What Is The Best Diet For High Blood Pressure? – Dec. 12, 2020
We all know lowering sodium intake is a major factor in reducing high blood pressure (hypertension), but did you know a heart-healthy diet involves more than just cutting back on salt? The DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet was designed to help people manage blood pressure by incorporating a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole-grains, and low-fat dairy. The DASH diet offers a comprehensive (and delicious) approach to blood pressure management.
High Blood Pressure Diet Recommendations
As you choose foods with your blood pressure in mind, you will want to avoid saturated and trans fats, sodium, red meat, and sweet or sugar-sweetened beverages. It is important to incorporate foods that are especially high in calcium, magnesium, potassium, protein, and fiber. These nutrients are essential to lowering blood pressure. Eating a diet plentiful in these nutrients, along with regular exercise and taking any prescribed blood pressure medication, can bring your blood pressure back down to a healthy level and help you maintain it. Keep reading for a list of foods rich in these heart-healthy nutrients.
16 HEART-HEALTHY FOODS:
Avocado is an excellent source of three heart healthy nutrients—calcium, potassium, and magnesium. A single avocado contains about 975 milligrams of potassium—that’s around 25% of your daily intake! Avocados are a wonderful food for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Smash some on whole-grain toast, blend it into a breakfast berry smoothie, chop it up and put it on top of a salad, or use it as a condiment on a sandwich.
2. Low-Fat or Fat-Free Yogurt
Low-fat dairy products are a great source of calcium, and calcium is required for a heart-healthy diet. A 12-ounce cup of low-fat yogurt will give you about 30% of the recommended daily amount of calcium, and it tastes delicious. Top your yogurt with granola and berries or blend it into a smoothie.
3. Leafy Greens
Leafy greens like spinach, kale, collard greens, Swiss chard, beet greens, arugula, and romaine lettuce are great sources of potassium. Potassium is essential for a healthy heart. Pile some tasty leafy green on a sandwich or blend them into a green smoothie. Sauté them with garlic for a delicious side-dish, or mix them into an omelet.
Bananas are known for their high potassium content. One banana has about 420 milligrams of potassium, which is 9% of your recommended daily intake. Bananas are also a good source of fiber. They can be used to sweeten baked goods. Dip them in dark chocolate and freeze them for a tasty treat or dehydrate them and add banana chips to your trail mix.
5. Whole Grains
High-fiber whole grains like oats are an important part of a heart-healthy diet. Did you know that three servings of whole grains a day can decrease your risk of heart disease by 15 percent? Make oatmeal for breakfast—cooking your oats in low-fat or fat-free milk and topping with sliced banana for added heart-healthy benefits. Toast a slice of hearty whole-wheat bread and top with smashed avocado. Make a sandwich with a whole-grain bread. Steam quinoa, barley, or brown rice to use in burrito bowls or as tasty side-dishes.
6. Sweet potatoes
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, as well as fiber—all of which are very important parts of a cardiovascular-healthy diet. Cut sweet potatoes into french fries and bake them in the oven for a heart-healthy side-dish. Dice sweet potatoes into chunks and simmer in a delicious masala for dinner. Try a delicious and creamy vegan chocolate pudding that uses sweet potatoes as the base.
Broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables are rich in calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C. Studies have shown that diets high in cruciferous vegetables have led to lower levels of cardiovascular disease. Cut broccoli into florets and roast in the oven until crispy and delicious. Add broccoli to soups and curries or make a heart-healthy veggie dip for raw broccoli.
A half-cup of quinoa contains nearly 15% of the magnesium you need in a day. It is a great source of plant-based protein and fiber, too. It’s a super grain! Stir quinoa into soup or steam it as a side dish or salad topping!
9. Peaches and nectarines
Peaches and nectarines both have a high potassium content and are a great heart-healthy snack. You’ll get 10% of your daily recommended value when you eat a large peach or nectarine. Slice some up and put it on your morning cereal or oatmeal, or sauté peach slices for a cozy dessert.
10. Unsalted pumpkin seeds
Pumpkin seeds are a fantastic source of both magnesium and zinc. Roasted pumpkin seeds are a great snack or salad-topper. Roast them yourself so you can control the salt level.
11. Red bell peppers
Red bell peppers are rich in potassium, vitamin A, fiber, and vitamin C—all of which make your heart happy! Slice them up and dip them in hummus, or sauté them with onion to put on tacos, burrito bowls, salads, or sandwiches.
12. Berries & Beets
Berries (specifically blueberries) and beets are two foods that are loaded with nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is known for significantly lowering blood pressure.
Fatty fish like salmon is high in omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin D, which can help lower and regulate blood pressure.
Garlic contains a special compound called Allicin that may help reduce blood pressure. It is important to crush or chop fresh garlic in order to release the Allicin inside.
15. Dark chocolate
Dark chocolate is high in flavonol and has been linked to a lowered risk of cardiovascular disease. Flavonols in dark chocolate help promote healthy blood vessel function, which is great news for anyone who loves chocolate!
16. Olive oil
Making olive oil your go-to oil when cooking is a heart-healthy choice! Although olive oil is high in calories, it is a great choice for the heart-conscious cook. Polyphenols in olive oil are linked to low blood-pressure, especially in women.
Give us a Call
By incorporating the delicious foods included in the DASH diet into your everyday eating, exercising regularly, and taking any prescribed heart medications, you can lower and regulate your blood pressure for a healthy heart and a healthy life!
Our Behavioral Health and Nutrition staff at One Community Health offer a variety of group education opportunities where patients can provide support to one another. Our nutritionists can also help you put together an individual high blood pressure diet plan based on your health goals, tastes and lifestyle. If you are looking for help with controlling your high blood pressure—or lowering your risk of developing hypertension—give us a call today.
Image used under creative commons license – commercial use (12/08/2020) by silviarita from Pixabay