Ever wonder how to lower blood pressure naturally? Sodium has always been the blood pressure bogeyman—shake most of it from your high blood pressure diet and you'll be safe. But research now shows that it's just as important to choose foods naturally low in sodium and high in at least two of the three power minerals: calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Add in these 13 well-balanced foods to your diet to cut your risk of stroke and heart attack nearly in half.
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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.
As if you didn’t need another reason to drink more berry-filled smoothies. A study from the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found compounds in blueberries protect against high blood pressure. If you’re not a fan of blueberries, these compounds are also found in raspberries, strawberries, and black currents, ScienceDaily reports. The effect was higher in those who ate blueberries over strawberries, though, so choose these if you have the option.
When we think about trying to lower high blood pressure, we usually think of limiting salt and processed foods. But a heart healthy diet is more than just lowering your sodium intake. The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet, which is specifically designed to help manage blood pressure, emphasizes eating many fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and other fiber-rich foods.
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.
According to the CDC, a whopping 75 million Americans—that’s nearly 1/3 of the adult population—are struggling with high blood pressure, increasing their risk of heart attack, stroke, and other life-altering health consequences along the way. Skipping the salt and squeezing in some regular workouts can help keep your blood pressure from reaching dangerous levels, but it takes a more proactive approach to keep your blood pressure under control in the long run. While the words “blood pressure-lowering diet” may conjure images of unseasoned egg whites and limp steamed veggies, getting your blood pressure into a healthy range is more than just doable—it can be downright delicious. Start by adding this approved list of blood pressure-lowering foods into your regular routine and watch your numbers go from scary to stellar in no time.
If you’re a tea lover, then it may be time to ditch traditional black and green varieties and go for hibiscus. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found drinking this type of tea consistently can lower blood pressure over time. The study’s author believes it works because the healthy compounds in the tea work together to keep the blood vessels resistant to damage, EatingWell notes. Since many herbal tea blends contain hibiscus, it shouldn’t be too hard to find one you like.
In addition to being good for those with arthritis, due to its anti-inflammatory properties, olive oil is loaded with heart-healthy fats. According to Mayo Clinic, the healthy fats found in olive oil are monounsaturated fatty acids. These healthy fats can help lower total cholesterol, along with LDL (bad) cholesterol. The Arthritis Foundation recommends 2 to 3 tablespoons daily, and points out that extra-virgin olive oil is a better option, as it isn’t as heavily processed.
“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.
They may not be great for your breath, but when it comes to your blood pressure, onions can’t be beat. Onions are a great source of quercetin, which a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found effective at lowering blood pressure in overweight and obese study subjects suffering from hypertension and pre-hypertension. To make your onions less pungent, try sautéing them in olive oil for a sweeter flavor and a boost of heart-healthy fat.
Legumes aren’t half bad, either. One study examined the role these fiber-rich foods play in controlling blood pressure among patients with diabetes. In a press release, lead study author Dr. David Jenkins said legumes have a “blood pressure-lowering effect in diabetic patients.” Not to mention, legumes are a great source of protein. Check out these delicious recipes, all starring the mighty bean.