Leafy greens, like spinach and kale, may help reduce blood pressure, thanks to magnesium. Research has found taking 300 milligrams of the mineral a day for one month can elevate blood magnesium levels and reduce blood pressure. Furthermore, a press release on the research reads, “High magnesium levels in the blood were linked to improvements in blood flow, another factor associated with lowered blood pressure.” Additional foods that are high in magnesium include whole grains, beans, and nuts.
Tip: Meat lovers, rejoice! This lean cut provides plenty of meaty flavor and satisfaction without the overload of saturated fat found in fattier types of beef and pork. Cook larger tenderloins (or do several on the grill or in the oven) and store leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer for fast weeknight meals. (Try this pork tenderloin recipe plus 5 ideas for leftovers.)
DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension and is an effective high blood pressure diet. According to this diet plan, one should have fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, nuts, seeds, low-fat dairy and lean meats and poultry in the diet. The daily diet should consist of high amounts of carbohydrates, good amounts of proteins, and very little amounts of fats and sodium. A vegetarian DASH diet should focus on eating more lentils, nuts, and seeds to gain essential amounts of proteins. This diet should also be followed by other people to maintain proper health and a healthy weight.
By now, most people know they shouldn’t be eating white bread and that whole-wheat or whole-grain options are better. Registered dietitian Keri Gans tells Health going for whole grains ensures you get all the good stuff — bran, germ, and endosperm. Refined grains, on the other hand, have been stripped of the bran and germ. Luckily, there’s a long list of whole grains to choose from, including quinoa, barley, and brown rice.
While fatty foods may seem like they have no place in a high blood pressure-fighting meal plan, fatty fish like salmon are a major exception to that rule. Salmon is loaded with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, which can help reduce inflammation, lower your risk of heart disease, and get your blood pressure into a healthy range. Research published in the June 2012 edition of the British Journal of Nutrition reveals that omega-3 supplementation reduced blood pressure among older patients and those with hypertension, making this tasty protein-rich fish a must-eat for anyone whose blood pressure has crept into a concerning range.
If beets aren’t already a part of your diet, you should consider adding them in. WebMD explains this mighty root veggie may actually have an immediate effect on your blood pressure — particularly when it comes to the juice. A study found drinking beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure by about 4-5 points. And researchers are hopeful that long-term beet juice consumption would bring about even better results.
Tip: There’s a reason the United Nations declared 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. This high-protein whole grain has a mild yet nutty flavor, contains a variety of health-protecting phytonutrients along with an impressive amount of magnesium, and cooks in less than half the time it takes to make brown rice. Quinoa is gluten free, making it a great option if you’re gluten intolerant or have celiac disease. The most widely available quinoa is a golden beige color, but red and black varieties are also available and worth a try for your high blood pressure diet.
Tip: Cool and creamy, yogurt is a star ingredient in mineral-rich breakfasts, in sauces and salad dressings, and even in entrées. Most brands of regular yogurt tend to be a bit higher in calcium than Greek varieties, but no matter what type you buy, be sure to stick to low-sugar varieties free of flavorings. (Keep things interesting with these 8 tasty yogurt toppings.)
“The DASH diet is heart healthy and is rich in foods that have a high content of calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber,” explains Marwah Abdalla, MD, MPH, a cardiologist at New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Irving Medical Center. These nutrients are essential to lowering blood pressure naturally. That said, incorporating these cardiologist-approved foods into your diet, along with taking prescribed medication and following a regular exercise routine, can help lower your blood pressure.
Limit or cut out junk foods and highly processed products: This diet plan focuses on whole, unrefined foods as they are fundamental to eating healthy. Realistically it’s very difficult to eliminate all highly processed/packaged foods (which contain the majority of salt in our diet), but just be mindful of cutting down. Likewise, snacks are optional depending on your normal eating habits, and there are bonus snack recipe ideas if you scroll to the bottom.