by Matt Weik, BS, CSCS, CPT, CSN
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a common issue that affects millions of Americans. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that around 1 in 3 U.S. adults have high blood pressure and should find ways through food or medicine that can control and help lower high blood pressure before it causes further severe health conditions.
High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems such as heart attack and stroke if left unattended. Fortunately, there are plenty of natural ways you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure and lower your blood pressure.
If you’re living with this condition, try to include these 13 foods to naturally help lower high blood pressure.
1. Citrus Fruits
These fruits are rich in vitamin C, which has been found to help lower high blood pressure by acting as an antioxidant and increasing the production of nitric oxide. This helps relax the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure by allowing blood to flow more easily through the body. According to a study, it was found that people who drank orange juice every day had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t.
Garlic is another great food that can lower blood pressure. It contains allicin, which has been shown to help reduce hypertension and improve cardiovascular health. Garlic reduces cholesterol levels and prevents platelets from sticking together and forming clots, thereby reducing the risk of heart attack or stroke by up to 20%.
3. Salmon and Other Fatty Fish
Salmon contains omega-3 fatty acids that help control blood pressure. A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that people who ate salmon or other fatty fish at least twice a week could help lower high blood pressure than those who ate less than one serving per month. Fish oils reduce inflammation, which can cause your arteries to narrow and increase your risk of high blood pressure.
Berries are rich in antioxidants that help protect the body from free radicals. They also contain potassium and magnesium, which help maintain normal blood pressure levels. Blueberries are one of the best sources of anthocyanins (the pigment responsible for the blue color), which have been found to help lower high blood pressure in clinical trials.
Oatmeal contains fiber, which helps keep cholesterol and triglyceride levels down, as well as magnesium and potassium — both of which play an important role in regulating blood pressure levels. In addition, oatmeal contains beta-glucan soluble fiber, which has been found to reduce high cholesterol and prevent heart disease by lowering LDL “bad” cholesterol levels while raising HDL “good” cholesterol levels.
Yogurt contains two compounds that can help lower high blood pressure — probiotics and potassium. Probiotics are friendly bacteria that live in our digestive system and help us digest food properly. Potassium helps remove excess fluid from our bodies and lowers blood pressure by relaxing our muscles and arteries.
Broccoli is a good source of fiber, which can help lower cholesterol levels and reduce inflammation in the body that triggers high blood pressure. Broccoli also contains vitamin K, which helps regulate blood clotting and prevent blood clots from forming in your arteries. It has also been shown that broccoli contains nitrates that can help increase nitric oxide levels, which can cause vasodilation of the blood vessels.
Beets are loaded with betaines, powerful antioxidants that help prevent oxidative stress on our bodies that can lead to high blood pressure. Beets contain folate as well as iron, both nutrients essential for maintaining good heart health.
Pistachios have been shown to reduce blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. A recent study found that consuming 1 ounce (about 28 grams) of pistachios per day for four weeks resulted in a significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic readings.
Pomegranates are packed with potassium, which helps relax blood vessels and improves circulation. They also contain antioxidants like ellagic acid and punicic acid that protect against damage from free radicals, which can cause problems such as high blood pressure or inflammation of the arteries (atherosclerosis).
Avocados help lower bad cholesterol levels in the body, which can reduce the risk of heart disease by reducing inflammation in the arteries. They also contain a lot of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFAs), which have been shown to be effective at lowering high blood pressure levels by helping prevent clots from forming in the arteries (atherosclerosis).
12. Dark Chocolate
According to a study, dark chocolate can help lower high blood pressure by as much as 4 mmHg in people who consume two to three ounces daily for two weeks. The beneficial ingredient in dark chocolate is cocoa flavanols, which have been found to improve endothelial function and decrease inflammation.
Carrots are rich in natural antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. They contain beta-carotene, which is converted into vitamin A by the body. Vitamin A helps regulate blood pressure. It also improves the elasticity of blood vessels, which can help lower high blood pressure.