High blood pressure — also known as hypertension — occurs when pressure of blood against your artery walls is too high. The World Health Organization estimates that 1.28 billion persons worldwide suffer from high blood pressure. Unbeknownst to them, 46% of people also have excessive blood pressure.
Blood pressure is influenced by a number of factors, many of which are related to lifestyle and nutrition. Consuming a balanced diet can help control, prevent, and reduce high blood pressure.
Why does hypertension occur?
According to the Cleveland Health Clinic, high blood pressure usually results from a combination of circumstances rather than a single cause. A poor diet, consuming large amounts of sodium, drinking alcohol in excess, and not getting enough exercise are some of the most prevalent causes of high blood pressure.
The signs and symptoms of hypertension are limited. According to the CDC, high blood pressure is sometimes referred to as “the silent killer” by medical professionals because many people are unaware that they have it. Check your blood pressure at least once a year because of this.
Methods for reducing hypertension
Without the need for medication, there are a number of lifestyle modifications that can help lower high blood pressure. Harvard Health states that maintaining a nutritious diet, cutting weight, exercising frequently, and reducing stress can all help lower high blood pressure.
“Eating a diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and low in saturated fat and cholesterol can lower high blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg,” reports the Mayo Clinic. “Even a small reduction of sodium in the diet can improve heart health and reduce high blood pressure by about 5 to 6 mm Hg.”
Here are seven items and dietary adjustments that may aid in decreasing blood pressure.
1. The DASH Diet
The American Heart Association recommends a balanced diet rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and low-fat dairy products as part of Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, or DASH. Limiting alcohol, fatty meats, added sweets, saturated fats, and sodium is another recommendation made by DASH.
“The DASH diet can lower blood pressure because it has less salt and sugar than the typical American diet. The DASH diet cuts out desserts, sweetened beverages, fats, red meat, and processed meats,” reports WebMD.
The DASH diet suggests the following daily servings, per the Mayo Clinic:
- Fruit: four to five portions daily.
- Vegetables: Four to five servings per day.
- Grains: Count on six to eight portions daily.
- Dairy products with reduced or no fat: Two to three servings daily
- Lean meats, chicken, and fish: No more than six one-ounce portions daily.
- Four to five servings of nuts, seeds, or legumes each week.
- Two to three servings of fats and oils per day.
Five servings or fewer of treats and added sugar per week
According to a 2014 study, people following the DASH diet had reduced blood pressure even if they did not cut back on sodium or exercise.
According to the Deseret News, berries are a superfood packed with health advantages, including enhancing heart health, reducing anxiety, and enhancing cognitive function. Additionally, they might aid in lowering blood pressure. Anthocyanins, which are antioxidants, are abundant in berries.
A 2019 review indicated that berries’ anthocyanins may help decrease blood pressure. According to several scholars, this theory needs additional proof.
Specifically, blueberries have the potential to reduce blood pressure. According to a research in the Journals of Gerontology, those whose blood pressure dropped by five millimeters of mercury over the course of 28 days when they drank a wild blueberry beverage every day.
Yogurt is another meal that might help decrease blood pressure. It’s crucial to remember that not all yogurts are created equal; those with a lot of added sugar might not be as healthy as plain or natural yogurt.
“Dairy products are one of the best dietary sources of calcium in terms of bioavailability,” reports Medical News Today. “Calcium is essential for the development and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. It is also important for blood clotting, wound healing, and maintaining normal blood pressure.”
Eating three servings of dairy per day is linked to a 13% lower risk of high blood pressure, according to a comprehensive evaluation of 28 studies. Dairy consumption increases have been associated with a lower risk of low blood pressure.
Additionally, a 2021 study published in the International Dairy Journal shows that those who consume yogurt on a regular basis had lower arterial and systolic blood pressure than people who do not.
4. Dark chocolate
According to the Deseret News, consuming dark chocolate on a regular basis has several health advantages, including a lower chance of heart disease, enhanced brain function, and favorable impacts on mental health.
As per the American Heart Association, flavonoids, which are abundant in dark chocolate, have the potential to lower blood pressure. Additionally linked to a lower risk of heart disease, insulin resistance, and “bad” cholesterol are these flavonoids.
According to a 2016 analysis of 35 clinical trials that was published in the Cochrane Library, people with high blood pressure who frequently consumed dark chocolate saw a 4 point drop in their blood pressure.
5. Green leafy vegetables
Rich in nitrate, leafy vegetables help control blood pressure. A 2021 study found that eating a serving of leafy green vegetables every day can lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Kale, spinach, collard greens, Swiss chard, and cabbage are a few common leafy greens.
Your body holds onto more fluid when you eat salt. To increase your intake of potassium, load your plate with leafy greens like collards, kale, spinach, and broccoli. The mineral relaxes the walls of your blood vessels and aids in the body’s removal of sodium through urination, according to WebMD.
6. Oily fish
According to the Deseret News, eating fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, and sardines can improve sleep and lower your risk of heart disease. Eating fish is advised by the American Heart Association to occur at least twice a week.
A 2022 study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association examined 71 papers and over 5,000 participants’ health reports in an attempt to find a connection between blood pressure and omega-3 fatty acids. The researchers discovered that eating fatty fish, which is high in omega-3 fatty acids, on a daily basis may help lower blood pressure.
“If you eat fish instead of animal protein high in saturated fat, like red meat, processed meat or full-fat dairy, then it can favorably affect your blood pressure as well,” Maya Vadiveloo, assistant professor of nutrition and food sciences at the University of Rhode Island and vice chair of the nutrition committee of the American Heart Association, told the AARP.