Foods that lower blood pressure

Woman holding an apple with a heart

Along with external factors including your age, gender, genes and ethnicity, additional factors such as your diet and lifestyle can also affect your blood pressure. For that reason, having a healthy and varied diet is an important step you can take to lower your blood pressure. In fact, a healthy diet can indirectly prevent high blood pressure from developing in the first place. With a variety of information sources listing different foods that can lower high blood pressure, it can be difficult to know what’s effective and what’s not. The problem is that there is little research and evidence to support exactly what types of foods have a lowering effect on your blood pressure.

Which foods can lower high blood pressure?

People who have high or elevated blood pressure are mainly advised to stick to a diet that is low in salt and rich in foods that contain fiber, potassium and magnesium. If you have an overall healthy diet, chances are good that you are already getting all of these nutrients. The most important thing is that these nutrients need to be included in a healthy diet along with other important nutrients that reduce the risk of developing diabetes and obesity. If you want to know about specific food items, pay a little more attention to these:

Fruits and vegetables

Fruits and vegetables should definitely be included in a healthy diet as they are high in important vitamins and minerals. As a general rule of thumb try to include five different types of fruits and vegetables in your diet every day. This may sound like a lot, but the beauty of fruits and vegetables is that they can be included in almost any meal. Try adding some berries onto your morning porridge, using avocado as a substitute for mayonnaise on sandwiches and toasts, adding a fruit of your choice for lunch, increasing the amount of vegetables on the dinner plate or bringing carrots or fruits for an easy on-the-go snack. Fruits & vegetables which are rich in potassium, such as bananas, spinach & avocados, are especially recommended for blood pressure purposes.

Did you know?

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Salmon, mackerel and fish with omega-3’s

The famous Mediterranean diet (primarily plant-based foods such as fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts) places a strong emphasis on Omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are also known as the ‘good’ type of fat. They have many health benefits but what is less well known is that if eaten regularly, omega-3’s may also help to lower your blood pressure [1]. One benefit of eating fish is that it is fast to cook, easy to flavor, versatile and there’s a wide variety of types to choose from including sardines, lake trout and halibut. 

Fat-free yogurt

The probiotics in yogurt and other fermented foods (including some cheeses) can help lower your blood pressure, but the key is to eat it on a regular basis. Just make sure the label says “live and active cultures” when choosing your daily yogurt.

Dark chocolate

Needless to say chocolate should not be a part of your daily diet but on the few occasions that you treat yourself to dessert, make it dark chocolate. Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids which are naturally occurring compounds that may help to lower your blood pressure. The higher the cocoa content, the better it is for your health. Look for dark chocolate bars that say they contain 70 percent cacao.

Oatmeal

Oatmeal is known as a super food because of all the amazing properties it has. It is high in fiber, low fat and low in salt. It is easy to make and can be used as a great breakfast option. Top it off with fruit and yoghurt for extra flavor and an added benefit.

 

What about documentation?

As previously stated, the problem with these food items is that their effect on lowering blood pressure has not been sufficiently researched or tested. Nevertheless, all of these food items can and should be included as part of your healthy diet. In combination with exercise and lifestyle changes, a healthy diet can indirectly lower your blood pressure.

 

1) WebMD. High Blood Pressure Diet.

https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/high-blood-pressure-diet#1

2) AARP. 7 Fabulous Foods that Naturally Lower Blood Pressure. Candy Sagon. Updated May 2016

https://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-04-2011/6-foods-fight-high-blood-pressure.html#slide6

3)  AARP. 7 Fabulous Foods that Naturally Lower Blood Pressure. Candy Sagon. Updated May 2016

https://www.aarp.org/health/medical-research/info-04-2011/6-foods-fight-high-blood-pressure.html#slide8