Nutritionist Recommended Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
In India, one in every four adults suffers from hypertension or high blood pressure, with only half of them knowing that they have high BP. Only 10 % of those diagnosed manage to get their blood pressure under control. It is estimated that nearly 20 crore Indians have high blood pressure with almost 10 million new patients added yearly. These findings are scary, as high blood pressure symptoms are not evident but can cause serious damage to the body’s vital organs.
If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, the first step that your doctor will recommend is to alter your diet. It is considered the first line of treatment for hypertension, before medicines or drugs, and is one of the best natural ways to lower high blood pressure.
So, How To Reduce Blood Pressure Quickly And Naturally?
Changing your diet can significantly reduce high blood pressure. Here are some important pointers, which a nutritionist may recommend
The DASH Diet –
DASH means Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. It is a long term diet plan that is specifically designed to help treat or control high BP. The focus in DASH Diet is to lower the intake of sodium and increase the intake of foods rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, omega 3 and other essential nutrients. The DASH Diet is primarily plant-based foods eating plan with lots of fruits & vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy products and lean meat and a significantly reduced salt intake.
There are two versions of DASH Diets as far as sodium limit is concerned:
- Standard DASH Diet – Where the person can consume 2,300 mg of sodium daily (which is the recommended limit for a normal person or for people at risk of developing high BP)
- Lower Sodium DASH Diet – Where the person should consume no more than 1,500 mg of sodium (recommended for patients with high blood pressure)
Nutrients And Diets That Keeps High BP In Check
Studies have shown that including foods that are rich in minerals such as potassium, magnesium and calcium lower blood pressure as they help dilate the arteries, enabling easier blood flow and less pressure on the heart to pump fast.
- Potassium – One of the most important minerals that the body needs to function properly. Potassium is very useful for lowering blood pressure as it balances the negative effects of sodium. In fact, the more potassium you eat the more sodium is flushed out through urine by the body. In addition, potassium eases the pressure on the blood vessels which helps keep blood pressure in check. Physicians generally recommend an increase in potassium in the diet of an otherwise healthy patient if their blood pressure measures above 120/80 mm Hg. Bananas are a great source of potassium and must be included in the daily diet. Melons, dried fruit, orange juice, potatoes, tomatoes, dried beans/peas, spinach, spinach, kale, lettuce, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip greens, milk, yogurt, and fish are other good sources of potassium.
- Magnesium – Magnesium is natural mineral that aids in regulating healthy cell function and muscle fibre contractions. Some studies have found that taking 368 mg of magnesium supplements daily for three months reduced people’s systolic blood pressure by an average of 2 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg), and reduced their diastolic blood pressure by an average of 1.8 mm Hg. Some good sources of magnesium include spinach, high-fiber cereal, lentils, whole-grain bread, almonds, cashews, mixed nuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, soybeans, legumes, halibut, and oatmeal.
- Calcium – Along with potassium, calcium is the key mineral to prevent hypertension and lower blood pressure as it assists blood vessel constriction and dilation. Studies have revealed that higher dietary intake of calcium is associated with lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The recommended level of 1,000-1,200 milligrams per day may be help in preventing and treating moderate hypertension.
Sardines (with bones), fat-free milk and dairy products such as yogurt, calcium-enriched orange juice, cabbage, and broccoli, guavas, grapefruit, are some rich sources of calcium.
- Omega 3 – Omega-3 fatty acids are an important nutrient as they help lower blood pressure naturally, keep triglycerides in check, support brain function including memory, reduce inflammation and enhance cardiovascular health. Fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and tuna as well as flaxseeds, cod liver and canola oils, and walnuts are important sources of Omega 3.
- Whole Grains – Whole grains are high fibre, low-fat foods and consist of other healthy nutrients such as potassium, magnesium, folate, iron and selenium. Eating more whole-grain foods on a regular basis reduces the risk of developing high blood pressure or hypertension). Oatmeal, berries, dried beans, brown rice, farro, quinoa are good sources of whole grains that can be included in the daily diet.
- Dark Chocolate – Dark chocolates are high in flavonoids, particularly a sub-type called flavanols that causes dilation of the blood vessels and may help lower blood pressure. Some studies have found that the type of dark chocolate that contains 50 -70 % of cocoa lowered blood pressure in all participants but especially those with hypertension. The study also found that dark chocolate increased insulin sensitivity thus lowering the risk for diabetes.
- Foods With Nitrate – Nitric dioxide widens the blood vessels and therefore reduces blood pressure. Beet, pomegranates, and garlic are high in nitrate content.
- Soy – Soybeans are a rich source of heart-healthy nutrients and can help reduce blood pressure. Soybeans also offer building blocks for nitric oxide and contain potassium, fiber, and calcium – all of which play a vital role in controlling high BP. An intake of 25 gms of soy protein is recommended per day. Soymilk, unsalted dry-roasted soy nuts are good sources of soy. Altering your diet that includes healthier but tasty eating options can go a long way in decreasing your risk of developing high BP, or in case you are already diagnosed then keeping blood pressure in control. The benefits of a high blood pressure diet are not restricted to controlling just your blood pressure but are will promote all-round health of your body for a problem-free, long life.
Bananas, leafy green vegetables, beet are well-known foods that aid in controlling blood pressure levels. In addition, there are other foods that are also useful for lowering blood pressure.
Note of caution: This article is for information purposes only. Always consult your doctor before altering any diet plans, medications or in case of any other blood pressure-related troubles.