High blood pressure is a serious and potentially life threating condition. As much as one-third of the U.S. adult population suffers from high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Exercise can be a big help in lowering your blood pressure, but diet also plays a significant role.
Diet is so crucial that the National Institutes of Health has developed a scientific plan called DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension). DASH is designed to lower blood pressure by eating foods rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, and of course, low in sodium. Following the DASH plan is a great start to getting your BP back to safe levels, but there are also a few other foods that you can add to your diet. Here are eight foods that will help naturally lower your blood pressure.
The name may not sound all that delicious, but just a glass of beetroot juice a day could keep your blood pressure in check. A study found that blood pressure levels lower about 3 hours after drinking 500 ml beetroot juice. Nitrate from the beetroot helps your body convert the chemical into nitric oxide. This, in turn, dilates blood vessels and lets your BP drop naturally.
2. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate also helps produce more nitric oxide. Plus, polyphenols found in cocoa, have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Polyphenols tend to up the production of nitric oxide. A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that just 100 gm of dark chocolate daily reduced hypertension after two weeks.
When it comes to blood pressure, this fruit and its juices may be exactly what your system needs. Just drinking 2 oz pomegranate every day can bring down your blood pressure over 20% during the course of a year. A study in Phytotherapy Research highlighted the benefits of giving pomegranate juice to hypertension patients. It found that the antioxidants and polyphenols within the juice were very effective at lowering blood pressure.
A bowl of oats a day may actually keep the doctor away for some prehypertensive people. Extensive studies have linked whole oats with lowering high blood pressure and reducing the amount of “bad cholesterol” in your body.
Using this juicy fruit to fight high blood pressure will be a refreshing treat for most folks. Watermelon is packed with amino acids that increase the nitric oxide production in your body.
One study found that just 2g of watermelon, twice a day, for six weeks lowered their aortic systolic blood pressure.
Garlic has long been lauded as a BP reducing superfood. It works by limiting the hormone that narrows your blood vessels. Chopping garlic releases allicin, and this compound dilates blood vessels while stopping the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is a hormone that makes blood vessels constrict. Many studies have found that just adding a bit of garlic to your food will lower hypertension rates.
Flaxseeds are packed with nutrients that are good for you and your blood pressure. Flaxseeds contain a heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid. It also contains magnesium which also helps in lowering that BP. Just one tablespoonful of the whole seeds will meet 10% of your daily magnesium requirement.
This is a tasty solution to those hypertensive woes. Blueberries are filled anthocyanins, which besides making blueberries blue, also load them with antioxidants that are essential to heart health. Blueberries also aid in increasing nitric oxide which helps bring down blood pressure quite a bit. In one study, the equivalent of 1 cup of fresh blueberries daily, for eight weeks, lowered systolic blood pressure by over 5% and diastolic blood pressure over 6%.
Reaching for those eight naturally lowering blood pressure foods will help with your health. Keep in mind there are a few things you should stay away from as well. Things like extra salt, extra sugar and foods that are high saturated fat, and cholesterol.
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