How many times have you heard about cases of high blood pressure? We are sure quite a bit. That is because high blood pressure has been a rising cause of deteriorating health condition. A whopping 75 million American adults have high blood pressure, which is quite alarming.
It has also been observed that uncontrolled high blood pressure is also a cause of the higher risk of dementia. For maintaining a healthy level of blood pressure, it is necessary to follow a healthy diet for high blood pressure.
Read on to find out what are the foods to include and food to avoid to treat high blood pressure, risk factors, and more. Reports say that having uncontrolled high blood pressure from the age of 45 to 65 are under the risk of having dementia later in their life.
The Risk Factor of High Blood Pressure
There are certain risk factors of high blood pressure, and we have 10 of these listed here. Read on.
1. Excess of Salt in the Diet
Consuming too much salt or sodium in the daily diet constricts the arteries in the body as well as causes the body to retain fluids. Both of these factors can cause high blood pressure. Therefore, it is best to intake low sodium diet for high blood pressure.
2. Being Overweight
It is a fact that the more the weight, the more the need for blood flow for the supply of oxygen to the tissues in the body. The pressure in the arteries increases with the volume of circulated blood. Therefore, there is a need to control weight and maintain a healthy weight.
High-stress levels can lead to high blood pressure(1) levels. It is temporary, but should not be overlooked. Some people may resort to drinking alcohol, smoking, or even stress eating. These habits will only worsen the condition. Instead, one should practice meditation and yoga to relieve oneself from stress.
4. Physically Inactiveness
Lack of physical activity may lead to the condition of obesity and other health problems. Being active and exercising regularly will help in increased blood flow to all the blood vessels in the body. It also leads to the release of natural hormones that lower the levels of blood pressure.
5. Low Potassium Content in the Diet
Potassium helps in balancing the sodium levels in the cells of the body. It also helps in smoothing the cells of the muscles and helps in relaxing the arteries. It lowers the levels of blood pressure effectively.
6. Consumption of Excess Alcohol
Consuming more than two drinks per day may constrict the blood vessels. It also causes heart rate levels to rise and an increase in blood flow. Moreover, too much drinking of alcohol can also cause hypertension.
Ways to Control High Blood Pressure
If you want to keep the blood pressure under control, diet plays a vital role. There is a specific blood pressure diet that needs to be followed to keep the heart healthy. Take a look at the list of foods that should be included in the menu for high blood pressure.
Diet for High Blood Pressure – Food to Include
1. Dash diet
Dash diet is a recommendation of food items that can help in the lowering of blood pressure. It is for the patients dealing with high blood pressure, and it puts a significant impact on changing the health of the patients in a very positive way.
Why Is It Good?
Dash diet has always been good because it covers the food items that provide all the necessary nutrients to the body in the form of a balanced diet. The nutrients tend to manage all the metabolisms across the body and help in proper circulation of blood.
What to Eat?
For having a successful Dash diet, one must add certain food items to the meals. The essential food items include – fruits, nuts, dairy products, vegetables, seeds, legumes, whole grains, fish, poultry, and lean meat. These can help you in going a long way to reduce your blood pressure.
Blueberries among other berries are packed with compounds such as flavonoids. One of the studies shows that the intake of these compounds helps in lowering blood pressure levels and also preventing hypertension. Berries such as raspberries(2), blueberries, and strawberries are sure to add to the blood pressure diet.
How to Use?
You can either eat them as a part of your breakfast in the cereal or add them to the juices and smoothies. Also, try adding frozen berries to your dessert and keep a healthy diet on track.
Bananas are a good source of potassium, which makes blood circulation easier in the body. Their salt content is low, which is highly beneficial to lower the blood pressure.
How to Use?
You can include bananas in a lot of desserts and drinks recipes, such as – milkshakes, smoothies and also as an added ingredient among other dishes.
[Read: Health Benefits of Banana]
Beetroots are loaded with nitric oxide that helps in opening the blood vessels in the body and maintaining a healthy level of blood pressure. Beetroots enhance the production of RBCs and platelets in the blood and maintain the regularity in the blood flow.
How to Use?
You can add red beets to juices or boil, dice, and eat them. They can be a good part of the diet for high blood pressure and can be included in stews and stir-fries. Keep these high blood pressure diet foods handy to maintain the right levels of blood pressure.
5. Dark Chocolates
Dark chocolates have significant benefits for heart and diseases related to it. The manufacturing of the commercial dark chocolate includes heating the cocoa butter and cocoa bean in extreme heat up to 161 degrees Fahrenheit.
How to Use?
Dark chocolates are available in many types. Some are compressed cold; some are manufactured by heating at extreme temperatures, etc. The cold and compressed ones are the ones that are good for the high blood pressure patients, as they retain all the antioxidants and the nutrient values in them.
Watermelons have an essential amino acid called L-Citrulline, that can help in the treatment of high blood pressure. The substance can improve blood circulation and reduce systolic blood pressure organically. The amino acid helps in the formation of nitric oxide inside the body. Nitric oxide tends to provide relaxation to the arteries and helps them dilate fast, during blood circulation.
[Read: Benefits of Watermelon]
Garlic is a natural herb that can show a fantastic effect in lowering the blood pressure. Moreover, it is also known for preventing cancer and other severe cardiovascular diseases by reducing cholesterol levels in the body.
How to Use?
Garlic is famous for being a taste enhancing herb in various dishes. You can add it in many stews and soups to have the natural benefits from it.
Diet for High Blood Pressure – Food to Avoid
Some of the foods to avoid to have a healthy diet for high blood pressure are-
Salt is detrimental for people with high blood pressure and heart disease. It is essential to know which of the food items have high sodium content and should be avoided. Some of the packaged foods that are saltiest are-
- Vegetable juices
- Deli meat
- Canned soup
- Bottled or canned tomato products
- Frozen pizza
2. Packaged Food and Meat
If you are suffering from high blood pressure, he or she should reduce the consumption of trans fat and saturated fat. Food items that have a high content of these fats are –
- Red meat
- Full-fat dairy
- Chicken skin
Although trans fat is naturally present in dairy products and fatty meats, packaged and processed foods are the most significant contributors to trans fat. Too much intake of trans fats and saturated fats increase the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. It merely means that it can make the condition of high blood pressure worse and can also lead to coronary heart disease in the future.
To reduce the risk of high blood pressure due to trans fats, you must control the intake of sugar. One should also replace these unhealthy fats with plant fats such as olive oil, seeds, nuts, and avocado, to name a few.
Consuming low to moderate levels of alcohol does not hamper the health condition or increase the levels of blood pressure. However, excessive consumption of alcohol can increase the same. It can also increase the risk of liver damage or liver cancer. The blood pressure can spike up temporarily if a person drinks more than three drinks a day. Moreover, consistent drinking can also have long-term problems.
It is a simple fact that excessive intake of sugar can lead to weight gain and obesity, which puts pressure on the heart and increases the levels of blood pressure. Sugar in the form of sweetened drinks such as packaged juices should be avoided entirely by a person with high blood pressure. It is not a great option even for people who are not suffering from this health condition.
A healthy diet is one that is wholesome and low on processed food. It is best to avoid these foods mentioned above and keep a good list of foods for high blood pressure diet.
High blood pressure is a reversible condition, and it can be controlled effectively by following the right diet. It’s that simple. All you need to do is know which foods are the best to include in your diet and which ones are not for intake completely. Moreover, make sure that the menu is full of berries, leafy greens, red beets, and fish. These food items will keep you healthy and hearty and keep the blood pressure in check.
It is also necessary to check the readings of your blood pressure to know if the levels are maintained or not. It is essential to follow smart eating strategies such as developing a no-sodium diet, no-sugar diet, no-packaged or processed foods and cut back on chicken skin.
One of the essential things to note here is that following a healthy diet for lowering high blood pressure does not mean that you have to deprive yourself of tasty food. You should know the right balance of what to eat and what to avoid. It is also a great idea to get a doctor’s or nutritionist’s consultation if you think you need to plan out a professional diet chart for high blood pressure.
1. What Can I Drink to Lower Blood Pressure?
Drinking sufficient water every day can lower your blood pressure and will make you stay hydrated for a more extended period. Water possesses essential minerals that can help you out in dealing with high blood pressure.
2. Can Proper Diet Alleviate the Condition of High Blood Pressure?
The best way to control high blood pressure is by having a proper and balanced healthy diet, which involves all the essential nutrients that can lower the blood pressure. Preferring a Dash diet for high blood pressure is one among the best ideas to reduce the blood pressure.
3. How Is Banana Useful in Managing Blood Pressure?
Bananas have high amounts of potassium that can make the circulation of blood easier. Along with potassium, it has a lower quantity of salts, which is an excellent benefit as salt can deteriorate the condition of high blood pressure. Hence, bananas are highly useful in managing blood pressure.