High blood pressure and hypertension is far too prevalent in the United States. Nearly half of all American adults have hypertension. Of those people, only one in four have theirs under control. Though it is important to follow your doctor’s instructions if you have high blood pressure, there are foods you can use to help manage and control it. (1)
6 Foods That Can Help You Manage and Lower High Blood Pressure
When it comes to managing your blood pressure, look no further than your kitchen to help you out. Whether you’re looking to just prevent hypertension in the first place, or you already have it and want to use lifestyle choices in conjunction with what your doctor has prescribed you, there are many things you can eat to help. In fact, six foods have been shown to have a positive effect on reducing blood pressure. (2)
1. Fatty fish (salmon, mackerel, tuna)
Fatty fish is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. It has been shown to help reduce blood pressure in people who are overweight or obese and those who are not overweight. Omega-3 fatty acids also help lower triglyceride levels and improve insulin sensitivity.
2. Citrus fruits (lemon, lime, oranges)
Citrus fruits contain flavonoids which work as antioxidants in the body and protect against free radicals. This can damage cells and lead to cardiovascular disease. This is especially if they aren’t neutralized quickly enough by antioxidants. These include vitamin C (found in citrus fruit) or vitamin E (found in nuts).
3. Beans and lentils (kidney beans, chickpeas)
Beans and lentils are great sources of soluble fiber. This type of fiber can help lower cholesterol levels by binding with bile acids in the digestive tract and preventing them from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream to be reused. It also helps food move through your intestines more quickly, which means you feel full sooner and for longer.
4. Seeds (sunflower seeds)
Seeds are another great source of fiber. In fact, sunflower seeds contain more fiber than any other nut or seed. They’re also a good source of vitamin E and magnesium, both of which can help lower blood pressure levels by reducing inflammation in the arteries.
5. Pomegranate juice or berries
Pomegranate juice reduces blood pressure thanks to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. It also improves cholesterol profiles as well as improves and prevents the atherosclerotic plaques that are responsible for heart attacks and many strokes. Similarly, pomegranate juice decreases inflammation and oxidative stress in the body. It also lowers blood pressure by inhibiting the activity of angiotensin-converting enzymes (ACE). This is an important enzyme that helps regulate blood pressure levels. (3)
6. Dark leafy greens (spinach, kale)
Dark leafy greens are packed with vitamins and minerals. They also contain magnesium and calcium that help relax blood vessels and prevent constriction, which can lead to high blood pressure. These foods also contain potassium, which is important for lowering blood pressure levels by helping the kidneys eliminate excess sodium from the body through urine.
The Bottom Line
Through diet and exercise you can prevent high blood pressure and hypertension, even if it runs in your family. You can also successfully manage it, along with help from your doctor, if you already have it. In fact, many people have successfully reduced the number of medications they need to be on for their blood pressure by improving their diet and starting a regular exercise routine. These are just a few foods to get you started.
That being said, don’t simply replace what your doctor has prescribed you with these foods cold-turkey. You need to work with your health care provider to incorporate diet and exercise into your current blood pressure management plan. From there, in your regular checkups, your doctor can advise as to if/when you are ready to start reducing your medications.
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- “Facts About Hypertension.” CDC
- “The 17 Best Foods for High Blood Pressure.” Healthline. Jillian Kubala, MS, RD. December 14, 2021.
- “Pomegranate Juice Benefits: May Lower Blood Pressure and Improve Your Heart Health.” University Health News. UHN Staff. April 6, 2020.
Disclaimer: This information is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and is for information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions about your medical condition and/or current medication. Do not disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking advice or treatment because of something you have read here.