Food can be medicine. That’s the fundamental belief of many naturopathic and natural-remedy-based health practices, and there’s plenty of evidence to support it. Your diet can make (or break!) your body.
Perhaps a less stuffy version of this belief is the classic “you are what you eat,” adage. Cuter and catchier, but the concept is the same: if you want a strong, ship-shape body that’s in tip-top health no matter what age you’re at, you need to watch what you’re putting in it.
This time around, we’re focusing on heart-healthy, blood-pressure-friendly foods.
Plenty of experts believe that a well-designed and carefully-crafted diet can easily combat high blood-pressure better than most maintenance medicines can. And they’ve got the studies to prove it!
Best 5 Foods for High Blood-Pressure
Potassium-Rich Fruits & Veggies. As a general rule, fruits and veg are always good for you. Very rarely will there be exceptions (and very rarely will those exceptions be due to fruit’s ridiculously high sugar content). If you’re trying to get your blood-pressure under control, potassium-rich foods are your best friends.
According to the AHA (American Heart Association), potassium is known to drastically reduce the effects of sodium on the body. It also helps alleviate tension in the blood vessel walls.
And you’re wont to find anything more potassium-y than bananas (about 422 mg of potassium), avocadoes (485 mg), sweet potatoes (337 mg), tomatoes (237 mg), cucumbers (142 mg) and spinach (839 mg).
Salmon & Other Fatty Fish. Haven’t you always wanted to be “the good kind of fat”?
One can dream.
But anyway! The likes of salmon, albacore tuna, and Atlantic herring have that very enviable claim to fame. These squishy fishies are all excellent sources of omega-3 fats – the good kind of fat that’s clinically proven to have significant heart health benefits. They can, among other things, reduce inflammation and decrease blood vessel constriction by fighting off oxylipins – the compounds responsible for causing said constrictions.
Fat-Free Yogurt. Natural or fat-free yogurt has been reported to have some pretty heart-healthy properties – especially for women. A study funded by the National Dairy Council in the U.S. found that women (between the ages of 18 and 30) reduced their risk of hypertension by a whopping 20% when they consumed five or more servings of yogurt every week.
These findings were compared to the hypertension risk of women roughly the same age group who rarely (or flat-out never) ate yogurt.
It’s worth noting that men were also part of the study. However, they did not appear to benefit from any advantages nor did they suffer any potential disadvantages from consuming higher amounts of yogurt.
So if you’re in the mood for something nice and ice(y), grab a bowl or two of yogurt! Just make sure to keep it as natural (aka less sugar, less preservatives, less artificial sweeteners) as possible.
Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is everybody’s guilty pleasure. So imagine if you had an excuse to eat it all the time.
Now, that might be a bit excessive, but you can definitely get away with eating a couple squares of dark chocolate every week. And if you’ve got high-blood pressure, this bittersweet treat may even help keep that in check! Multiple studies show that cocoa-rich chocolate may help reduce blood pressure in people suffering from hypertension or prehypertension. This is thanks to the high amount flavonoids – a kind of heart-friendly antioxidants – found in the cacao bean.
But in order for you to reap the benefits, you want high-quality chocolate that contains a minimum of 70% cocoa. Anything below that is just regular dessert.
You also want to shoot for just 1 to 2 ounces of dark chocolate a day. Remember; moderation is key!
Chia & Flax Seeds. These teeny tiny seeds pack one heck of a nutritional punch. They’re teeming with heart-friendly nutrients like magnesium, potassium, and fibre – all of which have been linked with blood pressure regulation and hypertension management. They also happen to be excellent sources of an unsaturated fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). All you need to know is this fatty acid is the “good kind of fat,” too. In fact, ALA can be converted to omega-3 – the kind you get in fresh, fatty salmon.
A study done in 2015 suggests that eating while flaxseeds for 12 weeks or more can drastically reduce blood pressure levels. So why not keep a little trail-mix, snack-bag combo of chia and flaxseed on-hand? You know, for those moments when you’re craving something small, tasty, and easy-to-eat.
Do take note! Tracking your calories and portion sizes can also help manage your blood pressure – especially if you’re clinically diagnosed as overweight or obese. You also need to watch your alcohol, caffeine, and sodium intake. Caffeine can raise your blood pressure up to 10 mm Hg if you don’t watch your consumption. Same with sodium and alcohol.
These substances can really mess with your blood pressure balance!
Basically, adding the five friendly foods discussed here to your diet can do wonders for your health. Making some slight dietary and lifestyle changes can do even more.
If you’d like to find out how Hearty Health can help keep you eat well and feel, or find out more about how you can get Hearty Health ready meals direct to you or at your facility, simply call 1300 728 764 or email firstname.lastname@example.org