Having high blood pressure can be detrimental to an individual’s health, increasing their risk of kidney disease, heart disease and having a stroke. Medications are the first thing that you should consider when you need to lower your blood pressure, but lifestyle modifications and diet changes are another way to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of the conditions associated with it.
Following a nutritious diet that is healthy for the heart is suggested for all people that have high blood pressure, even when they are using medication to lower their blood pressure.
Berries have a range of health benefits and one of these is their potential in reducing heart disease factors such as high blood pressure. Berries provide lots of antioxidants which can increase nitric oxide levels in the blood. This reduces the production of molecules that restrict the blood vessels which then may help reduce blood pressure. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and cloudberries are all a great option, and they can be eaten as a snack throughout the day or with your breakfast bowl of yoghurt or cereal!
Carrots are a common and easy to find vegetable, so it should be easy to incorporate this into your diet. Carrots are packed full of nutrition and rich in phenolic compounds which can help to reduce inflammation and relax blood vessels, potentially leading to lower blood pressure levels. Carrots are great raw and cooked, but it can be more beneficial to eat raw if the aim is to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy raw carrots in salads or just as a snack on their own!
Spinach is full of potassium, antioxidants, magnesium and calcium as well as being high in nitrates. Nitrates aid in relaxing the blood vessels so this could help lower blood pressure. Try to incorporate spinach into soups, salad bowls and rice dishes. Spinach can be eaten both cold and hot, making it very easy to add to different types of meals!
Do you have a sweet tooth but are also trying to change to a healthier lifestyle? Well, dark chocolate is the answer! Chocolate that is rich in cocoa can help reduce blood pressure if eaten in moderation. Start by eating dark chocolate that contains at least 70% cocoa and eat a single square a day. You can have this as a snack or with natural yoghurt after dinner.
Garlic is an antifungal and natural antibiotic food. The main active ingredient in garlic is allicin and it is related to some health benefits. Garlic can increase the production of nitric oxide in the body which helps to relax the blood vessels, helping to lower blood pressure. Garlic is a great addition to a wide range of savoury meals adding flavour and depth. Try adding garlic instead of salt to your next savoury meal.
Foods to avoid
Whilst some foods and ingredients can help relieve high blood pressure, there are some foods that can make them worse. Prevent high blood pressure by reducing your salt intake, caffeine intake and alcohol. Although a moderate amount of red wine can be okay, consuming a large amount of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically.