Hypertension or high blood pressure is known as a silent killer. If left unattended, this disease can increase your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Your diet and lifestyle play an important role in managing high blood pressure and delaying or reducing dependency on medication. Here are a few tips on what your diet should contain.
1. Leafy Greens
Green leafy vegetables are a rich source of minerals like potassium. This helps the kidneys filter and remove sodium from the body in the form of urine. The level of sodium and blood pressure are directly related. Thus, as the sodium levels fall, so will your blood pressure. Some of the leafy greens that can help with this are spinach, romaine lettuce, kale, arugula, collard greens, turnip leaves, and beet greens. As far as possible, eat fresh green vegetables. Avoid canned versions as they usually have added sodium.
Beetroots are a rich source of nitric oxide. This helps open the blood vessels and thus, lowers the blood pressure. According to some studies, the effects of beetroot juice on high blood pressure can be experienced within 24 hours. Beetroot can be cooked and eaten as a vegetable or in salads or juiced. They can also be baked into chips.
Yogurt made from skimmed milk has low-fat content and is high in calcium. Since weight management is an important part of regulating blood pressure, yogurt is a great mid-day snack. You can make yogurt at home or buy some at the store. If you’re buying yogurt, check the label for added sugar. Ideally, yogurt should have no added sugar. Instead, you can flavor it with berries, chopped fruit, almond slivers or granola.
Fish is a low-fat protein that nourishes the body and reduces the risk of high blood pressure. Fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. This helps reduce inflammation, lowers triglycerides and in turn reduces blood pressure. Fish like trout is a rich source of Vitamin D. Vitamin D is not found in many other food sources and it has a unique property that lowers blood pressure.
Garlic can be eaten by itself to treat high blood pressure. When it is digested, garlic increases nitric oxide levels in the body. As mentioned above, this widens blood vessels and reduces blood pressure. If you do not like the taste of garlic on its own, you can use it to flavor foods along with other herbs such as basil, thyme, rosemary, and cinnamon. Using herbs to flavor food also reduces the amount of salt needed and hence, lowers sodium levels.
Having one serving of pistachios each day can help lower blood pressure levels. These nuts reduce the peripheral vascular resistance or the tightening of blood vessels and regular heart rate. Pistachios can be eaten on their own as a snack or added to salads and roasts. They can even be used to make sauces.
When you have high blood pressure, it is of utmost importance that you take care of your lifestyle. Through a healthy diet, you can ensure reduced risks for hypertension and overall well-being.