Hypertension, a malignant disorder, is characterized by elevated blood pressure in arteries. If left untreated, it can significantly increase the risk of heart problems, cerebrovascular accidents like stroke and many other morbid conditions. However, little known is the fact that this disease is preventable. Hypertension prevention and control do not solely depend on the intake of pharmacological prescriptions. Many natural ways also help in controlling elevated blood pressure and preventing hypertension.
The food we eat has a great impact on the overall wellbeing of the body. A good, balanced diet provides essential calories, nutrients and prevents against ailments. Therefore, dietary modification is nowadays the first step of the management of any condition. Following a healthy diet to lower blood pressure is suggested by doctors to decrease the risk of heart diseases.
The field of nutritional science supports the concept of specific diet plans for treating medical illnesses. The diet plan comprises of specific food items that target the various aspect of disease and treat them. The intake of diet having a role in lowering blood pressure is hence useful for the control of blood pressure. Some foods to lower blood pressure include:
Citrus fruits are rich in vitamins, minerals and many other phytochemicals that help lower blood pressure. They keep the heart healthy and decrease the risk of morbidities. The scientific evidence also supports the beneficial effect of citrus on lowering blood pressure. 1 The examples of citrus fruits are orange, grapefruit and lemon.
Some citrus fruits like grapefruit may interfere with anti-hypertensive medication, so it is advised to consult the doctor before using it for therapeutic purpose.
2. Fatty fish:
The common misconception is fats are bad for heart health and contribute to hypertension. The fact is fats are of two types. Good fats that make your heart healthy and bad fats that increase the risk of diseases. Fatty fish such as Salmon is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids work by lowering the blood vessel constricting compounds. 1 These are good fats that lower both diastolic and systolic blood pressure.
3. Pumpkin seeds:
Pumpkin seeds are a powerful natural remedy to reduce elevated blood pressure. They have many nutrients that control blood pressure. Most important of these are potassium magnesium and arginine. Arginine is an amino acid that has a blood vessel dilating effect, ultimately decreasing the resistance and blood pressure. 2
4. Beans and lentils:
The presence of fibre, potassium and magnesium in the beans and lentils make them an excellent natural therapy for reducing the blood pressure. Many studies support the blood pressure-lowering effect of the beans and lentils. 3
The health benefits of berries are numerous. They significantly decrease heart disease risk factors such as hypertension. The ample amount of antioxidants, present in berries, is important in this regard. Of particular importance is anthocyanin 4 – a pigment as well, giving vibrant color to the berries.
Anti-oxidants are substances that reduce oxidative stress, a condition characterized by the presence of harmful particles that destroy the normal cells. Anti-oxidants have been linked with the treatment of hypertension. They are known to reduce elevated blood pressure.
Besides its antioxidant potential, anthocyanin also increases the level of nitric oxide. 4 Nitric oxide is a vasodilator that dilates the blood vessels, decrease the resistance and eventually lower the blood pressure.
Diet rich in whole grain such as amaranth helps in lowering the blood pressure. 5 It is a rich source of magnesium. According to a study a cooked cup is enough to provide 38% of the daily magnesium requirement.
Pistachios are a highly nourishing food. They have large amounts of nutrients that help heart maintaining its health at an optimal level. 6 They regulate the blood pressure in the body, reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in the diseased individual.
Carrots – a staple vegetable in the diet of many individuals – are a rich source of phenolic compounds, such as p-coumaric, chlorogenic and caffeic acids. All these substances aids in relaxing the blood vessels, ultimately decreasing blood pressure. They also have an anti-inflammatory effect. Inflammation is one of the factors involved in the pathophysiology of hypertension. 7 Both raw and cooked carrot helps to low blood pressure.
Phlthalides are compounds, present in celery, responsible for maintaining the blood pressure at a normal level. These compounds relax the blood vessels and decrease the pressure. 8
Tomatoes and tomato products are a rich source of potassium and the carotenoid pigment, called lycopene. Lycopene has been linked with a beneficial effect on heart health. It reduces the risk factors of heart diseases and prevents heart disease-related death. It effectively controls blood pressure. 9
Broccoli improves circulation and promotes the heart's well being. It is a flavonoid-rich vegetable, which is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces the risk of acquiring hypertension. 10 Besides, it also manages the uncontrolled blood pressure.
12. Greek yoghurt
It is a nutrient-dense dairy product that effectively reduces elevated blood pressure. It has a lot of minerals like potassium and calcium that helps lowering blood pressure. 11
13. Herbs and spices
Certain herbs and spices, such as cilantro, saffron, black cumin, cinnamon, sweet basil, and ginger, have potent compounds that reduce the blood pressure by relaxing vessels. 12
14. Chia and flax seeds
Chia and flax seeds are tiny but nutrient-rich food that has a strong role in the regulation of blood pressure. 13 The presence of potassium, magnesium and fibres in chia and flax seeds are significantly noticeable in his regard.
Spinach has plenty of nitrates, potassium, magnesium and calcium. Nitrate is a potent vasodilator compound. It dilates the blood vessels and helps lowering blood pressure. The presence of antioxidant compounds in spinach also makes it very beneficial for hypertensive patients. 14
Spinach soup has been proved to decrease the arterial stiffness, ultimately decreasing resistance to blood flow and then blood pressure. It, thus, also improves heart health. 14