High-fiber whole grains, especially oatmeal, have been linked to lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease. Studies have shown that just three servings of whole grains a day can decrease your risk of heart disease by 15 percent. Oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day with whole grains. Add whole-wheat bread at lunch and quinoa, barley, or brown rice at dinner
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.
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.
While eggs have had a checkered reputation in the past because of their cholesterol content, recent research suggests these protein powerhouses can actually help improve both your cholesterol and your blood pressure while keeping you satisfied. According to the American Journal of Hypertension, a high-protein diet, like one rich in eggs, can help lower blood pressure naturally while promoting weight loss, as well. Just make sure you’re not detracting from the health benefits of your egg-based breakfast by adding the wrong condiments; the sugar in ketchup and high salt content of hot sauce may reduce your protein-rich meal’s blood pressure-lowering effects.
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.
Cooling down this summer is as healthy as it is delicious when you make watermelon part of your beat-the-heat meal plan. Not only is watermelon a good source of blood pressure-lowering vitamin C and lycopene, research published in the American Journal of Hypertension reveals that patients with prehypertension who added watermelon to their diet significantly reduced their blood pressure.
An apple a day really does keep the doctor away, particularly for those struggling with high blood pressure. In addition to the 4.5 grams of blood pressure-lowering fiber you’ll get from each apple, you’ll also enjoy a healthy helping of quercetin, which has been deemed an effective antihypertensive, according to the results of a study conducted at the University Complutense of Madrid School of Medicine.
Don’t deprive yourself of dessert just because you’re eager to get your blood pressure under control. A little dark chocolate can go a long way when it comes to lowering those numbers, thanks to its flavonoid content. Flavonoids, a type of plant-based pigment, have been linked to reductions in blood pressure, thanks to their ability to improve endothelial function, according to researchers at the University of Manitoba. Just make sure you’re choosing real dark chocolate for the biggest benefit; foods high in sugar, like most milk chocolate bars, have been linked to an increase in blood pressure by researchers at the New Zealand University of Otago. Reduce your risk of chronic disease even further by discovering and ditching the worst habits for heart health ASAP.