Hypertension is commonly known as high blood pressure. Having hypertension puts you at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that 116 million people in the United States have hypertension and only about 24% of them have it under control (CDC, 2021).
Healthcare professionals will recommend exercise, diet modification, and medications to control blood pressure. Oftentimes people do not want to go on medication unless absolutely necessary. As long as it is safe and you are not in immediate danger or have other health risks your healthcare professional may allow you to delay prescribing medication if you are dedicated to exercise, diet, and follow-up assessment.
The CDC recommends getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week or 30 minutes five times a week. Getting enough exercise is usually the easier part for most people. The difficult part is changing your diet. Continue reading for foods that could help lower your blood pressure.
Fruits That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Certain types of berries such as blueberries and strawberries contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin. Research suggests that consuming berries with this antioxidant could help prevent hypertension (Vendrame & Klimis-Zacas, 2019).
Citrus fruits such as oranges and grapefruits could help lower blood pressure. They contain vitamin C and antioxidants that are beneficial to health. Studies suggest that grapefruit juice can decrease blood pressure and be used in the management of health (Feyh, et al. 2016). Be advised to check with your healthcare professional about consuming citrus fruits or juice because they can have an interaction with some medications.
Pomegranate juice has many antioxidant and anti-inflammatory functions that can be beneficial to cardiovascular health. A small study found that drinking pomegranate juice can have antihypertensive effects and reduce arterial blood pressure (Feyh, et al., 2016).
Tomatoes, watermelon, papaya, red grapefruit, and guava contain a carotenoid called lycopene which may benefit vascular and cardiovascular health. Lycopene is known to be an antioxidant that can provide many health advantages (Mozos, et al., 2018).
The American Heart Association (2016) recommends that food that is high in potassium can help manage high blood pressure because potassium reduces the effects of sodium. They recommend potassium-rich fruits such as apricots, cantaloupe, honeydew, grapefruit, oranges, prunes, and tomatoes to help aid blood pressure management.
Vegetables That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Garlic is a vegetable that has strong antioxidant properties and is used often in cooking. Evidence suggests that garlic has high cardiovascular benefits and can be used to lower blood pressure (Feyh et al., 2016).
Carrots eaten raw are another vegetable that has been linked to significantly decreasing blood pressure. The same study also suggested that cooked peas, celery, and scallions can aid in blood pressure treatment (Chan, et al., 2014).
Beets contain a vasodilator known as nitric oxide. Vasodilators open up your blood vessels and therefore reduce blood pressure. There is strong evidence that suggests that beets or beet juice can provide significant benefits to cardiovascular health (Gee and Ahluwalia, 2016).
As mentioned previously, the American Heart Associate recommends potassium-rich foods to help with hypertension management. Some potassium-rich vegetables include peas, spinach, beans, and green leafy vegetables.
Fish Can Help Lower Blood Pressure
Evidence suggests that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial to heart health (Filipovic, et al., 2018). Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in certain types of fish such as salmon, mackerel, cod, herring, trout, and tuna. If you do not like the taste of fish over-the-counter omega-3 supplements can be purchased.
Hypertension which is also commonly known as high blood pressure can be lowered with diet, exercise, and medication. It is important to advise with your healthcare professional about hypertension management and what would be the best treatment for you. There are many foods that can contribute to a healthy diet and help lower blood pressure.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021, September 27). Facts about hypertension. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.cdc.gov/bloodpressure/facts.htm
Feyh, A., Bracero, L., Lakhani, H. V., Santhanam, P., Shapiro, J. I., Khitan, Z., & Sodhi, K. (2016, April). Role of dietary components in modulating hypertension. Journal of clinical & experimental cardiology. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4857880/
Filipovic, M. G., Aeschbacher, S., Reiner, M. F., Stivala, S., Gobbato, S., Bonetti, N., Risch, M., Risch, L., Camici, G. G., Luescher, T. F., von Schacky, C., Conen, D., & Beer, J. H. (2018). Whole blood omega-3 fatty acid concentrations are inversely associated with blood pressure in young, healthy adults. Journal of hypertension, 36(7), 1548–1554. https://doi.org/10.1097/HJH.0000000000001728
Gee, L. C., & Ahluwalia, A. (2016). Dietary Nitrate Lowers Blood Pressure: Epidemiological, Pre-clinical Experimental and Clinical Trial Evidence. Current hypertension reports, 18(2), 17. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11906-015-0623-4
How potassium can help control high blood pressure. www.heart.org. (2016, October 31). Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/high-blood-pressure/changes-you-can-make-to-manage-high-blood-pressure/how-potassium-can-help-control-high-blood-pressure#.WzNfBBJKiu5
Mozos, I., Stoian, D., Caraba, A., Malainer, C., Horbańczuk, J. O., & Atanasov, A. G. (2018, May 23). Lycopene and vascular health. Frontiers in pharmacology. Retrieved March 1, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5974099/
Chan, Q., Stamler, J., Brown, I. J., Daviglus, M. L., Van Horn, L., Dyer, A. R., Oude Griep, L. M., Miura, K., Ueshima, H., Zhao, L., Nicholson, J. K., Holmes, E., Elliott, P., & INTERMAP Research Group (2014). Relation of raw and cooked vegetable consumption to blood pressure: the INTERMAP Study. Journal of human hypertension, 28(6), 353–359. https://doi.org/10.1038/jhh.2013.115
Vendrame, S., & Klimis-Zacas, D. (2019). Potential Factors Influencing the Effects of Anthocyanins on Blood Pressure Regulation in Humans: A Review. Nutrients, 11(6), 1431. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu11061431