Top 10 foods for improving blood pressure

Top 10 foods for improving blood pressure

High blood pressure (HBP) infects the veins of society. It is defined as high pressure in the arteries, which are vessels that carry blood throughout the body. HBP increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, aneurysms and kidney failure.

Blood pressure is the amount of force that blood exerts against arterial walls. It is measured by two sets of numbers. Systolic pressure is pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure is pressure in the arteries between heart beats.

Blood pressure medications have been shown to help reduce HBP; however, these medications also have unpleasant side effects. Fortunately, you don’t have to resort to prescription drugs to treat HBP. All of the followings foods have been shown to help lower blood pressure.

1. Watermelons

Watermelons can help combat HBP by preventing arterial walls and veins from hardening. According to a study published in the American Journal of Hypertension, L-citrulline is a natural, edible amino acid in watermelon that can help normalize blood pressure. L-citrulline’s sister amino acid is L-arginine, which isn’t tolerated by people with HBP. The L-citrulline in watermelon was well tolerated by HBP participants in the study, which converts into L-arginine after it’s consumed.

2. Blueberries

Blueberries have more antioxidants than any other berry, which can help lower HBP by fighting against free radicals. According to a study published in Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, daily blueberry consumption improves blood pressure in postmenopausal women with pre- and stage 1 hypertension.

Blueberries have made their claim to fame as a superfood. The most powerful antioxidants in blueberries are anthocyanins, which are responsible for the dark blue color of blueberries. You can incorporate blueberries into your morning breakfast, either as a juice, smoothie or cereal topping.

3. Avocados

Avocados are a rich and creamy fruit used in a variety of dishes. They’re also an excellent source of potassium and magnesium — two minerals that are important for lowering blood pressure. It’s easy to add avocados to your diet as a substitute for butter or cream cheese. Nevertheless, avocados are high in calories, so make sure to balance your diet with exercise or to consume them in moderation.

4. Broccoli

Broccoli is praised for its fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C. It is also a source for sulforaphane glucosinolate (SGS), which is a compound that can significantly improve blood pressure and kidney function. A 2012 animal study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that SGS helped reduce blood pressure levels in hypertensive rats. The green sprout can be baked into many entrees or served as a side dish.

5. Potatoes

Potatoes are labeled as a fattening food by health-conscious critics. While french fries soaked in oil are certainly fattening, research from the American Chemical Society found that a couple of servings of spuds per day can lower blood pressure as well as oatmeal can, without promoting weight gain.

According to the report, diastolic blood pressure dropped by 4.3 percent and the systolic pressure decreased by 3.5 percent in participants who had a history of HBP and obesity. The researchers identified a substance in the potatoes similar to ACE inhibitors, which are common medications used to treat HBP.

This doesn’t mean you should stock up on potato chips and french fries. In order to reap the health benefits of potatoes, it’s best not to overcook or burn them, as that would destroy nutrients and produce toxic chemicals linked to cancer.

6. Kiwis

Kiwis are distinguished by their fuzzy follicles and sour taste. Although kiwis are small, they are chock full of lutein, an antioxidant responsible for lowering blood pressure. In a Norwegian study, approximately 100 male smokers between the ages of 44 and 74 with normal/high-normal blood pressure were divided into three groups. The first group added three kiwis to their diet, the second group added antioxidant-rich foods to their diet, and the last group ate a normal diet. After eight weeks, the participants who ate three kiwis a day dropped their blood pressure by 33 percent.

7. Spinach

Spinach is no exception among foods that help lower HBP. As a source for vitamins C, E and A, it should come as no surprise that spinach helps mitigate health problems associated with oxidative stress. Oxidative stress is the result of an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidant defenses. The antioxidants in spinach can help restore this imbalance.

8. Beans

Beans are magical for many reasons. Researchers from St. Michael’s Hospital’s Risk Factor Modification Center found that eating a cup a day of legumes is linked to lower blood pressure. The study, published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine, consisted of 121 type 2 diabetics. Some of the participants consumed a cup of legumes for three months. By the end of the study, people who ate one cup of legumes a day significantly lowered their blood pressure. Beans are an effective way to lower HBP due to their high amounts of potassium.

9. Raisins

Raisins have long been cited as a way to naturally lower blood pressure. In 2012, a small study presented to the American College of Cardiology examined the blood-pressure-lowering effects of raisins in comparison to other snacks. Approximately 46 men and women with pre-hypertension were involved in the study. The investigation found that consuming a handful of raisins three times a day significantly reduced systolic blood pressure at weeks four, eight and twelve compared to other snack foods in the study.

10. Dark chocolate

Dark chocolate, believe it or not, made it on the list for foods that help lower HBP. The health benefits of dark chocolate won’t be found in milk chocolate, however. Nevertheless, the antioxidants in dark chocolate have been shown to fight off free radicals. The antioxidant flavonoids in dark chocolate lower HBP by improving the elasticity in the blood vessels. If chocolate is a absolute necessity for you, try looking for candy bars with dark chocolate.

HBP is associated with a host of health problems, so it’s important to take preventive measure as soon as possible. The highlighted list illustrates that you can treat HBP without prescription drugs with uncomfortable side effects. Rather than go for the treatment, go for the cure.

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