13 Best Foods to Lower your Blood Pressure Naturally

May 31, 2021

13 Best Foods to Lower your Blood Pressure Naturally

Hypertension, or also known as high blood pressure, is a silent killer. This condition is a risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease, and stroke. Almost 1 in 2 adults in the United States have hypertension and only a quarter of those diagnosed have their condition under control! [1]


Upon diagnosis, your doctor may prescribe you some medications. These medications help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. However, comprehensive studies show that dietary modifications are also significant in keeping your blood pressure within optimal targets. [2


Even if you are currently on medications to control your hypertension, healthcare professionals highly recommend supplementing your medicines with a nutritious and healthy diet. 


Generally, foods high in magnesium and potassium are essentials to include in any heart-healthy diet. [3] On the other hand, steer clear of foods high in sodium or salt. 


Here's a list of the 13 best foods to lower your blood pressure naturally and keep you and your heart in tip-top condition!


Pumpkin seeds 



Due to their mineral and antioxidant content, pumpkin seeds have impressive health benefits, especially when it comes to your heart’s health. The World Health Organization (WHO) has labeled it the best food to get your daily zinc and magnesium requirements. [4


Pumpkin seeds are loaded with minerals that help reduce blood pressure by promoting blood vessel relaxation. [5] If you’re wondering how much to take, just a quarter of a cup of unsalted pumpkin seeds is enough to boost your daily magnesium intake. [6]


Of course, the ones straight from a pumpkin are much healthier than those processed salted pumpkin seeds sold in grocery stores. Plus, consuming seeds with the shells still intact is an excellent way to heighten your fiber intake, which may contribute further to reducing your risk of heart disease! [6]


Other than that, pumpkin seed oil is classified as unsaturated fat, which can help promote great cardiac health. [7] An efficient and convenient way to consume pumpkin seed oil is by purchasing supplements in pill form! 


Broccoli 



These green florets may not be everyone’s favorite, but it is one of the best foods that may assist in lowering your blood pressure. Thanks to its powerful antioxidant properties, studies suggest it can improve the function of your blood vessels and reduce blood pressure. [8]


A large-scale study discovered that people who had at least four servings of broccoli a week reaped its benefits in lowering their blood pressure. [9] In case you’re wondering, one serving of broccoli is about half a cup. That’s quite a large amount of broccoli required to boost your heart’s health but remember, no pain, no gain. 


Gentle steaming is the best way to go about cooking your broccoli if you intend to gain maximum benefit per serving! If you cannot stomach that, then sauté or roast them. 


Greek yogurt  



Yogurt seems to contribute towards every health benefit possible, and that includes your heart’s health! It has been scientifically studied and found to help with lowering blood pressure. [10]


Low-fat Greek yogurt is the healthiest option as it does not contain as much sugar and calories as those flavored ones. Do be cautious because some brands even contain up to 34 grams of sugar per serving! Moreover, if you’re looking to preserve your heart’s heart, you should avoid excessive sugar consumption. 


Consuming as little as two servings of yogurt per week can lower your chances of stroke and heart disease. Astoundingly, that small portion size can decrease your risk by up to 20%! [11]


We all know that plain yogurt isn’t as delightful as flavored ones. Don’t despair. You can add some of the following foods below for that extra punch of sweetness and flavor! 


Berries

The pigments giving berries their vibrant color are antioxidants, so berries are linked to some impressive health benefits. 


Though more conclusive research is required to confirm its potential in lowering blood pressure, give it a shot. [12] Berries have a delicious fruity flavor and are a great addition to your plain yogurt! 


You might be wondering which berries help protect your heart. Studies suggest that blueberries, raspberries, cherries, blackcurrants, chokeberries, and strawberries have observable effects on blood pressure reduction. [13,14] You can take blueberries and strawberries three times per week for improved health as a whole. [15


Do take note that the best way to savor them is fresh and unprocessed, though! In comparison, packaged juices are less nutritious and may contain unhealthy additives like sweeteners and artificial preservatives. 


Bananas



According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the recommended daily intake of potassium is 4700mg. Potassium plays an essential role in combating high blood pressure as it lessens sodium's effect in the body. [16


One medium-sized banana contains approximately 420mg of potassium [16]. Of course, you won’t need to consume ten bananas a day! However, eating them each day is a great way to supplement your diet and ensure you reach your daily recommended potassium intake. 


Other foods rich in potassium include avocados, oranges, peas, potatoes, prunes, and raisins. As a word of warning, if you have kidney disease, you need to watch your potassium intake [16].


Kiwi

Due to its rich vitamin C content, this nutrient-dense fruit possesses great potential in lowering blood pressure. According to the results of this study, participants who ate three kiwis a day experienced more potent blood pressure lowering effects than those who ate an apple a day. [17]


Unsurprisingly, eating three kiwis a day is not the most cost-efficient thing to do. Don’t cross it off your list immediately, though! You can add a kiwi here and there to your yogurt or smoothies. Because they’re packed with vitamin C, they can contribute to your blood pressure reduction! 


Perhaps you’re on a budget. In that case, a vitamin C supplement will do. As little as 500mg of vitamin C can produce an observable effect in controlling and maintaining good blood pressure readings. [18


Oats 

You may be in a dilemma when choosing the healthiest oats for yourself. Generally, steel-cut oats contain the most fiber compared to rolled oats or instant oats because they have undergone the least processing [19]. Nevertheless, oats, in general, have been proven in studies to decrease blood pressure significantly! [20]


If you want something quick and convenient, you can get instant oats. The better option, however, is to cook some steel-cut or rolled oats in a pot. Other than that, including them in baked goods, muesli, biscuits, granola, and bread can diversify your options when consuming oats. 


The recommended quantity to consume depends on the type you have chosen. One serving of oatmeal per day should suffice to see some improvement in several aspects; Your blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol. [21,22,23] If that’s not enough to convince you, oats may help you lose weight as well!


Salmon (and other fatty fish)

The omega-3 fatty acid is the holy grail when it comes to your heart’s health! Salmon is packed with healthy omega-3 fatty acids. These contribute to bringing down your blood pressure by decreasing inflammation and hindering the production of chemicals that constrict your blood vessels. [24


Other than salmon, sardine, cod, herring, and tuna are other fishes that contain exceptional amounts of omega-3. Regarding the quantity, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advises that at least two servings of these fishes are needed per week. One serving is approximately the size of a deck of cards. [25


Unfortunately, fishes such as these don’t come at meager prices. Fret not! You can consider fish oil supplements that are more convenient and affordable and a great way to fulfill your required omega-3 intake if you hate fish. With how technology has advanced, many of these supplements have no fishy odor or scent. 


Garlic 

Every Asian household has an abundance of this food! Via various research studies, researchers discovered that garlic preparations have cardioprotective effects. [26]


Since excessive salt consumption can increase your blood pressure, you can use garlic to add fragrance to your dishes while cutting down on the salt content.


Include it in all your-stir fried dishes, omelets, noodles, and soups to increase flavor while minimizing salt usage. Furthermore, garlic may help to control your blood sugar levels, too!


If you’re one of the odd ones out who dislike garlic, then odorless supplements are a good option as well. Moreover, garlic supplements have also shown effectiveness in promoting good digestive health and lowering cholesterol levels! [27


Beets

Beets and beet juice have been proven in abundant studies to have fantastic blood pressure lowering effects, but that only comes with daily consumption. Scientists also found that beet juice is more potent in preserving heart function than cooked beets. 


Around 250ml of beetroot juice should produce some benefits, but these benefits reduce if you are already on hypertension medications. [28] Furthermore, some studies show that those blood pressure lowering effects are short-lived. Hence, long-term benefits could be negligible [29]. 


Nevertheless, if you’re a fan of beetroot, incorporating it into your diet may be a good start to promoting healthy blood pressure levels. 


Dark chocolate

Even though chocolate has garnered a reputation to be detrimental to health, that’s not entirely true. It depends on the type of chocolate, the sugar content, and the amount you consume. 


Fortunately for chocolate lovers, dark chocolate has been scientifically studied and shown to decrease blood pressure readings. [30] Dark chocolate is rich in flavonoids, and this compound is associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. Overall though, these studies are inconclusive, and eating dark chocolate alone isn’t going to do much for your heart. [31]


The vital thing to remember is to eat it in moderation and to choose types or brands with minimally 70% cacao content. Please don’t go crazy with eating dark chocolate in hopes that it will cure hypertension. Unfortunately, it won’t. 


Pistachios 

Among all the nuts, pistachios are the most potent when it comes to blood pressure management. [32] Because of their decent potassium content, they were found to produce significant blood pressure lowering effects, which reduces the risk of heart disease. [33]


About a handful of these (one ounce) daily will make a delicious and healthy snack. [34] Do not go overboard with pistachio consumption, though, and choose those plain, unsalted ones with the shells still intact. 


Why? The process of removing those shells will help you slow down when it comes to snacking on them. Plus, you can tell from the number of shells accumulated if you have had one too many! 


Spinach

The benefits of spinach are innumerable. They are loaded with potassium, magnesium, and antioxidants, which all contribute to their antihypertensive effects! [35


You can savor them either raw or cooked, but take note that the recommended intake is 2 cups per day. If you hate veggies, try them in soups, stews, curries, or sautee them with several garlic cloves to enhance the flavor.


A word of caution; If you are on anticoagulant or blood-thinning medication, do not drastically increase your intake of spinach or other dark leafy greens, as this may affect the drug’s anti-clotting properties. [36


Conclusion 


The famous saying goes, ‘You are what you eat.' If you intend for your blood pressure to stay within safe and healthy limits, your diet plays a critical role! Moderation is the key in this case. Taking too much of these foods may backfire and cause unwanted side effects. 


Additionally, take extra caution if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, taking any medications and supplements, or have any medical conditions. 


If you fall into any of these categories, please consult your trusted healthcare professional before drastically changing your diet. Some of these foods in high amounts may potentially worsen your medical condition or interact dangerously with prescribed medications.  



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