The foods you eat directly affect your blood pressure. Some foods can help lower it; others cause high blood pressure (hypertension). Your diet is so critical that it has the power to prevent and treat high blood pressure. In some cases, changing your diet can help you avoid medications.
The team at Woodlands Heart and Vascular Institute help each patient create a healthy eating plan, but there’s no need to wait until you develop a problem. Following the diet tips in this blog post will give you a head start on the road to preventing cardiovascular disease.
While there are more than five foods that lower blood pressure, the foods included here provide nutrients that are vital for lowering your blood pressure:
Beets may not be at the top of your shopping list, but you can improve your blood pressure by including these vegetables in your diet. Beets and beet juice are high in nitrates, substances that turn into nitric oxide inside your body.
Your body naturally produces nitric oxide, which is crucial for blood vessel health. Nitric oxide relaxes and widens your arteries, allowing more blood to flow through and significantly lowering blood pressure.
While beets are one of the best sources of nitrates, you can also boost your nitric oxide with spinach, celery, and radishes.
Oats are packed with two nutrients that reduce blood pressure: soluble fiber and magnesium. Magnesium helps blood vessels relax, while soluble fiber protects your blood vessels by reducing levels of damaging cholesterol.
As cholesterol builds up in your arteries, the fatty plaque enlarges and hardens. Both changes damage the artery’s health and lead to high blood pressure.
Soluble fiber also helps keep blood sugar in the normal range. High blood sugar leads to hypertension as the excess sugar inhibits nitric oxide production.
3. Dark leafy greens
Leafy greens such as spinach, Swiss chard, kale, beet greens, and collards pack a punch when it comes to lowering high blood pressure. They’re sources of magnesium, as well as potassium, an essential nutrient for preventing or lowering high blood pressure.
Potassium eliminates sodium, a mineral that dramatically raises your blood pressure. Most people get way too much sodium and too little potassium in their daily diets, a double blow to your health that causes hypertension.
The more potassium you eat, the more your sodium levels drop. In addition to leafy greens, you can get potassium from bananas, potatoes, tomatoes, nuts, and seeds.
No matter what type of bean you like, it will help lower high blood pressure. Beans are great sources of potassium, magnesium, and soluble fiber.
Canned beans have all the same nutrient, but they’re often high in salt. You can buy canned beans with no sodium or reduced sodium. Rinsing the beans before you use them also helps eliminate excess salt.
5. Citrus fruits
Citrus fruits are among the top sources of vitamin C, a powerful antioxidant that supports healthy arteries and lowers blood pressure by reducing inflammation. Vitamin C also protects the artery lining by increasing nitric oxide levels.
A cup of orange juice gives you an entire day’s worth of vitamin C. Beyond citrus fruits, you can also get vitamin C from sweet red peppers, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
If you need help creating a healthy meal plan or would like blood pressure screening, call Woodland Heart and Vascular Institute or book an appointment online today.