What is Hypertension?
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of the most common health conditions in today’s generation. It has affected almost 25% of India’s population. But there is good news. There are various ways to naturally lower your blood pressure to bring it to a normal state.
Most people take medications including certain inhibitors (ACE) to reduce blood pressure levels. However, changing your lifestyle habits such as diet, implementing yogic methods and other physical exercises can certainly do the trick for you without costing you any money.
What causes high blood pressure?
While it is natural to experience a temporal spike in blood pressure during your workout routine or after you have a cup of coffee. But what’s unnatural is that when your heart consistently pumps more blood than usual, your blood pressure gets high, and hence it leads to hypertension (poor mental health can also elevate its levels).
Some of the lifestyle habits that can cause this are smoking, consuming too much salt, lack of physical activities, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and genetics. High blood pressure is greatly influenced by these factors. The more you are involved in this type of lifestyle, the higher the chance of developing it.
Hypertension can also damage your health in so many ways. It has negative effects on your important organs: the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. It quietly damages your body before symptoms even develop. It leads to poor quality of life or in more severe cases, heart attacks or strokes.
Best foods to lower your blood pressure:
In this blog, we will be discussing dietary modifications and how implementing or following this nutritious, heart-healthy diet could do wonders for you.
A diet that is suitable for lowering your blood pressure is very essential (especially for people who have hypertension). A diet that includes certain foods that contain nutrients like magnesium and potassium has been said to reduce blood pressure levels.
Let’s now look into various foods that can be beneficial for your health:
1) Bananas: Bananas are highly nutritious and must be not ignored from your diet. They reduce sodium levels in the body which helps in reducing your blood pressure due to their high potassium content. However, you shouldn’t consume too many bananas as they can harm your kidneys. 2 bananas per day is often recommended.
2) Pistachios: These are loaded with lots of nutrients. Also, they are high in antioxidants, low in calories, and rich in protein. Their consumption has been linked to lower blood cholesterol and improve blood pressure levels. Remember, eating too many of them can cause bloating or uncomfortable feelings in your stomach.
A review found that pistachios among all the nuts had the most impact on reducing systolic blood pressure (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP). (1)
3) Kiwis: Adding this delicious fruit to your diet can certainly improve your health in numerous ways. Not only is it tasty, but also comes with a host of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Kiwis are widely known for boosting the immune systems. Daily consumption of kiwis can reduce blood pressure who have mildly raised levels. (2).
Kiwis can also be consumed with food or beverages such as smoothies.
4) Broccoli: Broccoli is also known for its numerous positive effects on your well-being. Including this in your diet can be one of the best approaches to reducing blood pressure. Since it is good for your heart, it lowers the risk of cardiovascular diseases by reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
It contains flavonoid antioxidants that are responsible for improving your blood vessel function and increasing nitric oxide levels in your body. Broccoli is also said to improve hormonal balance and the immune system.
5) Natural or Greek yogurt: Yogurt is very nutritious and having it regularly can also boost your health. It has been found to reduce the risk of heart conditions and osteoporosis, and also aids in healthy weight management. Also, it enhances your immunity and protects you from various infections.
One study reported that yogurt had reduced the risk of high blood pressure in middle-aged women by 20% compared to women who rarely ate yogurt. Yogurt goes well with almost anything – fresh fruits, honey, nuts, and so on. Enjoy having it to satisfy your healthy snack.
6) Green leafy vegetables: These veggies are rich in a variety of nutrients including nitrates, that help to manage hypertension. They play an important role in a healthy diet, loaded with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. In addition, they are low in calories, which aids in losing weight.
Having these veggies on a daily basis supports your overall health, which mainly includes lowered risk of obesity, high blood pressure, and heart diseases.
Some of them include:
4) Mustard greens
7) Citrus fruits: They contain many types of compounds that promote your heart health. Their fiber and flavonoids help raise healthy cholesterol (HDL) and lower unhealthy cholesterol (LDL). These types of fruits are packed with various other vitamins and minerals, and hence they are very powerful in reducing blood pressure levels.
Some of the common yet strongest citrus fruits include – grapefruit, lemons, and oranges. Nonetheless, be aware of how much you intake. High amounts of it may cause cavities. Everything has its limit. Make sure to have them as long as your mind and body agree to it.
Additional tips that you can implement to lower the risk:
1) Avoid too much salt: The sodium content in salt can significantly raise blood pressure. Don’t give yourself the pleasure of taste when it is added in high amounts – food or drinks.
2) Cut down alcohol and smoking: Consuming large amounts of alcohol drastically increases your blood pressure. Numerous reports have shown that binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption enhance the risks of heart attacks, stroke, and obesity.
Even smoking cigarettes can produce a temporary rise in your blood pressure levels.
3) Do yoga or breathing exercises: Yoga poses or pranayama normalize your blood flow as oxygen goes to every part of your body. They are highly effective in reducing stress and blood pressure.