High blood pressure, or also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart attack and stroke which are the first and third leading cause of death in the world. Therefore, it is necessary for us to prevent high blood pressure by keeping the blood pressure in a normal range.
The normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg, where ‘120’ is systolic pressure (as the heart beats) and ’80’ is diastolic pressure (as the heart relaxes between beats). If your blood pressure is between 120/80 mmHg and 139/89 mmHG, then it is a prehypertension, meaning you don’t have hypertension but you are likely to develop it. If it is above 140/90 mmHg then it is a hypertension.
There are plenty of ways to reduce high blood pressure such as being physical active, control weight, and avoid smoking. Furthermore, the foods we eat also affect our blood pressure. Foods that are low in fat and rich in nutrients and fiber can help in keeping your blood pressure under control and improving your overall health. Here are some of the best foods to eat if you want to lower your blood pressure naturally.
Carrots are high in potassium and beta-carotene which have been shown to be effective in reducing high blood pressure that can lead to heart disease. Carrot juice helps maintain normal blood pressure by regulating heart and kidney functions.
The oleic acid found in avocados can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. They also contain potassium and folate, which both essential for heart health.
Cabbage is high in a chemical compound called glutamic acid, which help in reducing blood pressure. Glutamic acid is the most common amino acid and accounts for almost a quarter of vegetable protein and nearly a fifth of animal protein.
Oriental medicine practitioners have long used celery for reducing high blood pressure. A research has shown that eating as few as four celery stalks a day can reduce high blood pressure. However, celery contains sodium and other compounds that may have side effects when consumed in large amounts.
7. Dark Chocolate
Dark chocolate is not only tasty, but it also good for our health. A recent study found that eating a small amounts of dark chocolate every day lowered the systolic blood pressure by 2.9mm Hg and diastolic by 1.9mm Hg. The key of the chocolate’s effect is flavanols that’s present in the cocoa. Not all chocolate will do, you need to buy a good quality of dark chocolate that has 60 to 70 percent of cocoa.
Eating one of clove of garlic a day was found to have beneficial effects on controlling hypertension. In a study observed, people with high blood pressure who were given one clove of garlic a day for 12 weeks, their diastolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels are significantly reduced.
Like garlic, onions are also useful in managing hypertension. The sulfur-containing compounds in onions have been shown to reduce high blood pressure. It is not surprising because onion is a cousin of garlic.
The health benefits of potatoes are often overlooked because it is usually served in unhealthy ways, such as French fries, or potato chips. But in fact, potatoes are an excellent source of fiber and potassium which have been proven to reduce blood pressure.
Spinach is high in magnesium and potassium, which are not only offer protection against heart disease, but it also can reduce blood pressure. Apart from that, the folate in spinach can protect the body from accumulating excess homocysteine. Studies have indicated that high levels of homocysteine can cause heart attacks and strokes.
12. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds contain phytosterols, which can reduce cholesterol levels in the body. High cholesterol is a well-known contributor to high blood pressure because it can cause blockage of blood vessels. However, make sure that you are using fresh sunflower seeds.
The isoflavones found in soy have been proven to provided a number of health benefits for your heart, including lowering cholesterol levels and blood pressure.
Tomatoes are an excellent source of potassium which are known effective to reduce high blood pressure.
Saffron is a very popular spice in Arabic cooking. A compound called crocetin contained on it is known to high blood pressure.
Spices such as black pepper, fennel and basil have active ingredients that are beneficial in hypertension. Use them in your cooking can help reduce high blood pressure.
Salmon is high in omega 3 fatty acid which helps to reduce blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels and thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.
18. Skim Milk
Skim milk is a good weight loss diet. Apart from being a good source of protein, skim milk also contains calcium and vitamin D, the two nutrients that work as a team to help reduce blood pressure by 3 to 10 percent. Although not as much as other foods listed, it still useful in helping to improve overall cardiovascular health.
Oats and oat bran contain a specific type of fiber known as beta-glucan which have been shown to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Eating a serving of oats at least 6 times each week is an especially good idea for postmenopausal women with high cholesterol, high blood pressure or other signs of cardiovascular disease.
20. Green Tea
Many evidence have showed that green tea can help reduce high blood pressure risk. A study conducted in Taiwan found that people who drank at least 20 ounces (600 ml) of green tea daily for at least one year had 65% lower risk of high blood pressure than those who did not.