7 Best Foods to Eat For High Blood Pressure, Say Dietitians
High blood pressure is a serious diagnosis, but it can be managed with the right lifestyle changes. Chances are if you've been told by a doctor that you have high blood pressure or are at greater risk for it, you've also been warned about certain foods to stay away from, such as salty foods like chips, canned soups, and deli meats.
But what about some of the foods you should add to your diet? Getting the right nutrients and caring for your overall health can help you manage your levels and keep your health in top shape. To learn more, we asked a few dietitians to give us their recommendations for the best food for high blood pressure.
Read on to learn what they had to say, and for more healthy heart tips, check out The Best Foods to Eat If Heart Disease Runs In Your Family.
Dark leafy greens
Dark leafy greens like spinach and kale are good for your health for a number of reasons, but they're especially helpful for those with high blood pressure.
"Magnesium is a rarely considered mineral that plays many roles in the body, over 600 functions at the cellular level, and it can help to reduce blood pressure by increasing nitric oxide production, which relaxes blood vessels. Other foods rich in magnesium include whole grains and legumes," says registered dietitian Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD at Balance One Supplements.
According to Janet Coleman, RD, a registered dietitian with The Consumer Mag, a helpful thing to do for your blood pressure is to "eat at least two servings of fatty fish, such as salmon or mackerel, each week because they're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to benefit heart health."
Milk and Yogurt
If you're a fan of dairy products, you may be in luck! According to Coleman, milk and yogurt can help you manage your blood pressure levels.
If you're looking for a tasty vegetable to add to your dinner plate, try adding some bok choy.
"Bok choy is a versatile cabbage that provides a hefty dose of vitamins A and C, along with calcium and fiber, and calcium is known to support optimal blood pressure because it plays a role in the contraction and relaxation of blood vessels," says Rachel Fine, RD, a registered dietitian and owner of To The Pointe Nutrition.
"Avocados are a rich source of potassium, which helps with our electrolyte balance and lowers blood pressure," says Fine. And Best agrees, saying that "potassium works in much the same way as magnesium in that it relaxes blood vessels which enables less restrictive passage of blood through the body."
Don't be afraid to load up on the garlic, because among its many health benefits is the potential to help lower your blood pressure.
"Garlic has been used for centuries as a natural medicine to treat a wide variety of ailments, and in recent years, studies have shown that garlic can help reduce high blood pressure," says Coleman.
In fact, one recent review from Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine found that garlic supplements were effective in lowering blood pressure and helping with cardiovascular help. They also found that adequate intakes of vitamin B12 helped in the effectiveness of the garlic.
As Best mentioned earlier, potassium can significantly help those who have high blood pressure or are at a higher risk.
"Potassium-rich foods to add to your diet to lower blood pressure include bananas, avocados, dried fruit, spinach, and potatoes, and these can be easily added to your standard diet in an effort to increase nutrient-rich foods and manage blood pressure."
Also, cut back on processed food
Lastly, dietitians warn that while adding healthier foods to your diet can help your blood pressure levels, it's also important to avoid certain foods that may be raising it.
"Eating a diet that is rich in processed foods is linked to an increased risk of high blood pressure because these foods are typically high in trans fats, added sugars, and added salts. Processed foods are also often made with refined grains instead of whole grains, which may increase inflammation in the body," says Coleman.
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