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Keeping high blood pressure or hypertension at bay is crucial because this disease silently damages the arteries, causing the heart to work harder, but less effectively.
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), when left untreated, hypertension can contribute to heart disease, stroke, and problems with other organs.
Health experts recommend frequently eating foods that are high in the necessary nutrients, including potassium and magnesium that help control blood pressure levels. Foods to include in the diet should be low in things that have negative effects on blood pressure: sodium, saturated fat and trans fat.
Foods to include in a healthy diet for people with hypertension
A diet rich in beans, lentils, and other legumes has been linked to a lower risk of developing high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease, or stroke.
The Harvard Nutrition Source notes that there are several components of legumes that can benefit heart health, including fiber, folic acid, and phytochemicals. In addition, beans and lentils are a source of potassium; Getting too little potassium can raise your blood pressure.
Salmon is one of the fatty fish that is richest in omega 3 fatty acids, a beneficial and heart-healthy fat. The AHA recommends eating 2 servings of fatty fish per week; one serving equals 3.5 cooked ounces. Sardines are also one of the fish with a high content of omega-3 and of great nutritional value.
Bananas are one of the most popular sources of potassium, a mineral that helps mitigate the effect of high sodium content. Bananas also provide vitamin B6, magnesium, and fiber. Magnesium helps regulate muscle and nervous system function, blood sugar levels, and blood pressure.
Including oatmeal in a healthy diet can help reduce the risk of heart disease. Oatmeal is a whole grain cereal with a high content of soluble and insoluble fiber, it provides phosphorus, magnesium, thiamine, magnesium, zinc and also proteins. A study by researchers at Tufts University reveals that eating whole grains is associated with smaller increases in waist size, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
Berries like strawberries and blackberries are packed with flavonoids, especially anthocyanins with antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects, compounds that can help dilate arteries and counteract plaque buildup.
Eating three or more servings of blueberries and strawberries a week can help women reduce the risk of a heart attack by up to a third, researchers reported in Circulation: Journal of the AHA.
Avocados are rich in heart-healthy fats, which can improve blood cholesterol levels, relieve inflammation and stabilize the heart rate, according to the Harvard Nutrition Source.
70% of avocado oil is oleic acid which is also the main component of olive oil. Avocado also provides omega-3 fatty acids and potassium.
7. Fat-free or low-fat yogurt
Yogurt is rich in calcium, vitamin D, and protein; it also adds the benefit of probiotics. Calcium not only helps strengthen bones, it also helps blood circulate through blood vessels throughout the body. The National Institutes of Health share that some studies indicate that taking the recommended amounts of calcium can reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
Walnuts, almonds, and peanuts are packed with heart-healthy fats and phytochemicals; they provide fiber, vitamins such as vitamin E and folic acid, as well as minerals such as calcium, potassium and magnesium.
Harvard shares research findings revealing that people who eat walnuts regularly are less likely to have heart attacks or die from heart disease than those who rarely eat them.
Broccoli is a nutrient-dense food and is loaded with flavonoid antioxidants with anti-inflammatory effects that can help lower blood pressure by improving blood vessel function and increasing nitric oxide levels in your body.
10. Spinach and kale
These green leafy vegetables are high in folate and fiber. These vegetables also provide nitrates. “Nitrate, after being converted to nitric oxide in the body, not only causes blood vessels to dilate and blood pressure to drop, but it also helps mitochondria to use oxygen in the body more efficiently.” shares Professor Jon Lundberg in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology at the Karolinska Institute.
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