Certain foods naturally lower blood pressure. Adding these foods to your diet can significantly reduce your risk of high blood pressure. A diet low in sodium and rich in potassium, magnesium, nitrate, and fibre can help prevent and control blood pressure.
Below are the top 10 foods that work just like antihypertensive drugs and lower your blood pressure:
1. Leafy green vegetables
Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, fennel, and cabbage are very dense in nutrition. These are packed with potassium, magnesium, nitrates, and full of fibre. Low potassium intake is one of the risk factors for developing high blood pressure. The potassium content of leafy green vegetables flushes out sodium.
The rich magnesium content acts as a calcium channel antagonist, modulating vascular tone and reactivity that dilates blood vessels. As a result, blood flows without any restriction through your blood vessels, and your blood pressure decreases.
Moreover, nitrate of leafy greens induces vasodilation. Nitrate converts into nitrite in your mouth by oral commensal bacteria. It then converts to nitric oxide in your blood, which relaxes the smooth muscle of your blood vessels and dilates them that allows free-flowing of blood. Prevent using antibacterial mouthwash as it inhibits nitrate to nitrite conversion, and you don’t get the blood pressure-lowering benefit of nitric oxide.
Beetroot is a well-known potent vasodilator. It contains high levels of dietary nitrate; the body converts the nitrate in this vegetable into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes and dilates blood vessels, lowering blood pressure.
For the full benefit, drink a glass of raw beetroot juice because raw beetroot has more potency than cooked one. Research indicates that within hours of drinking raw beetroot juice, it lowers systolic blood pressure.
Eating garlic every day may help reduce your blood pressure. The organosulfur compounds of garlic promote vasodilation and lower blood pressure. Garlic lowers blood pressure through various mechanisms of action.
Dietary intake of garlic boosts hydrogen sulfide production and regulation of endothelial nitric
oxide, which induces smooth muscle cell relaxation and vasodilation; as a result, blood pressure drops. Garlic also blocks angiotensin-II production by inhibition of the angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE).
Allicin is an organosulfur compound that releases when garlic is crushed or chopped. Allicin is highly unstable. Cooking speeds up the degradation of allicin and microwaving destroys it completely.
Eat one clove of freshly crushed garlic empty stomach every day, and it will lower your blood pressure naturally. But keep in mind that raw garlic is quite pungent and can cause burn, so don’t hold it in your mouth for long periods. Too much garlic may cause irritation and digestive upset. If you see the irritation, limit the frequency to 2 to 3 times a week.
Cucumber is rich in potassium, which plays an important role in regulating blood pressure. The excess sodium in your body reduces the ability of your kidneys to remove the water. This makes your body hold fluids that raise your blood pressure.
Potassium lowers blood pressure by balancing out the adverse effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Also, cucumber is a diuretic. It flushes out sodium from the body by increasing your urine production and maintaining fluid balance in the body that helps keep blood pressure in check. Use cucumber in salad, raita, or have cucumber juice.
What can be a better source of potassium than the well-known and probably most blood pressure friendly fruit banana! Eating potassium-rich foods decrease sodium levels in your body. It reduces fluid retention and blood pressure by increasing urine production.
Potassium also acts as a vasodilator that helps ease tension in your blood vessel walls, which helps lower blood pressure. Banana is one of the healthiest fruits because it is very low in calories and has higher water content.
6. Lemon water
Lemon is an excellent remedy for hypertension as it helps keep blood vessels soft and pliable, making them flexible by removing any rigidity. This keeps the blood pressure low. Lemon is rich in vitamin C that works as an antioxidant and has a diuretic effect.
It removes excess fluid from your body, which lowers blood pressure. Furthermore, vitamin C helps protect the levels of nitric oxide in the body that relaxes blood vessels and contributes to maintaining normal and healthy blood pressure.
Taking a glass of warm lemon water every morning on an empty stomach helps you keep the high blood pressure at bay. If you are on blood pressure medicines, do consult your doctor and pharmacist before including citrus fruits like lemon in your diet as citrus fruits can interact with your medications, especially calcium antagonist drugs.
Honey contains antioxidant compounds that are linked to lower blood pressure. Obesity and an unhealthy lifestyle cause oxidative stress in your body that reduces vasodilatory agent nitric oxide available in the body.
The antioxidants present in honey help to keep the nitric oxide levels high in the body by reducing oxidative stress in the body. Nitric oxide relaxes your blood vessels causing vasodilation, which helps to lower the blood pressure.
Take one tablespoon of honey daily or add it to your morning lemon water. Make sure you eat organic honey, not the processed ones. Eat it raw, don’t heat the honey. Heating honey destroys the beneficial enzymes, vitamins, and minerals of the honey.
Nuts such as almonds, cashew nuts, and walnuts are rich in magnesium, fibre, and protein. Magnesium is an electrolyte that helps lower high blood pressure.
Magnesium is a natural calcium channel blocker, it stimulates the production of vasodilators nitric oxide and prostacyclins. These vasodilators relax the blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
Nuts also contain heart-healthy fats that lower cholesterol levels. Remember to get magnesium from your food, not from supplements, to avoid any risk of overdose. Make sure to eat nuts every day.
9. Fenugreek seeds
Drinking fenugreek water can be one of the most effective ways for you to maintain healthy blood pressure. Fenugreek leaves and seeds contain a high amount of dietary fibre. A diet rich in fibre has been linked to steady levels of blood pressure.
Dietary fiber is tough to digest. It forms a viscous gel in the intestine that makes it harder for sugars and fats to absorb in the bloodstream and decreases cholesterol levels in the body and prevents weight gain. Furthermore, fenugreek leaves and seeds contain low levels of sodium, which makes them an ideal food for people with high blood pressure.
Take two teaspoons of fenugreek seeds and soak them in a glass of water overnight. The next morning remove the seeds from the water, drink the fenugreek water on an empty stomach. Crush the seeds to a fine paste and use it in cooking. Do this for at least two to three months and see the positive result yourself.
Legumes such as lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans, soybeans, and others, are rich in potassium, magnesium, and fibre. These nutrients maintain healthy and normal blood pressure. Potassium and magnesium in legumes prevent fluid retention, decrease sodium levels by increasing urine production.
The soluble fiber in the legumes gets attached to cholesterol particles and takes them out of the body that helps to reduce overall cholesterol levels. This reduces the risk of weight gain and improves vascular health.
Now that you know everything about hypertension, how blood pressure works, what exactly goes wrong in your body in hypertension condition, what are the risk factors, what you should avoid and what you should start adding to your diet? Now the question arises, how to implement it?
If you are a healthy person and have no hypertension condition and no family history of hypertension, start with adding foods to your diet that can help you prevent hypertension in the future.
Start with adding above mentioned foods that are most of your likening, gradually add those foods in your diet that you do not like much but make sure to add them, gradually you will be habitual.
You must add sweet potato, onion, and pomegranate too in your diet; these foods are also very effective in preventing high blood pressure. Limit your consumption of food that increases your risk of high blood pressure. If you smoke, quit it. Limit your alcohol consumption.
If you are a healthy person but have a family history of hypertension, strictly avoid eating known and silent salt-rich foods. With a family history of hypertension, you are susceptible to high blood pressure. Quit smoking and drinking any alcoholic beverages completely, don’t increase your risk of high blood pressure.
Eat foods as mentioned above that naturally prevent hypertension, also include sweet potato, pomegranate in your diet, but if you have a family history of diabetes too, then limit your consumption of sugar as well as sweet fruits.
If you are a person with high blood pressure, you must eat potassium-rich foods. The best way is to note down all the above mentioned preventive foods, ask your doctor and pharmacist:
I want to add these foods to my diet, is it safe to add all of them? Are there any foods that can interact with my medications? They will provide you with the best advice considering your blood pressure levels and other health complications.
Let them know if you have other health problems like diabetes and arthritis. If you have diabetes, then limit the consumption of high glycemic foods. If you have arthritis, limit your citrus fruit consumption.
After including these foods for three months, ask your doctor, has my blood pressure improved? Do I need the same dose of medicine or will a lower dose work? Keep in mind once you have control of your blood pressure, continue to consume foods that prevent high blood pressure. It should be a lifetime habit, not short-term therapy.
I have also reviewed a lot of other dietary supplements, if you are interested, you might check them out.
- Consume less salt. It promotes fluid retention that increases blood pressure.
- Avoid foods that silently add salt to your body.
- Eat foods low in fat and calories.
- Do yoga.
- Be active. Physical activity reduces water retention by making you sweat and increasing blood flow to the tissues.
- Drink plenty of water, especially on the day you consume more salt.
- Dehydration can increase your risk of water retention.
- Don’t stress out.
- Eat whole grains instead of refined ones.
- Add barley flour to your whole wheat flour in a ratio of 2:10. Add 200 gm of barley flour to 1 kg of whole wheat flour.