Making some stuffed peppers for dinner tonight could be the first step on a journey toward a healthier heart and lower blood pressure. Bell peppers are an excellent source of vitamin C, with more of the potent antioxidant than even citrus fruits, which has been shown to improve cardiac function and lower blood pressure. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that loading up on vitamin C reduced blood pressure by 5 millimeters of mercury in patients with hypertension, making these versatile veggies a smart addition to any meal plan.
Everyone needs their protein, but red meat definitely isn’t the way to go if you’re trying to control high blood pressure. Because fish contains less saturated fat, it’s a good option. Plus, according to the AHA, the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish may reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. The best options for a heart-healthy diet include halibut, tuna, and salmon.
“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.
Bananas are one of your best options. As it turns out, foods high in potassium help manage high blood pressure because it can minimize the impact sodium has. The American Heart Association says one medium banana has about 420 milligrams of potassium, which is a significant amount for a relatively small amount of food. The daily recommended potassium intake for adults is 4,700 milligrams, so just one fruit will have you well on your way.
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.