It might be hard to believe that there are actually foods that lower high blood pressure, but it is true. There are actually a number of foods that can do just that. Sure, you will need to do things like exercise and cut out salt, but it can be a great benefit to you to start lowering your blood pressure naturally. If you are prescribed blood pressure medicine, these foods will not eliminate the need for you to continue taking it, but if you have borderline high blood pressure and don’t yet need medication, or you still need help even with your medication, then eating some of the foods outlined in this article, foods that lower high blood pressure, might just be the answer you are looking for.
What is Blood Pressure?
Your blood pressure is the amount of force exerted by the blood against the walls of an artery. Blood pressure is controlled by the force of your heart contractions, the amount of blood that is pumped with each heartbeat, and how easily the blood flows through the blood vessels.
The period of your heart muscle contraction is called systole, and the period of your heart muscle relaxation is called diastole. The systole pressure is the higher pressure and this represents the amount of force needed to pump the blood out of your heart into the arterial circulation, and the diastole pressure is the lower pressure which represents the pressure in the arteries when your heart is resting. The systolic pressure is recorded over the diastolic pressure. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters (mm) of mercury (Hg). The average person has a systolic pressure of 120 mm Hg and a diastolic pressure of 80 mm Hg.
Your blood pressure can change from minute to minute and it can be affected by different factors and increases with age. A good example is (stress). Blood pressure is lowest in infancy and childhood and highest in adulthood. Women usually have lower blood pressures compared to men, but blood pressures tend to rise in women after menopause. High blood pressure usually causes no symptoms and you might not even know you have it until you develop a serious health problem. For this reason, it is often called the (silent killer).
In most cases, doctors don’t know the exact cause of high blood pressure, but according to reports, they know the preventable lifestyle factors that increase your risk of the problem as being overweight or obese, excessive alcohol use, a diet with too much salt or too little potassium, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, chronic stress, and taking certain medication.
Foods That Lower High Blood Pressure
What you eat and drink can affect your blood pressure. A diet low in sodium and rich in foods containing potassium. calcium and magnesium may help normalize your high blood pressure. Choose foods that are low in salt (sodium) and fat to help keep your blood pressure in a healthy range. Here are some tips to help you out:
Sodium: Eating food low in sodium such as fresh fruits and vegetables, and avoiding salty food, like smoked, cured, or processed meat, regular soy sauce, garlic salt, regular canned soup, some frozen meals, salty crackers, chips, pretzels, popcorn, and nuts, may help lower your blood pressure. Try to get less than 800 mg of sodium per meal, or 2,400 mg a day (1 teaspoon of table salt). Do not add salt to your food when cooking or eating. Shop for items that say “reduced-sodium” or low sodium. Try cooking with fresh herbs, lemon juice or spices.
Whole grain foods: Eating more whole-grain foods on a regular basis might help reduce your chance of developing high blood pressure (hypertension). Whole grains are grains that include the entire grain kernel. Whole grain foods are rich in healthy nutrients such as fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron, and selenium. Whole grain foods also offer many health benefits that can work together to reduce your risk of high blood pressure. For example, by aiding in weight control, since whole grain can make you feel full longer. Increasing your intake of potassium is linked to lower blood pressure, decreasing your risk of insulin resistance, and reducing damage to your blood vessels.
According to research, as part of an overall healthy diet, adults should eat at least 85 grams of whole grain foods a day which is about 3 ounces, or 3 slices of whole wheat bread.
According to reports, drinking skims milk daily can help reduce your blood pressure up to ten percent. This milk is low in fat but very high in Vitamin D and calcium, both of which are known to combat high blood pressure. Calcium can also be found in sardines, salmon, nuts, sunflower seeds (unsalted), and dark green leafy vegetables. Magnesium rich foods such as beans and spinach are also an excellent way to lower your blood pressure. Other good sources of magnesium are figs, grapefruits, yellow corn, whole grains, almonds, and apples. Dark chocolate is great for helping to lower your blood pressure and satisfying a sweet tooth at the same time. The flavonoids in dark chocolate have been found to cause a noticeable drop in both systolic (upper) and diastolic (lower) blood pressure readings.
Potassium-rich foods such as bananas, soybeans, oranges, watermelon, spinach, zucchini, and baked white potatoes are another very good food for maintaining a lower blood pressure, as potassium helps the body rid itself of extra fluid so that the heart does not need to pump as hard. Research also shows that eating foods high in fiber, such as oat bran, fruits, and vegetables can significantly reduce high blood pressure, and even improve blood pressure in healthy individuals. Omega-3 fats, typically found in oily fish and flaxseeds, are known to have a lowering effect on blood pressure, as is garlic.
Limit fat in your diet: Choose lean meats or fish. Remove the skin and trim the fat off of your meats before you cook them. Bake, grill or broil your foods instead of frying them. Shop for fat-free or low-fat dairy products, salad dressings, and mayonnaise. Try olive or canola oil instead of vegetable oil. Choose egg whites or egg substitute instead of whole eggs.
All in all, there are a number of foods that lower high blood pressure. Since there are a number of vegetables on the list, there are a number of meals that can be made combining them with fish, poultry, and lean meat that would greatly benefit people suffering from high blood pressure. Snacking on fruits high in magnesium, potassium, or calcium and the occasional dark chocolate can be an excellent way to curb hunger between meals while still managing your blood pressure. With skim milk and oat bran on the list as well as fruit, there are enough different foods that you can eat one, at every meal to lower your blood pressure, without having to eat the same thing every day. Some studies have shown that eating enough of these foods in the right combination, can be as effective as medicine for some people. Just remember to let your doctor determine whether you need medication and never adjust your dose yourself, even if your blood pressure is lowered by your diet.
What you eat and drink can affect your blood pressure. Choose foods that are low in salt (sodium) and fat to help keep your blood pressure at a healthy range. Do not smoke or use tobacco as this can make your blood pressure worse. Learn to manage stress, lose weight if you need to, exercise, and if you drink, limit your alcohol consumption to one drink a day. Talk to your doctor or a dietitian about other ways to limit salt and fat in your diet. I do hope that foods that lower high blood pressure will help you to lower your blood pressure to live a healthy lifestyle.
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