High Blood Pressure Diet & Lifestyle Changes

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High blood pressure is a common and potentially serious condition. However, a high blood pressure diet may be a good approach to help remedy the situation. By following a high blood pressure diet similar to the DASH diet, you may be able to reduce blood pressure by a few points in as little as two weeks. And by sticking to a high blood pressure diet, over time, your systolic blood pressure could drop by eight to 14 points. (1) These changes in numbers could make a significant difference in your health risks. And it could all start by choosing and sticking to a high blood pressure diet.

Some of the best foods that lower blood pressure include: (2)

1. Garlic

Garlic may be one of the foods that lower blood pressure quickly. A study published in the July-August 1993 issue of the journal “Pharmacotherapy” found that garlic reduces blood pressure. In this study, participants who had severe hypertension were given a garlic solution of 2,400mg of garlic containing 1.3 percent allicin, an organosulfur compound found in garlic that has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties. In less than five hours, the participants’ sitting blood pressure fell 7/16 mm Hg. And within five to 14 hours, all their diastolic pressures dropped dramatically. (3)

2. Vegetables

It’s not likely news to you that eating vegetables is a part of any healthy diet. Sure enough, veggies are great for lowering blood pressure, too. A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who ate a mostly plant-based diet reported lower blood pressure readings than meat eaters who were likely to consume less fresh produce. (4)

2. Fresh Fruit

Consuming fresh fruit, especially citrus fruits, has shown to lower blood pressure. Opt for fresh fruit in its natural form, as opposed to canned fruit or fruit with added sugar. (5)

 

3. Beans and Legumes

Lentils, chickpeas, and black beans are great sources of fiber, and fiber may help to lower blood pressure. (7) They’re a great choice for vegans and vegetarians and they’re low in sodium as well as low in calories. If you buy the canned variety, be sure to rinse the extra sodium off in a strainer before consuming.

4. Healthy Fats

Healthy fats, such as nuts, seeds, and avocados are all excellent choices to incorporate in a diet to lower blood pressure.

High cholesterol is associated with a risk of cardiovascular disease. With the buildup up plague comes the increased difficulty for blood to pass through arteries, leading to high blood pressure. A study published in The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition states that replacement saturated fat with polyunsaturated or monounsaturated fat lowers both LDL and HDL cholesterol. (8)

5. 100 Percent Whole Grains (Preferably Sprouted)

Whole grains are encouraged in high blood pressure diet plans. This is because they’re a good source of fiber. They also contain minerals known to lower blood pressure, especially compared to refined carbohydrates. (9)
Some examples of whole grains to eat in moderation include sprouted grains such as brown rice, amaranth, buckwheat, and quinoa. (10)

6. Low-Fat Dairy Products

Low-fat dairy products, such as kefir or unsweetened, organic yogurt, have been shown to have a positive effect on some people who deal with high blood pressure. (11)

There are also foods to avoid with high blood pressure, such as processed foods, as they tend to be high in sodium. You also want to limit red meat, saturated and trans fats. (12) Furthermore, there are a few tips and lifestyle changes you can put into practice that will help you maintain a healthy blood pressure range.

These tips and lifestyle changes include:

1. Cook More at Home

Treating high blood pressure without medicine is easier when you eat out less and cook at home more. It will help keep our diet as unprocessed as possible. Making nutrient-dense meals at home will help you avoid excess sodium and sugar, while boosting blood-pressure lowering nutrients such as potassium, antioxidants and fiber. (13)

2. Increase Fiber Consumption

As mentioned above, fiber can help prevent hypertension. Almost all unprocessed plant foods have plenty of fiber, so choose a variety to consume every day. (14)

3. Lower Your Sodium Intake

If you have high blood pressure, you really need to watch your sodium intake. High amounts of sodium worsens high blood pressure by impacting fluid retention and how arteries dilate. (15)

Sodium in and of itself isn’t bad. However, the standard American diet involves entirely too much sodium and far too little potassium and magnesium. (16)

4. Get More Potassium

Too little potassium in conjunction with too much sodium contributes to high blood pressure. (17) Winter squashes, bananas, beans, and avocados are all great sources of potassium. (18) The right balance of potassium and sodium are is needed in order to perform a number of important functions. (19)

5. Stay Hydrated

Studies suggest water might help control blood pressure. (20) Instead of reaching for juice, soda, coffee or tea, reach for a glass of water and refill it several times throughout the day.

6. Practice Portion Control

Some diets for high blood pressure emphasize portion control. When it comes to dieting, some people become frantic, fearing they will never be able to eat their favorite foods again. Focus on filling up on healthy options, first. This will help you control cravings for the wrong foods, or at least not eat so much of it. (21)

Sources:
1. Mayo Clinic
2. Berkeley Wellness
3. Online Library 
4. The JAMA Network
5. NCBI
6. NCBI
7. Web MD
8. NCBI
9. NCBI
10. US News
11. NCBI
12. Heart.org
13. Mercola
14. NCBI
15. Eufic
16. Livestrong 
17. Harvard Health Publishing
18. Web MD
19. Health Communities 
20. Science Daily
21. Family Doctor

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