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A healthy diet is, indeed, vital to lower blood pressure levels in the short term and in the long term. Read on to learn which foods are the most important for healthy blood pressure and how to incorporate them into your eating habits.
1. Beet Juice
Full of nutrients such as fiber, folate, vitamin C, magnesium, and potassium, beets also contain a significant amount of nitrates. In your body, nitrates convert to nitric oxide, which helps dilate your vessels and thus reduces your blood pressure. Researchers found that beets have a significant impact on your blood pressure, reducing it by up to 4-10 mmHg in just a few hours. Raw beets seem to be more effective than cooked beets, and beet juice seems to be the best. Beets seem to have greater effects on systolic blood pressure (SBP).
Incorporate beets into your diet by having 500 ml beet juice once a day or by adding shredded beets to your salads.
Spinach contains blood pressure-lowering nutrients such as nitrates, magnesium and potassium, vitamins A, K1, folate, iron, and calcium. A small, random, and controlled trial found that spinach not only improves blood pressure levels but also reduces arterial stiffness and further improves cardiovascular health. Both SBP and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) improved.
How can you incorporate spinach into your diet? Add fresh spinach to your smoothie in the morning. Or, you can squeeze some lemon juice when you have a spinach salad for a double benefit (the vitamin C from juice also helps absorb iron).
3. Flax Seeds
Flax seeds contain high amounts of soluble and insoluble fibers, for a total of six grams per two tablespoons. Soluble fibers help maintain blood pressure and cholesterol levels in check, as well as boosting digestive health. Flax seeds are also a great source of omega fatty acids, several amino acids (arginine and glutamine), vitamins and minerals as well as special compounds like coumarins, lignans, ferulic acid, and phytosterols.
A review of multiple studies shows that eating flax seeds may lower blood pressure levels, with greater effects seen on DBP. According to this review, consuming whole seeds for more than 12 weeks will give the best results.
Consume two tablespoons of flax seeds daily. Add them to your smoothies, salads, and soups.
Including broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables in your meals is a great way to improve your blood pressure and your overall health. Broccoli is highly nutritious, and a great source of antioxidant compounds that promote optimal function of the blood vessels and increase nitric oxide levels. Those who eat at least four servings of broccoli weekly have a reduced risk to develop hypertension compared with those who eat once a month.
Aim for four servings of broccoli every week. Eat it fresh with some hummus or greek yogurt, make broccoli soups, or use it as a side dish, along with chicken or fish meal.
The golden spice has multiple health benefits, largely due to its active ingredient: curcumin. A review of multiple studies found that turmeric can significantly improve systolic blood pressure. These effects are seen with long-term consumption of this spice.
How should you incorporate turmeric into your diet? You only need a ¼ teaspoon daily to help improve your health, including heart, digestive, eye, and nerve health. Add a pinch of black pepper or ginger, as these spices increase the absorption of turmeric. Learn to cook Indian dishes or enjoy a turmeric latte.
Tomatoes are rich in many nutrients, including the carotenoid lycopene. Lycopene had been researched in numerous research studies. Lycopene improves cardiovascular function in several ways: it lowers blood pressure, prevents the hardening of the blood vessels (atherosclerosis), reduces inflammation, and works as an antioxidant.
It also seems to prevent blood clotting and prevent stiffness of the arteries. As a result, lycopene may help prevent and/or manage atherosclerosis, hypertension, peripheral vascular diseases, strokes, and metabolic syndrome.
Incorporate tomatoes into your diet by eating them fresh or cooked. Cooked tomatoes are a better source of lycopene. Buy and store tomato paste in glass jars only, and make sure it is a low sodium product.
A potassium-rich diet can significantly lower blood pressure in individuals who have high blood pressure and also normal blood pressure. Scientists found a reduction of 1.0 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure and a 0.52 mm Hg reduction in diastolic blood pressure per 0.6 g per day increase in dietary potassium intake. Furthermore, adding more potassium to your diet not only reduces blood pressure. It also lowers the risk of stroke, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction, and other cardiovascular events.
To get these benefits, you need to increase potassium to 4.7 g per day. One banana contains about 450 mg of potassium. Avocados, spinach, beets, tomatoes. And citrus fruits are also good sources of potassium.
Like bananas, avocados are among the most potassium-rich foods (yes, avocado is a fruit!). Avocado provides about 485 mg of potassium and 7 mg of sodium per 100 grams. The ratio between potassium and sodium is also important. You need to increase your potassium levels while keeping a low salt diet in order to lower your blood pressure.
Avocados are also rich in fibers, vitamins B, C, and E, magnesium, copper, and manganese. Avocado is also high in heart-healthy, monounsaturated fats.
How can you incorporate avocados into your diet? Simply add some lemon juice to a few avocado slices, and enjoy!
Celery is very low in calories and carbohydrates and provides healthy fibers, nutrients like vitamins C, A, K, folate, and potassium. It also contains phthalides, which are plant compounds that help maintain healthy blood pressure by relaxing the blood vessels. Cooked celery seems to have greater effects on blood pressure, but consuming raw celery provides more vitamins and enzymes.
Incorporate celery into your diet by drinking raw celery juice in the morning, or cook it with other veggies.
10. Mixed Nuts
Nuts support healthy heart function. Enjoy small amounts of nuts every day, as a snack. Certain nuts significantly improve blood pressure, especially DBP, according to studies. The list of blood-pressure-lowering nuts includes pistachios, walnuts, almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, peanuts, and soy nuts, and pistachios.