Hypertension is the rise of the pressure of blood against your artery walls and can cause heart attack, kidney disease, stroke, and cardiovascular diseases
While you can’t control predisposing factors for hypertension, such as age, family history, gender, and race, you can control other factors, such as physical activity and diet.
Read below to discover which foods can help you low your blood pressure.
Generally speaking, the rule is that you should eat more low-fat protein
sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables.
Eating more foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium will also help in lower your blood pressure.
15 foods that help lower blood pressure!
Beans are the best source of low-fat proteins, and its consumption helps to lower blood pressure. Also, the digestion of beans in the body helps to burn fat and eliminate “bad cholesterols”.
They also contain soluble fiber, magnesium and potassium, all of which are essential nutrients for lowering blood pressure.
Groundnut is a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids or the good fats. They are also great sources of proteins. Nuts are rich in L-arginine which helps to reduce the damage of blood vessels wall by hypertension and also reduces blood pressure. Nuts also contain antioxidant vitamins Vitamin E, which protect the blood vessels from oxidative stress.
Berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. Their consumption berries help prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure. Flavonoids help the arteries relax by inducing a vasorelaxant process.
Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet.
- Skim milk and yoghurt
Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. Maziwa mala and murski also fall in this category. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure. You can also opt for yoghurt if you don’t like fresh milk.
Oatmeal fits the bill for a high-fibre, low-fat, and low-sodium way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up for the day.
- Bananas and plantains
Eating foods that are rich in potassium is better than taking supplements. Also, plantain is a staple food in Africa, and you can add it to different cuisine.
Fish is a great source of lean protein. Fatty fish are high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can lower blood pressure, reduce inflammation, and lower “bad cholesterol”.
Nile perch is one such type of fish said to contain the highest amount of omega 3 fatty acids in the world.
In addition to these fish sources also contain vitamin D. Foods rarely contain vitamin D, and this hormone-like vitamin has properties that can lower blood pressure.
Unsalted seeds are high in potassium, magnesium, and other minerals that are known to reduce blood pressure. Enjoy a serving of pumpkin, melons or squash seeds as a snack between meals. Also, melon seeds are popular in West Africa as “Egusi soup”.
- Garlic and herbs
Garlic can help reduce hypertension by increasing the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps promote vasodilation, or the widening of arteries, to reduce blood pressure.
Flavourful herbs and spices help to improve food’s taste and reduce your salt intake.
Examples of herbs and spices you can add to your food include basil, cinnamon, thyme, ginger, and more.
- Dark chocolate
Who doesn’t like chocolate? Dark chocolate helps to lower risk for cardiovascular disease (CVD).
A Harvard study found that eating a small piece/square of dark chocolate daily can contribute towards lowering blood pressure especially for people with hypertension.
Dark unsweetened chocolate contains flavonoid compounds (natural substances widespread in plants and are responsible for the colors of many flowers and fruits) which cause dilation of the blood vessels and is important for the control of blood pressure.
- Greens vegetables and leaves
Potassium helps your kidneys eliminate sodium in your urine. This will lower your blood pressure.
Leafy greens, which are high in potassium, include:
- Sukuma wiki
- Romaine lettuce
- Jute leave
- Beet greens
In Africa, vegetable soup is a staple, and eating it isn’t just delicious but also beneficial for health.
- Olive oil
Olive oil is an example of healthy fat. It contains polyphenols, which are inflammation-fighting compounds that can help reduce blood pressure.
Olive oil can help you meet your two to three daily servings of fat. It’s also a great alternative to canola oil, butter, or commercial salad dressing.
Pomegranates are a healthy fruit that you can enjoy raw or as a juice. One study concluded that drinking a cup of pomegranate juice once a day for four weeks helps lower blood pressure over the short term.
Pomegranate juice is tasty with a healthy meal, and help to produce more blood cells.
Multipurpose fruit! Who doesn’t like avocado? It’s rich in fibre, “good cholesterols”, vitamins and minerals. Avocado helps to lower the risk of hypertension, protect the wall of blood vessels, and still taste good.
- Sweet and Irish potatoes
One of the best sources of potassium is a potato. Potatoes are also rich in vitamins, iron, and fibres that help to reduce blood pressure.
Remember! Roasted, baked, or boiled potatoes with its skin give more potassium than without its skin.
Take Home: You can reduce your risks for hypertension and promote good overall wellbeing by having a good healthy diet.