All You Need to Know About a High Blood Pressure Diet
A study published in 2018 found that one in five young adults in India has high blood pressure. This equates to almost 80 million people suffering from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Certain causes of sudden high blood pressure cannot be controlled such as genetic history, age, gender or race. But other factors, such as food, can definitely be monitored.
So Which Are The Foods That Lower Blood Pressure? Let’s Find Out About A Proper High Blood Pressure Diet…
- Potassium-rich Foods –
Ideally, a normal person needs to consume 3500 – 5000 mg of potassium per day. Potassium helps the kidneys to get rid of sodium (salts) through urine which helps lower your blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip greens are high in potassium and should be a part of your daily diet.
Bananas are another rich source of potassium and should be eaten every day. Unsalted pumpkin or sunflower seeds are also high in potassium and magnesium and can be eaten at snack time.
- Diet That Includes Omega 3 And Protein –
Fish are a great source of lean protein. In particular, salmon and mackerel are a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which lowers blood pressure & triglycerides and also helps reduce inflammation. Trout can also be included in your diet as trout contains Vitamin D (rarely found in food) which also helps control blood pressure.
- Calcium-rich Foods –
Low-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk, yogurt are very high in calcium, a mineral that plays an important role in lowering blood pressure.
- Low Sodium Diet Foods –
High fibre, low fat, low sodium foods such as oatmeal, berries, dried beans, brown rice, farro, quinoa and fruits such as berries (contains flavonoids that help prevent hypertension), apples, pears are some of the best foods that you can have first thing in the morning.
- Roots Rich In Nitric Acid –
Beetroot is a superfood if you have high blood pressure. High in nitric acid, consumption of beet juice can make a difference to your high blood pressure in just 24 hours. Pomegranates seeds/juice are also high in nitrate content. Studies suggest that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure. Another root/herb that can help reduce hypertension is garlic. Garlic increases the production of nitric oxide in the body that promotes the widening of the blood vessels that reduces blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate –
Who would have thought that one of your favorite foods will be good for your health? Yes, studies show that eating 100 gms of dark chocolate (that has a lot less sugar in it than regular chocolate) per day can improve cardio-vascular health.
- Other Healthy Foods That Help Regulate Hypertension –
In addition, pistachios (reduce blood vessel tightening), olive oil (contains a compound called polyphenols which fights inflammation) must also be part of a regular diet plan as they are all useful in lowering blood pressure.
Which Are The Foods To Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure?
- Foods High In Sodium(Salt) –
Excess intake of salt is a big no-no for people with high BP, as it is directly related to cardiovascular diseases. This doesn’t mean you have to give up on salt completely. Limit the consumption to less than 1500 mg per day and you should be fine. As much as possible, avoid processed foods like packaged potato chips, flavoured nuts, frozen foods, instant noodles, etc. as these are known to have high sodium content.
- Sugar –
Sugar essentially contributes to weight gain and obesity, and these factors eventually lead to rise in your blood pressure. As you would be knowing, excessive sugar leads to diabetes as well. Its best, therefore, to avoid artificially sweetened foods like sweets, candies, aerated drinks, processed juices, etc. if you have high BP.
- Saturated Fats And Trans Fat –
The last thing you want, if you have high BP, is bad cholesterol. And cholesterol can increase due to foods that are high in saturated or trans fats. It’s best to watch your intake of red meat, butter, full-fat dairy products, and fatty cuts of meat as these can cause your blood pressure to rise.
- Alcohol –
Here again, excess of alcohol can have adverse effects on people with hypertension. Besides contributing towards obesity, excess alcohol can interfere with the effectiveness of some high BP medications as well. Even if you do choose to drink, make sure you do so in moderation.
So, if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, include a diet that is rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, omega 3, proteins, high-fibre, low fat. Avoid foods high in sodium, trans-fat, saturated fats and alcohol. This will not only reduce your risk of hypertension but will also improve your overall health.
Note of caution: This article is for information purpose only. Always consult your doctor before altering any diet plans, medications or in case of any other blood pressure related troubles.