If you have high blood pressure, you are definitely not alone. Researchers estimate that 33% of adults in the United States have hypertension, and only half of them have the condition under control.
High blood pressure can lead to heart disease, stroke, and other serious health problems, so it’s important to take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.
Diet is one of the most important things you can do to lower your blood pressure. Eating a healthy diet rich in whole foods, like fruits and vegetables, and low in processed foods, salt, and added sugar can help lower your blood pressure naturally.
In this article, we will share the best foods you can consider adding to your diet to naturally lower your blood pressure.
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Best Foods for Your Blood Pressure
Some examples of the best foods to eat to lower blood pressure include:
- Green tea
- Citrus fruit
In general, whenever you eat a meal that is high in fat content, it puts your arteries in a state of shock. Over time, this causes them to stiffen and become hardened.
One study found that if you eat walnuts with a meal that is high in fat, it results in effects that are much less severe.
You should strive to limit saturated fat consumption. However, you can consider adding walnuts to your diet in order to mitigate some of the negative effects.
Walnuts are also a great source of magnesium, which is a mineral that is essential for keeping blood pressure under control. They are also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation, which is another contributing factor to high blood pressure.
2. Green Tea
Studies found that those who drink green tea on a regular basis tend to have a healthier cardiovascular system than those who don’t.
Green tea is loaded with polyphenols, which researchers believe can provide multiple health benefits, including for your heart and blood vessels.
One study found that those who drink green tea were 20% less likely to experience heart disease or have a stroke. They were also 22% less likely to pass away from heart-related conditions.
Flaxseeds are one of the most popular superfoods around the world because they offer several health benefits for the human body.
They’re great for your arteries because their components work to decrease cholesterol levels, which can lower blood pressure and decrease the likelihood of a blood clot forming. Like walnuts, flaxseeds are also a good source of magnesium.
You can easily add flaxseeds to your diet by including them in smoothies, sprinkling them on top of oatmeal or yogurt, or using them as an ingredient in other healthy dishes.
Fish is another great food to include in your diet if you’re looking to naturally lower your blood pressure. That is because fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to reduce inflammation throughout the body.
Studies found that the components of omega-3s work to decrease the manifestation of cellular adhesion. This means that they can decrease the buildup of plaque that occurs in the arteries.
When you decrease plaque buildup, it also lowers your risk of other heart-related problems. In addition, fish is also a good source of protein and other nutrients that are essential for your overall health.
Beans are rich in fiber and are well-known for being a heart-healthy food. Like other foods listed, beans also work to decrease plaque buildup which is effective in lowering blood pressure levels.
Studies have also shown that eating beans can decrease the amount of bad cholesterol in the body, keeping your arteries healthy over time.
You can easily add beans to your diet by including them in salads, soups, or as a side dish with your meals.
6. Citrus Fruit
Most will agree that citrus fruits are delicious; however, they are also packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can benefit the cardiovascular system.
These fruits are high in flavonoids, which are effective in decreasing inflammation and free radicals in the blood. They help decrease plaque buildup while lowering cholesterol, which is likely why eating citrus fruits is linked to a lower risk of stroke and other cardiovascular problems.
Citrus fruits are also high in vitamin C, which is an important nutrient for the health of your immune system.
Turmeric is the bright yellow spice that is often found in Indian cuisine. It wasn’t until recently that medical experts discovered its positive health benefits.
Turmeric is high in antioxidants that help prevent fatty deposits from developing in the arteries. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties that help prevent the arteries from hardening over time.
Turmeric works to lower blood pressure by helping the body produce more nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps to relax and widen the blood vessels, which leads to decreased blood pressure levels over time.
Turmeric is also a potent anti-inflammatory agent, which can help protect the heart and reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Cinnamon is a spice that is often used to add flavor to sweet and savory dishes. However, many people don’t know that cinnamon also offers several health benefits, particularly for the cardiovascular system.
It contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that are responsible for improving cholesterol and blood pressure levels. A study found that eating one-half teaspoon of cinnamon per day can decrease your blood sugar, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol levels.
I mean, what more could you ask for?
There are several ways that you can add cinnamon to your diet, so get creative! Personally, I love adding cinnamon to my morning cup of coffee, as there are also benefits to the combination of cinnamon and caffeine.
Oats contain antioxidants that inhibit inflammatory proteins, which can lower LDL cholesterol levels and help prevent atherosclerosis.
Atherosclerosis is a condition that causes the arteries to harden and narrow over time, which can eventually lead to heart disease. Obviously, this is something that we should strive to avoid.
Oats are loaded with fiber, which offers several other health benefits, including decreasing the risk of diabetes, stroke, and cancer.
Unfortunately, researchers found that the majority of adults aren’t getting the recommended amount of fiber in their diet. This is why you can do your cardiovascular system a favor by including more oats (and fiber) in your daily routine.
Beets are a unique food, but we had to include them in this list because they contain high levels of nitrates.
Nitrates are converted into nitric oxide in the body, which has been shown to help relax and widen the blood vessels. This leads to improved blood circulation and lower blood pressure levels.
Beets are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that offer additional protection for the cardiovascular system.
If you’re not a fan of eating beets raw, you can cook them, roast them, or even blend them up with your juice or smoothies. Your cardiovascular system will be glad you did.
Blood Pressure: Foods to Avoid
When it comes to blood pressure, not all foods are created equal. There are certain foods that you should avoid if you want to keep your blood pressure levels under control. This includes:
- Fatty foods
- Whole milk and cream
- Processed meat
- Fried foods
- Ice cream
- Baked goods
- Foods high in sodium
- Foods high in sugar
In general rule, you should try to avoid foods that are high in cholesterol because it combines with fat, calcium, and other substances in the blood to form plaque. This can cause blockages in the arteries.
Also, you may consider avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat and trans fat. They are also culprits when it comes to plaque buildup in the arteries.
By making some simple dietary changes, you can improve your blood pressure levels and protect your cardiovascular system. Start by adding more of the foods on this list to your diet and avoiding the foods that are harmful to your heart.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about medications that can help lower your blood pressure if lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Thanks for reading!
John Landry, BS, RRT
John Landry, a registered respiratory therapist from Memphis, TN, has a bachelor's degree in kinesiology. He's passionate about using evidence-based research to help others breathe easier and live a healthier life.