Many factors contribute to high blood pressure or hypertension, including genetics, stress, sedentary lifestyle and diet. Changing lifestyle factors is highly recommended for preventing and controlling it. According to World Health Organization, 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure and the proportion increases with age, from 1 in 10 people in their 20s and 30s to 5 in 10 people in their 50s.
So along with making changes in your lifestyle like quitting smoking, exercising etc, adopt a healthy dietary habit as well. Here we have some nutritious foods that will help lower your blood pressure:
This humble fruit is packed with nutrients with relatively high content of potassium. Potassium is known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Banana is also low in sodium which makes it a superfood for those with high BP.
Fish has low fat and high protein content and is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and prevent high blood pressure. Fish like tuna, halibut, cod and salmon are highly recommended.
Green leafy vegetables
Green leafy vegetables are filled with antioxidants, folate, potassium, and magnesium which together aid in lowering and maintaining blood pressure levels. Have them raw or steamed to retain the health giving properties.
Modest consumption of dark chocolate is favourable as it contains flavonoid which is known to affect the production of nitric acid, which in turn relaxes the muscles and causes the blood vessels to dilate resulting in lower blood pressure.
Herbs and spices
Herbs and spices have always been used for their healing effects in traditional medicines. Not only do they have low calorie content, they are rich storehouses of antioxidants. They are excellent for maintaining a healthy heart and blood pressure.
Legumes which include beans, pea and lentils are rich in protein, magnesium and potassium with low glycemic index. A study shows that they are beneficial for diabetic patients as they lower blood glucose levels, heart rate and heart disease risk through a reduction in blood pressure.
Low-fat milk and yoghurt
Studies have proven that calcium keeps the muscles that line blood vessels toned and help lower blood pressure. Consume low-fat milk, yoghurt and cheese which are excellent sources of calcium along with sufficient amount of vitamin D for metabolism and absorption of calcium.
Whole grains contain a healthy dose of potassium, magnesium and folate, which altogether help reduce high blood pressure. Replace pasta, white bread and rice with oatmeal, brown rice, millet, etc.
Apart from protein, fibre, omega-3 fatty acids and vitamins, raw nuts contain high amount of minerals like magnesium and potassium, which help to reduce blood pressure. They also make an excellent choice for a quick snack as they make you feel full without piling on the pounds.
Tomato and tomato products contain the antioxidant lycopene, which studies have shown that it helps in reducing high blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Calcium, potassium, vitamins A, C and E are some of the important nutrients found in them.