(WellnessPursuits.com) – According to the American Heart Association, more than 103 million Americans have high blood pressure. That means that nearly half of all adults in the US are at risk for strokes and heart attacks. One of the easiest things you can do to lower your blood pressure is to change your diet. Let’s take a closer look at seven foods you may want to incorporate to lower blood your pressure.
What Is Considered High Blood Pressure?
When you check your blood pressure, you get two numbers. The top number is the systolic pressure. This number measures how the heart contracts. The bottom number is known as the diastolic pressure, which measures how the heart relaxes between beats.
- Normal blood pressure is when the systolic number is less than 120, and the diastolic number is less than 80.
- Elevated blood pressure is when the systolic number is between 120 and 129, with a diastolic number of less than 80.
- Stage 1 blood pressure is when the systolic number is between 130 and 139 or the diastolic number between 80 and 89.
- Stage 2 blood pressure is when the systolic number is 140 or higher, or the diastolic number is 90 or higher.
When your blood pressure is elevated or high, you are forcing your heart to work too hard. Over time, this can cause things like heart failure, stroke, heart disease, kidney disease and blindness.
Even if your pressure is just slightly elevated, you could face health risks. The higher that your pressure is above normal, the more at risk you are.
7 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
1. Leafy Greens
As previously mentioned, potassium can lower your blood pressure. Leafy greens contain high amounts of the nutrient. The darker in color the greens are, the better.
Some examples of leafy greens that you should add to your diet include:
- Romaine lettuce
- Collard greens
- Swiss chard
- Turnip greens
It’s best to eat fresh or frozen leafy greens. The problem with canned vegetables is that they often have too much sodium.
2. Skim Milk and Yogurt
The reason that skim milk is good is because it contains plenty of calcium. It’s also low in fat. Both of those things are excellent for lowering blood pressure. If you don’t like milk, try eating low-fat yogurt.
According to a study by the American Heart Association, people who consumed at least 2% of their daily calories from yogurt had lower blood pressure. Compared to people who don’t eat yogurt, they were also found to be about 30% less likely to get hypertension.
When you buy your yogurt, make sure that you read the label and stay away from too much added sugar. The lower the sugar, the better.
3. Fruits (Berries, Bananas and Pomegranates)
Berries are another food that may help lower blood pressure. They contain high amounts of an antioxidant called flavonoids, especially blueberries.
Just like with vegetables, you should look for fresh or frozen berries. Canned berries tend to have too much added sugar.
Bananas are another food that’s rich in potassium, making them an ideal option.
Pomegranates have also been shown to lower blood pressure. You can eat them raw, add them to salads or drink them in juice.
Because of its high fiber content, oatmeal is another great choice that may help lower blood pressure. It is also low in fat and sodium.
5. Fish High in Omega-3s
If you have high blood pressure, then you should consider eating fish that’s high in omega-3 fatty acids. Fatty fish can not only lower your blood pressure, but it can also lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation.
According to the AHA, you should eat two servings of fish each week to both lower blood pressure and prevent heart disease.
6. Seeds and Nuts
Seeds are a good choice because they are rich in potassium and magnesium. Just be sure to eat them unsalted.
Pistachios are great for lowering blood pressure, too. They work by reducing heart rate and peripheral vascular resistance.
7. Olive Oil
A healthy fat like olive oil may help to reduce blood pressure because it contains micronutrients called polyphenols, which can decrease inflammation.
Other foods that contain polyphenols include dark chocolate, red wine, fruits, beans, nuts, vegetables, soy, cloves and other seasonings, and green and black teas.
The seven foods on our list are excellent for lowering blood pressure, but even if you don’t suffer from hypertension, these foods will improve your heart health. And that’s a great thing.
~Here’s to Your Healthy Pursuits!
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