Whether you refer to it as high blood pressure, hypertension, or a pain in the you-know-what- this disease is an inconvenient and troublesome affliction that millions of people struggle with every single day. While high blood pressure is a disease of ups and downs- Doctor’s around the world agree that a diet low in sodium and rich in minerals such as potassium and calcium is best for managing and even preventing hypertension. So stay away from the Mcdonald’s fries and stock up on potassium-calcium tablets? Sounds simple enough. But what if we tell you there are specific foods- instead of supplements- that act to normalize blood pressure. Well, guess, what? there most definitely are! And HFR is here to share them with you.
Virgin olive oil is the only edible fat that can be consumed in its natural form with no additives or preservatives! With that being said, this Mediterranean delight is packed with as many health benefits as it’s flavor. In an article published by the American Society for Clinical Nutrition, it was reported that olive oil is significantly inversely related to both systolic and diastolic blood pressure- especially because of its richness in polyphenols. Intakes of olive oil and other Mediterranean foods have positive influences on blood pressure, whereas refined cereals, meat products, and alcohol has negative effects.
Beets naturally contain nitrates, which help normalize blood pressure. In a 2012 study in Nutrition Journal, researchers studied the effects of beetroot juice on thirty healthy women and men. Participants drank either beetroot infused apple juice or a placebo juice. After consuming the juice, the participants had their blood pressures monitored over a period of 24 hours. The results? Scientists found a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure six hours after participants drank beet juice, in both men and women.
We all know this health-snack is bitter, and may even require an acquired taste- but it’s health benefits make it bitter-sweet. Eating dark chocolate, which is rich in antioxidant flavanol, has been associated with the formation of nitric oxide, a substance that widens blood vessels and eases blood flow- thereby lowering blood pressure. It is also linked to a reduction in systolic and diastolic blood pressure among individuals with hypertension, but not individuals with healthy blood pressure. But not to worry, high blood pressure or not, dark chocolate is greatly beneficial to all due to it’s powerful source of antioxidants, minerals such as iron and selenium, and antiaging properties.
Healthful, delicious and versatile, beans (including black, white, kidney, etc) are packed with nutritious content- especially fiber, various minerals and protein, which are key factors for regulating blood pressure and cardiovascular health. If you don’t know how to incorporate legumes into your diet, try tossing some beans into your favorite salads or rice bowls. These nourishing food ingredients are also inexpensive- ranging from about a dollar a can! For a glimpse into the nutrition facts; Just one cup of black beans provides 15 grams of protein, 16 grams of fiber, and 20% of the iron you need each day.
Researchers compared a diet of whole wheat to a diet of refined grains. They found that eating three servings of whole grains was linked with a reduction in systolic blood pressure. The dietary fiber in whole grains has been proven to vastly improve blood cholesterol levels, and lower risk of heart disease, stroke, and obesity. If you plan on incorporating some whole grain into your shopping list, try out some of these wholesome grains:
- whole wheat flour
- brown rice
- wild rice
- popcorn (no salt added)
- whole wheat or rye bread
Pomegranate has been used as naturopathic medicine for centuries. More recently, however, this tangy and sweet fruit has been dubbed a ‘superfood’- which are highly nutritious foods that protect against diseases, such as hypertension. A few small human studies have found that pomegranate juice improves blood flow and keeps arteries from becoming stiff and congested, which in turn lowers blood pressure. Pomegranate juice is rich in potent antioxidants, and researchers suggest that drinking pomegranate juice every day may help lower systolic blood pressure. Other studies suggest that consistent pomegranate juice consumption improves overall cardiovascular health by repairing cholesterol levels and enhancing immunity.
In a 2016 study conducted by the American Heart Association, researchers found that women who consumed multiple servings of yogurt a week had a 20% lower risk of developing high blood pressure than women who didn’t eat yogurt. While there was a weaker link for men who consumed yogurt, they still received some cardiovascular health benefits. These benefits were strongly associated with low-fat yogurt. The amino acid compounds, released during digestion are to blame for this positive health effect. While full-fat yogurt still contains those amino acids, the saturated fat can hinder its benefits.
A Pennsylvania State University study published by Hypertension journal studied the relationship between pistachio consumption and blood pressure. Participants with high LDL (bad cholesterol), ate at least one serving of pistachios every day for four weeks. As a result, just one serving of pistachios was proven to reduce systolic blood pressure (even more so than multiple servings). Pistachios reduce constriction of peripheral blood vessels, which allows easier blood flow.
Researchers from around the world published a study that monitored the cardiovascular effects of a diet rich in salmon, especially in obese and overweight individuals. The experimental group consumed Salmon, and other fatty fish, three times a week for several weeks. As a result, the salmon consumption was linked with a reduction in diastolic blood pressure. The main component in fatty fish responsible for these cardiovascular benefits is omega-3 fatty acids- which have been proven to naturally lower blood pressure.
Yes! Hibiscus is edible and often found in tea form! Researchers from Tufts University examined the effects of drinking three cups of hibiscus tea on people with high blood pressure. Over the course of six weeks, they found a reduction in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, especially in systolic blood pressure, which was lowered by an average of 7 points. While a 7 point drop may not seem very drastic, even small improvements in blood pressure can have great cardiovascular effects when maintained over time. Hibiscus is chock-full of various antioxidants, which may explain the positive effect.