What is Hypertension?
High blood pressure or hypertension is one of today’s most common health conditions. It has affected almost 25% of India’s population. But there is good news. The healthiest way to keep in check is by consuming suitable foods for high blood pressure.
Most people take medications, including certain inhibitors (ACE), to reduce blood pressure levels. However, changing your lifestyle habits, like diet, implementing yogic methods, and other physical exercises, can undoubtedly do the trick 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 a cup of coffee, it is not when your heart consistently pumps more blood than usual. That is when your blood pressure gets high, leading to hypertension (poor mental health can also elevate its levels).
Some lifestyle habits that can cause this are smoking, consuming too much salt, lack of physical activities, stress, excessive alcohol consumption, and genetics. These factors greatly influence high blood pressure. The more you are involved in this lifestyle, the higher your chance of developing it.
Hypertension can also damage your health in so many ways. It negatively affects your essential organs: the heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes. It quietly damages your body before symptoms even develop. It leads to poor quality of life, heart attacks, or strokes in more severe cases.
Best Foods To Lower 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 suitable for lowering your blood pressure is essential (especially for people with hypertension). A diet with certain foods containing 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 not be ignored in your diet. They reduce sodium levels in the body, which helps reduce 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 improved 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 it also comes with a host of nutrients, fiber, and antioxidants. Kiwis are widely known for boosting the immune system. 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 highly nutritious, and regularly having it can also boost your health. It has been found to reduce the risk of heart conditions and osteoporosis and 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 various nutrients, including nitrates, that help 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. Hence, they are very powerful in reducing blood pressure levels.
Some 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 keep in tune with them.
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 on alcohol and smoking: Consuming large amounts of alcohol increases your blood pressure drastically. Numerous reports have shown that binge drinking and heavy alcohol consumption enhance heart attacks, stroke, and obesity risks.
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.