Hypertension or high blood pressure refers to the pressure of blood against your artery walls. Over time high blood pressure can cause blood vessel damage that leads to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Hypertension is sometimes called the silent killer because it produces no symptoms and can go unnoticed and untreated for years. According to the centers for disease control and prevention (CDC), an estimated 75 million Americans have high blood pressure.
Many risk factors of high blood pressure are out of your control, such as age, family history, gender and race, but there are also factors you can control, such as exercise and diet. A diet that can help control blood pressure is rich in potassium, magnesium, and fiber and lower in sodium. Hypertension is a global health concern and the world health organization (WHO) suggests that the growth of the processed food industry has the amount of salt in diets worldwide and that this plays a role in hypertension.
FAST FACTS ON HYPERTENSION
- Normal blood pressure is 120/80mmHg, but hypertension is higher than 130/80mmHg.
- Unmanaged hypertension can lead to a heart attack, stroke, and other problems.
- Acute causes of high blood pressure include stress, but it can happen on its own or it can result from an underlying condition, such as kidney disease.
- Lifestyle factors are the best ways to address high blood pressure.
FOOD THAT CAN HELP LOWER BLOOD PRESSURE
Here are some the food that can help to lower blood pressure
potassium helps your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine and this in turn lower your blood pressure. Leafy greens which are high in potassium include; romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, spinach, beet green, sewiss chard etc. canned vegetable often have added sodium but frozen vegetable contain as many nutrients as fresh vegetable and they are easier to store. You can also blend these veggies with bananas and nut milk for a healthy sweet green juice.
Berries especially blueberries are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids. One study found that consuming these compounds might prevent hypertension and help lower blood pressure. Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries are easy to add. You can put them on your cereal or granola in the morning or keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthy dessert.
Skim Milk and Yogurt
Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important element of a diet for lowering blood pressure. You can also opt for yogurt if you don’t like milk. According to the American Heart Association, women who ate five or more serving of yogurt a week experienced a 20 percent reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure. Try and incorporating granola, almond slivers, and fruits into your yogurt for extra heart- healthy benefits when buying yogurt, be sure to check for added sugar. The lower the sugar quantity per serving the better.
Oatmeal fits the bill for high- fiber low fat, and low – sodium way to lower your blood pressure. Eating oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to fuel up the day. Overnight oats are a popular breakfast option. To make them soak ½ cup of rolled oats and add berries, granola, and cinnamon to taste.
Garlic and Herbs
one review notes that 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. Incorporating flavorful herbs and spices into your daily diet can also help you cut back on your salt intake. Examples Cinnamon, thyme, rosemary, etc.
THE “DASH” DIET AND RECOMMENDED FOODS
Dietary recommendation for lowing blood pressure such as the dietary approaches to stop hypertension (DASH) diet, include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol. Following the DASH diet for two weeks can lower your systolic blood pressure ( the top number of a blood pressure reading) by 8-14 point.
Serving suggestion for the DASH diet include:
- Dairy (low –fat): 2-3 servings
- Healthy fat (avocado coconut oil ghee): 2-3 servings
- Vegetables: 4-5 servings
- Fruit: 4-5 servings
- Nuts, seeds and legumes: 4-5 servings
- Lean, meat, poultry, and fish: 6 servings
- Whole grains: 6-8 servings
In general, you should eat more low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. The DASH guideline also suggest eating more food rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. The guidelines also recommend no more than:
- Five serving of sweets per week
- One drink per day for women
- Two drink per day for men.