Eat Your Way to a Lower Blood Pressure

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You have been watching your blood pressure steadily rise over the past few years...then, during your last doctor's appointment, it happened...you were diagnosed with high blood pressure...now what? Well that is the big question. There are many treatment options available to help lower our high blood pressure but the simplest may be to eat specific foods. Yes, that is correct - eating the right foods can help lower our blood pressure. Why even worry about high blood pressure in the first place? That is a good question. High blood pressure or hypertension (HTN), if left untreated, can lead to severe long term health complications. Like what? Untreated, HTN can lead to: heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, eye disease, dementia, and in some cases death. Okay HTN is serious...so what foods help lower high blood pressure? The most clinically proven foods that help lower high blood pressure include:

Cranberries - A recent study conducted at the University of Pennsylvania showed that consuming two 8 ounce glasses of cranberry juice per day can significantly lower blood pressure.

Prunes - Clinical evidence shows that daily consumption of prunes can significantly lower high blood pressure.

Almonds - Almonds are rich in magnesium...and foods that are rich in magnesium have been shown to lower blood pressure...therefore daily consumption of almonds can help lower blood pressure.

Bananas - A single banana a day can help lower blood pressure by providing our bodies with potassium. Potassium helps our body counteract the negative effects of salt. Consumption of salt can cause our bodies to retain water. When our bodies retain water our blood pressure increases. Potassium, on the other hand, reduces the water retention in our bodies. This reduction in water retention leads to lower blood pressure.

Fish - Types of fish like tuna, cod and trout are rich in omega-3-fats. Our bodies cannot produce omega-3-fats so it is essential for us to eat foods containing this natural heart protector. Why, because omega-3-fats help thin our blood...and when our blood is thinner it is easier for our hearts to pump...and when it is easier for our hearts to pump blood our blood pressure is lowered.

Broccoli - Broccoli is rich in potassium and magnesium, both of which have been shown to lower blood pressure.

Yogurt - A Harvard Medical School study found that individuals who ate three servings of low-fat dairy products per day had lower blood pressure than those who ate less than half a serving per day.

Whole-grain oats - Clinical studies show that at least one serving of whole-grain oats per day can significantly lower blood pressure.

Wow, if I eat those foods on a daily basis they will help lower my blood pressure? Yes, that is what the research is suggesting. However, to get the optimal results from the aforementioned foods we should use the substitution method. What is the substitution method? The substitution method is a process where unhealthy foods are substituted for healthier options. For example, if we usually eat a bag of potato chips in the afternoon for a snack, we substitute almonds for that bag of potato chips. Therefore, we get the healthy benefits of the almonds and NOT the unhealthy consequences of the potato chips. If we can use this method on a daily basis we can eat our way to a lower blood pressure.

About the Author

Marc Macera, PharmD, RPh's picture

1

Comments

Prof. J. Vijaya Ratna's picture

Dear Dr. Marc Macera

 

Thank you for this good information.

 

But if someone is a diabetic, what foods may he/she eat to prevent the onset of hypertension?

 

Vijaya Ratna

Mumita Meshkat's picture

Dear Dr Marc Macera ,

Thank you for your lots of information about one of most common and frequently occurring disease in present world. In my family most of the aged (over 30 years) person has hypertension. They need to take medication daily. Sometimes they also require hospitalization when the condition becomes worse.

 

I heard about a lot of food which have beneficial to our health. Many foods have anti diabetic, anti hypetensive, anti-pyretic, anti-cancer and laxative effect etc. Some fruits we can eat freshly or by making juice of them. Such as banana does not require any processing to eat. But sometime my students ask me green or ripe food work best? And many vegetable can eat freshly as salad but we cannot eat all vegetable freshly some needs to cook. Like you write about broccoli. If someone eats over cooked broccoli, does it control Hypertension? 

Many fish cooking start with frying pieces of fish with oil. I know, all sea fish contain rich source of minerals and omega 3 fatty acid. But frying them may denature omega 3 fatty acid. So cooking process is important to get the heath benefit.

Regards,

Mumita.

 

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