May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. Did you know that over 1 billion people have high blood pressure? That’s 1 in 3 adults. High blood pressure, or hypertension, occurs when the force of the blood against your artery walls is high for a constant period of time. The good news is that diet and lifestyle change can make a positive impact on lowering your high blood pressure. In fact, research has shown that certain foods can lower your blood pressure right away! Today, we’ll discuss five foods that can help protect your heart and keep your blood pressure in check!
Berries are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants help to protect our bodies against free radicals. A research study performed in 2010 found that people who incorporated berries into their diet had an 8% reduction in the risk of high blood pressure. Add in berries to your next breakfast smoothie, lunch salad, or dinner dessert!
- Beet Juice
Beet juice is high in inorganic nitrates, and these can result in a positive effect on your blood pressure level in as early as 24 hours. This happens so quickly because nitrates work to relax blood vessels. Drinking beet juice might not be everyone’s favorite, but including cucumber, apple, and carrots can help boost the flavor!
Salmon is a great fatty fish that has tons of omega-3 fats. Omega-3s have shown to offer heart benefits and help to reduce blood pressure by lowering inflammation. Another added bonus is that increasing your Omega-3s can also help to lower your risk of hypertension. Salmon makes a yummy addition to your breakfast bagel, lunch salad, or sautéed for dinner!
Carrots are rich in phenolic compounds which are found to reduce inflammation and relax blood vessels. A study with over 2,000 people found that eating raw carrots helped to lower the group’s blood pressure levels. Raw carrots can add a great crunch to your salad or choose them as a healthy side with dressing!
- Leafy Greens
Like beets, leafy greens are high in nitrates. Researchers found that eating 1-2 servings of leafy greens can lower hypertension for up to 24 hours. These veggies are also high in antioxidants, calcium, and potassium which all work to help with high blood pressure. Add in leafy greens to your breakfast omelet, lunch salad, or mixed in with other veggies for your next dinner side!
Making the right dietary choices is worth it to protect our hearts and lower high blood pressure. Eating the foods we discussed today and mixing in other low-fat dairy products can help to lower blood pressure by up to 11 mm Hg. We hope that if you’re struggling with high blood pressure you can use this info to incorporate some healthy ideas into your next meal plan!