10 Best Foods for Managing High Blood Pressure
These foods may help manage high blood pressure.
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Best Foods for High Blood Pressure
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) nearly half of adults in the U.S. have high blood pressure. However, only about one in four adults with high blood pressure have their condition under control. Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the U.S. Luckily, there are things you can do about it including leading a healthy lifestyle. Part of these steps to better health include choosing better foods to eat. Here are 10 foods that are best when you have high blood pressure.
A study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition followed 4,400 men and women for 10 years to determine the correlation between folate intake and incidence of high blood pressure. Researchers found that those with the highest intake of folate had a significantly lower incidence of high blood pressure compare to those who had the lowest intake of folate. Broccoli is a good source of folate along with leafy greens like kale and spinach, and lentils.
Research shows that almonds can lower blood pressure when added to a calorie-restricted diet. A 2016 study published in the Journal of Nutrition had participants eat 15% of their daily calories from almonds or a low-calorie diet without nuts. Those in the almond group had lower blood pressure compared to those who at a low-calorie diet without nuts. Researchers explained that the results could be due to the heart healthy monounsaturated fats found in almonds.
A study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Dietetics examined the effects of blueberries on blood pressure. Postmenopausal women with pre-hypertensive or stage 1 hypertension were given 22 grams of freeze-dried blueberry powder or 22 grams of a control powder for 8 weeks. Researchers found that the women given blueberry powder had significantly lower blood pressure compared to those on the control powder.
A 2016 review study published in Advanced Nutrition concluded that total dairy food consumption is linked with a lower risk of high blood pressure. Low and nonfat dairy are recommended for less saturated fat, which is also part of the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) Diet and the 2015-2020 dietary guidelines for Americans. Because Greek yogurt in particular is strained, it is about 40% lower in sodium. However, all nonfat and low fat dairy in a balanced diet can help lower blood pressure.
Potassium is an important nutrient when it comes to managing high blood pressure. The DASH Diet promotes eating lots of fruits and veggies because the original landmark DASH study published in 1997 in the New England Journal of Medicine found that eating a diet high in fruits, vegetables and low fat dairy was associated with lower blood pressure. In turn, potassium was found to play a positive role in helping reduce blood pressure and potatoes are chock full of it!
Another nutrient that has been associated with helping to lower blood pressure is magnesium. Nuts, including unsalted pumpkin seeds, are a healthy addition to your diet if you have high blood pressure. Sprinkle on salads, oatmeal or add to a homemade trail mix.
It’s important to eat plenty of fiber when you have high blood pressure. The DASH eating plan promotes high fiber foods including beans. If you choose to buy canned beans, look for no added salt or low sodium options. Research shows that rinsing canned beans can help reduce the sodium by up to 40%.
A study published in Hypertension looked at how pistachios influenced blood pressure in people with high blood fat (triglyceride) levels. Study participants were given a standard American diet for two weeks and then put on a diet where they ate one or two servings of pistachios a day. Participants in both diets saw a reduction in blood pressure, however those who included one serving of pistachios per day had a lower reduction. Certainly more research is needed, but adding one serving of pistachios to your well-balanced diet may be a good idea.
There are numerous studies that link higher intakes of omega-3 fatty fish to lower blood pressure. A 2018 study published in the Journal of Hypertension looked at the effect of omega-3 fats on blood pressure in young, healthy adults aged 25 to 41 years. Results found that those with higher intake of omega-3 fatty acids had lowest blood pressure. As such, researchers concluded that a diet rich in omega-3 fats, like from salmon, may be a strategy to prevent hypertension. Other fish high in omega-3s include tuna, sardines, cod and herring.
Cocoa beans provide numerous antioxidants, including theobromine, which has been shown to help reduce blood pressure. When purchasing dark chocolate look for at least 60% cacao to get more theobromine. Plus, because dark chocolate is calorie dense at 150 calories per ounce limit portions to one-ounce maximum per day.