by Tracey Pollack
If you’re one of the more than 30% of Americans who is up against high blood pressure, it’s time to take control of this pressing problem. Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is a serious health condition that forces your heart to work harder, which can easily damage your arteries and raise your risk of heart attack and stroke. The good news is that there aren’t any symptoms. But the bad news is that there aren’t any symptoms. Medications are often used to lower high blood pressure, but sometimes the best prescription is simply heading to the grocery store. Some of the healthiest foods are some of the best for lowering blood pressure, so pick up these foods to bring yours down.
Burst Into Berries
Along with giving strawberries, blueberries and raspberries their bright colors, natural compounds called anthocyanins are also brimming with benefits for your blood pressure. Research has shown that anthocyanins can lower your blood pressure by making your blood vessel walls more elastic and improving the health of your heart. The darker the berries, the more anthocyanins they contain. Tossing berries into your oatmeal, blending them into a smoothie and mixing them into muffins are bright ideas for lowering blood pressure.
Turn Over a New Leaf
Leafy greens like romaine lettuce, spinach and kale are sensational sources of potassium and magnesium. These mighty minerals can help lower the elevating effects of too much sodium in your diet by flushing excess sodium out of your body and helping your blood vessels relax. But don’t leave it at leafy greens because you can also get these nutrients in broccoli, cabbage and Brussels sprouts. Cook them in soups, slice into a stir-fry or toss them into a salad to get the perks of this produce.
Catch Some Fish
Diving into fatty fish like salmon, sardines and mackerel can help reduce blood pressure levels due to their abundance of omega-3 fatty acids. See, omega-3s can help reduce inflammation, decrease your triglycerides and lower your blood pressure. If you’re not a big fan of fatty fish, you can still get the bounty of benefits in plant-based sources of omega-3s like walnuts, chia seeds and flaxseed.
Root Around for Some Beets
These root veggies can’t be beat for lowering blood pressure because their nitrates make blood vessels more flexible. Beet juice is full of those nitrates, while beets are bursting with sodium-flushing potassium and beet greens are high in magnesium, which makes blood vessels relax. From root to leaf to juice, beets can make a big difference in your blood pressure levels. Eat beets sliced into salads, sauté beet greens for a side dish or blend the juice into a smoothie for a sweet way to lower your blood pressure.
The appeal of bananas for high blood pressure lies in their abundance of potassium. This mineral is a must because it flushes out excess sodium in your system and eases tension in your blood vessels, which helps reduce your overall blood pressure. Bananas can be eaten throughout the day, from sliced in your morning cereal to grabbed on the go as a snack or blended into a healthy ice cream alternative.
Discover the Dark Side
The dark side of chocolate, that is! This dark delight is rich in antioxidants and flavonoids, which makes blood vessels more flexible and improves blood flow to lower your blood pressure. Choose a dark chocolate with at least 70% cacao content and stick to about an ounce of dark chocolate a day, which gives a whole new meaning to “an ounce of prevention.”
If you’re concerned about your blood pressure, it’s high time to lower it by choosing these healthy foods.