It is important to monitor and manage high blood pressure
Blood pressure is the force of which blood pushes against the walls of blood vessels, and if someone has high blood pressure (hypertension) it can be difficult for the heart and blood vessels to work efficiently. Cholesterol narrows the inside of the artery walls with a build-up of plaque which is a factor that increases blood pressure so there are ways to lower blood pressure by restricting cholesterol intake and embracing a healthy diet to improve heart health.
Alongside prescription medication, changing your diet to include more fruits and vegetables can significantly reduce high blood pressure in the short term and the long term. Read on to find out more about some dietary approaches to stop hypertension.
Berries – Strawberries and blueberries are rich in antioxidant compounds called anthocyanins. Over 34,000 people with hypertension participated in a large study and it found that those who had the highest intake of anthocyanins from strawberries and blueberries, had an 8% decrease in their risk of blood pressure compared to those who consumed less anthocyanin.
Beetroot – By consuming beetroot juice, you can minimise blood pressure in both the long term and the short term. Positive effects can be seen within 24 hours so it can benefit to incorporate beetroot juice into your diet every day and add beetroot to salads when you eat them.
Dark Chocolate – It may seem hard to believe that chocolate can play a part in minimising blood pressure but consuming a square of high-quality minimum 70% cocoa dark chocolate can help to reduce blood pressure and the effects of hypertension.
Leafy Vegetables – Leafy green vegetables are full of nitrates that can help you manage hypertension. Eating 1-2 servings of vegetables rich in nitrate daily can help reduce the effects of high blood pressure for up to 24 hours. Some examples of green leafy vegetables include cabbages, kale, lettuce, spinach, fennel and much more so it is easy to incorporate into a range of meals.
Bananas – Bananas are rich in potassium, and this plays a significant role in controlling high blood pressure. Potassium minimises the effects of sodium and relieves the tension in the blood vessel walls.
Adults should aim to eat 4,700mg of potassium per day. Potassium can be found in foods other than bananas, and these include avocado, mushrooms, tuna, beans, sweet potato and much more so it is easy to incorporate into the everyday diet and keep your heart healthy.
Garlic – Garlic is a natural antifungal and antibiotic food with the main ingredient being allicin. Garlic can help to increase the production of nitric oxide in the body which aids in soothing the muscles and relaxing the blood vessels. This can help relieve the effects of high blood pressure. Garlic is a common ingredient that can be used in almost all savoury meals and adds another level of flavour with a range of health benefits.
Salt – Sodium is known to significantly increase blood pressure and the risk of heart disease. Try to substitute salt for garlic in savoury meals. Processed foods (and rich foods) often contain high levels of salt (or added sugar), so try to avoid these if possible.
Alcohol – Consuming limited amounts of red wine can have some health benefits but drinking larger amounts of alcohol can cause a significant rise in blood pressure. Large intakes of alcohol can increase the risk of heart failure, cancer, obesity and strokes.
Caffeine – Caffeine can be found in a range of drinks including tea, coffee, energy drinks and cola. Caffeine can cause a spike in short term blood pressure. Avoiding caffeinated drinks and substituting them with decaf versions can help you to manage your blood pressure more efficiently.