which helps to lower blood pressure, and are so varied!
Great for: overnight oats, porridge, protein shakes, granola.
Research has suggested that garlic can increase the production of 'nitric oxide', which helps he blood vessels to dilate, decreasing hypertension.
Studies have shown that garlic reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
Plus you can add it to practically every meal!
Great for: Sauces, curries, dressings, marinades.
Nuts are famed for their health benefits, but specifically for hypertension, choose pistachios. Studies have shown that they may lower blood cholesterol and appear to have the most powerful effect on lowering both blood pressure readings.
Great for: Snacking, salads, toppings
Legumes are rich in nutrients such as fibre, potassium and magnesium, which can help regulate blood pressure. Studies regularly show beans have a positive impact on blood pressure for people with and without high blood pressure.
Legumes and beans are also high in fibre, helping to ward off coronary heart disease, aswell.
Great for: curries, salads, stews.
Studies have shown that drinking beetroot juice can reduce your blood pressure within hours! It is suggested that beetroot’s high levels of inorganic nitrate can cause a great reduction in blood pressure.
Great for: Roasted, salads, juices,
Excitingly dark chocolate has been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension. Only eat a small amount though! It's only recommended 1 square per day.
And make sure you choose dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa.
Great for: Snacks, treats.
Research has suggested that low-fat yoghurt, specifically the calcium it contains, has been shown to reduce blood pressure in many studies.
Calcium is great for regulating blood pressure.
Great for: Breakfast, snacks, smoothies, shakes