Maylin Rodriguez-Paez RNHigh blood pressure is one of the most common health conditions affecting Americans.
If you’re middle-aged, your chance of developing the disease is a whopping 90%.1
The question doesn't become if for most people; it’s really about how to treat the condition.
And in a medical system where prescriptions take precedence over lifestyle changes, nutritional advice is often lacking.
Below, we’ll cover several foods worth including in your diet that may help. And take notes, as some of these may come as a bit of a surprise!
Flaxseed for Lower Blood PressureNot eating flaxseed? Time to rethink that fast. Eating 30 grams of milled flaxseed every day was found to lower systolic blood pressure by an average of 15 mm Hg in participants who had a systolic blood pressure of 140 mm Hg or higher.2
Luckily, ground flaxseed can be incorporated into almost any dish without significantly changing its flavor.
Beets for Lower Blood PressureBeets are one of the richest dietary sources of nitrates. These compounds convert to nitric oxide in your body which allows your blood vessels to dilate.
In an experiment, participants drinking 1 cup of beet root juice saw their systolic blood pressure levels drop an average of 11 mm Hg.3
Pomegranates for Lower Blood PressurePomegranates are chock-full of heart-healthy antioxidants. Of special interest is blood-pressure-lowering punicalagins. You’ll find them in pomegranate juice and supplements.
When scientists tested the effect of pomegranate juice on blood pressure over a 1-year period, they found that it lowered systolic blood pressure by 21 points.4
Pretty impressive, if you ask us.
Sesame Oil for Lower Blood PressureSesame seeds are small, but their health benefits are larger than life. In fact, just cooking with sesame oil was associated with a 20-point drop in systolic blood pressure.5
The culprit: sesame lignans. They reduce levels of a potent vasoconstrictor called 20-HETE.6
The DASH diet Lowers Blood PressureOne of the most popular diets known to lower blood pressure levels is called the DASH diet. Research shows it can lower blood pressure between 7 to 12 points.7
The plan focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and restricting sodium and animal products.
Can Cutting Back on Salt Really Help Lower Blood Pressure?Not all cases of hypertension are salt-sensitive, but on average cutting back on salt may reduce systolic readings between 2 to 8 points.
Our verdict: We think it’s worth a shot. Cut back on salt and see if it makes a difference. There’s nothing more convincing than solid, direct proof.
Don’t Ditch Your Blood Pressure Meds!To clarify, we’re not suggesting that you stop taking your medications. we're simply advocating a lifestyle that may very well help to improve your condition.
Who knows? Instead of taking three medications, you may end up taking just one. Lifestyle changes can make a big difference.
What About You?Were you able to manage your blood pressure by making better dietary choices? Please share your experience in the comments!
- JAMA. 2002 Feb 27;287(8):1003-10.
- Hypertension. 2013 Dec;62(6):1081-9.
- Hypertension. 2013 May;61(5):1091-102.
- Clin Nutr. 2004 Jun;23(3):423–433.
- J Med Food. 2006;9(3):408–412.
- Hypertension. 2009 Nov;54(5):1151–1158.
- N Engl J Med. 2001 Jan 4;344(1):3-10.
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