Blood pressure never remains constant. Like a roller coaster, it can fluctuate throughout your entire life. This doesn’t mean, however, that there aren’t certain practices that you can adopt to keep it at a healthy level. By monitoring your meals and regularly checking your blood pressure, you can avoid suffering from hypertension- which is when pressure is applied to the blood vessel walls and the heart takes more strain than usual.
By doing regular exercise, you can reduce your blood pressure and reduce the likelihood of suffering from hypertension. Of course, exercise will not prevent high blood pressure on its own; you still need to ensure that you adopt the right kind of diet. Let’s take a look at the changes that you should make to your diet in order to reduce your blood pressure.
No More Pot Pies
While pot pies can be tasty treats, it is highly recommended that you don’t eat them in excess. This is because the average hot pie contains approximately 1,400 milligrams of sodium- an ingredient that is bad for your blood pressure. In addition, pot pies also contain around 35 grams of the unhealthy type of fat.
What’s even more alarming is that these are the ingredients found in just the pastry itself. There’s no telling how many more unhealthy ingredients can be found in the pies’ filling! For this reason, you should seriously consider restricting your consumption of pot pies. While it’s fine to eat them on special occasions or as an infrequent treat, eating pot pies regularly can lead to dire health consequences.
Enjoy Lots of Green Vegetables
While we have already established that sodium is bad for your blood pressure, there are other ingredients that can actually limit the negative effects that sodium has on your body. Just one of these ingredients is potassium, which assists your kidneys in getting rid of sodium more quickly.
High volumes of potassium can be found in an array of leafy greens, such as lettuce and arugula. If you are not a fan of eating these vegetables on their own, you could always throw pieces of them into a salad or include them in a sandwich. While you may have been angry at your parents for forcing you to eat these greens as a young kid, you should certainly be thanking them now!
Limit Your Cheese Intake
Sure, cheese may be tasty, but there is such thing as having too much of a good thing! Some of the largest issues with cheese are its high sugar and sodium contents. A regular 100-gram block of cheddar cheese can contain as much as 621 milligrams of sodium, and while might seem like a lot, it’s still not as much as other cheeses.
Gouda cheese can have as much as 819 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams, while a 100-gram block of American cheese can contain a whopping 1,671 grams of sodium. While there is certainly no reason to cut cheese completely out of your diet, it would be wise to limit your intake in order to avoid some nasty consequences.
Eat Some Berries
Berries, especially blueberries, are known to contain compounds called flavonoids. These are antioxidants that are able to reduce the likelihood of encountering hypertension and can lower your blood pressure.
With their sweet taste, berries can improve your health and mood while providing you with a delicious snack at the same time. Don’t hesitate to throw the odd strawberry, raspberry or blueberry into your granola in the morning. If you happen to watch Wimbledon tennis, you will be all too familiar with the famously tasty snack of strawberries and cream!
Cut Down On The Candy
While you may have been dissatisfied because of your parents restricting your candy intake as a kid, this move will pay off in the long run! The vast majority of chocolate bars and other types of candy are high in sugar content, especially high fructose corn syrup. This type of sugar is known to be at the root of a number of health issues, not limited to accelerate diabetes, kidney disease, and weight gain.
If these health concerns are not enough to dissuade you from eating too much candy, these sweet snacks can also rot your teeth and bring on acne. While you’re not expected to simply give up candy in an instance, you should think long and hard about the long-term consequences before purchasing your next Kit Kat or Hershey’s Bar.
Eat Some Oatmeal
Being high in fiber, low in fat, and low in sodium contents are just some of the reasons why oatmeal is such a popular breakfast food. In addition to being so healthy, oatmeal is also a great source of energy that will provide you with the power to get through your challenges for the day.
What’s great about oatmeal is its versatility- you can eat it alongside cereal and granola or even top it up with a mixture of berries- yet another great food for managing your blood pressure! By eating a filling bowl of oatmeal, you can cut down on your snacking and lose weight. Try eating some oatmeal at breakfast each morning to start seeing some significant results!
Soft Drinks Are Off Limits
Just like candy, soft drinks can also be the source of numerous health issues if consumed in excess. Soft drinks are high in sugar contents that can cause blood pressure spikes, so drinking too many of them can have far reaching consequences for your health. Because they are highly addictive, it is difficult to keep your soft drink intake to a minimum, making the risks associated with them even greater.
In order to limit your sugar intake, consider sticking to diet versions of the sodas that you enjoy. Sure, they may not taste as good as the regular versions, but they do not contain the same volumes of sugar. You should, however, try your best to limit your intake of all types of soft drinks. After all, the American Heart Association recommends that you drink less than 355 milliliters per week.
Energy Drinks Are A No-Go
While soft drinks may have certain unhealthy ingredients, energy drinks contain an additional ingredient that may prove harmful, namely caffeine. While caffeine is not necessarily harmful in small doses, it is important to understand that the energy boost caused by caffeine results in a spike in blood pressure. If this effect can be caused by caffeine alone, just imagine the effects that can be brought on if caffeine and sugar are combined.
If you are a frequent consumer of energy drinks, high blood pressure is not the only thing to worry about. Considering that the effects of caffeine can last from three to six hours, energy drinks can disrupt your sleep patterns if you drink them too late in the day.
More Omega 3s
Fish are packed with health benefits. Not only do they contain lean protein and omega 3s, but they are also filled with vitamin D, which is not commonly present in food. While most types of fish have these great benefits, salmon and mackerel contain good fats and high amounts of acids that help reduce blood pressure.
The great thing about fish is that it’s easy to prepare. Just buy a piece of salmon or mackerel, bake it for a few minutes in the oven and tuck into what will be a tasty meal. With the rise in popularity of sushi, there are plenty of great sushi bars that you can go to.
Trim Down On The Sauces
Whether you’re eating buffalo wings, fries, or any other delicious treat, it is often the addition of your favorite sauce that completes the meal. From ketchup to mayonnaise and even salad dressing, these sauces are high in sodium and can raise your blood pressure.
Considering that hot sauce has 2,643 milligrams of sodium per 100 grams, this is one condiment that it is best to avoid. Even sauces like mustard have around 300 milligrams of sodium in every 100 grams. If you really cannot go on without adding some spice to your food, consider sprinkling chili flakes over your food as opposed to using hot sauce. This way, you cut back on the sodium.
Eat More Garlic
Whatever hypertension is caused by sodium can be easily brought down by eating garlic. This is because this type of food raises the amount of nitric oxide in the body. Nitric oxide helps to widen the arteries and consequently reduce blood pressure.
What’s great about herbs such as garlic is that they can be prepared and added to food in a number of ways. While you may decide to enjoy a hot slice of garlic bread, you can also sprinkle some garlic over your meat or fish. Of course, you can also make use of other herbs such as basil, cinnamon, and rosemary. Just make sure to brush your teeth after eating garlic due to its strong aroma!
Cut Down On The Pizza
While pizza has a reputation of being a favorite meal for many people throughout the ages, the ingredients that are included in this dish are not as nutritious as one might think. Sure, the idea of cheese and tomato on bread may not sound particularly unhealthy, but it is important to consider exactly how this meal is prepared.
Fatty and greasy bread, heavily salted cheese, and tomato puree which includes a high volume of sodium make for a dish that could spike your blood pressure if eaten in excess. Of course, there’s no harm in enjoying pizza on occasion- just make sure not to eat this tasty dish too frequently as its high levels of sodium content could negatively impact your health!
Indulge In Some Dark Chocolate
While chocolate may be commonly viewed as an unhealthy treat, the opposite is true for dark chocolate, provided you stick to the right doses! While milk and white chocolate may include high volumes of sugar, dark chocolate includes significantly lower sugar levels.
In addition, dark chocolate has more than 60% of cocoa solids than the other forms of chocolate. As a result of its ingredients, dark chocolate can actually lower your blood pressure levels. The key is to eat dark chocolate in small doses, as it can be bad for you if you eat too much of it. So, provided you practice self-discipline, feel free to eat a block or two of dark chocolate, or perhaps dip it into your favorite yogurt as a snack!
Limit Your Intake Of Red Meat
With its high levels of protein, red meat can help you to build strong bones and muscle tissue. Unfortunately, as is the case with most foods, it is possible to include too much red meat in your diet. This is because red meat contains a high level of saturated fat that could clog your arteries. This could have a negative impact on your blood pressure, as well as increase the risk of getting a heart attack.
Of course, this does not mean that you have to go full-blown vegetarian and cut red meat out of your diet entirely. You can still eat red meat once a week- just make sure not to eat it too frequently. Some tasty alternatives to red meat include chicken, fish and tofu.
Try Eating Pistachios
Nuts are known for carrying many health benefits, some of which are rarely found in other food. Pistachios, in particular, are effective at reducing blood pressure. These nuts are known to decrease peripheral vascular resistance, which is otherwise known as blood vessel tightening. They are also effective at improving your heart rate.
If you don’t feel like eating them on their own, try adding these nuts to a salad or a pesto sauce. Just make sure to remember that pistachios do contain more fat than other nuts, so they could lead to weight gain. This fact aside, and pistachios make a tasty, health-conscious treat.
Give Processed Meats A Miss
Unfortunately, if you are aiming to lower your blood pressure, then processed meats are a no-go. This includes some all-time favorites such as smoked meats, sausages, salamis, and basically anything else that has been processed. The reason for this is because such meats contain a significant amount of sodium.
In order to be so long-lasting, processed meats are filled with saturated fats and preservatives. These additives are detrimental to your blood pressure and should be avoided where possible. Sure, avoiding such meats may result in you no longer enjoying some of your favorite meals, but your arteries will surely be grateful to you for making a positive lifestyle choice. Don’t forget that there are plenty of alternatives to processed meats, such as fish and chicken, that can also provide a tasty meal.
Use More Olive Oil
While olive oil does contain fat, this is primarily the healthy kind of fat that has a positive impact on blood pressure. In addition to this, olive oil contains compounds that combat inflammation, which is a leading cause of high blood pressure.
Even if you are not the biggest fan of olive oil, only one daily portion of this oil is needed in order to reach your recommended intake of healthy fats. Even better is the fact that olive oil can make for a tasty replacement for canola oil and butter. So, don’t be shy when it comes to adding olive oil to your meal! You can enjoy it as a tasty salad dressing and even add a couple of chili flakes for an extra boost!
Cut Out Ramen Noodles
An affordable staple food amongst college kids, you will be horrified to learn that these noodles are extremely unhealthy. With ramen noodles typically containing around 1,580 milligrams of sodium, this snack contains a much higher amount of sodium than your daily diet should allow for.
Because of such high sodium levels, even one cup of Ramen noodles can have detrimental effects on your health. Of course, this fact is worrying considering that you probably had your fair share of this snack while you were hitting the books in college. Just make sure to avoid this food in future and rather spend a little more money on food that is healthier. There are plenty of other foods available that are relatively cheap and easy to prepare.
Eat More Bananas
One of the best-known facts about bananas is that they contain a high level of potassium. Because of this, bananas are highly effective at filtering sodium out of your body. With such great benefits, bananas will make a great addition to your diet and will be sure to make a great replacement for any supplements that you may take.
Bananas are a very convenient fruit to eat- all you have to do is peel back the skin and enjoy. If you have an interest in trying unique combinations of food, consider chopping up slices of banana to add to your oatmeal or use them to make a delicious smoothie. However you choose to eat bananas, they will be sure to combat the health issues brought on by less nutritious foods.
Try Eating Pomegranates
While they may not be as commonly eaten as bananas, pomegranates are also a very nutritious fruit. In addition to eating a pomegranate as is, you can also choose to sip some pomegranate juice- a highly popular breakfast beverage. In fact, by drinking just one cup of pomegranate juice a day, you can lower your blood pressure in as little as four weeks!
While you may be worried about the high sugar contents of pomegranates, it’s important to remember that this is natural sugar. This may or may not lead to pomegranates being compatible with your diet. If pomegranates are indeed suited to you, then consider drinking pomegranate juice the next time you’re thinking of what tasty beverage to enjoy with your breakfast!
Time To Avoid Alcohol
While we all know that drinking too much alcohol is bad for you, you may not be aware of all the reasons why. Sure, dulling one’s senses when getting drunk can be an issue, but this isn’t the only problem caused by frequent drinking. Excessive alcohol consumption also leads to vasoconstriction, where your vessels get tightened as you continue to drink.
This results in your arteries being placed under more pressure as blood continues to be pumped, which could lead to devastating consequences. If this wasn’t enough to discourage you from heavy drinking, just think of the copious amounts of sugar in alcohol that can lead to weight gain and high blood pressure. So, if you wanted to drink your troubles away after reading this list, it’s probably best you don’t do so.
Enjoy More Cinnamon
This is one of those rare occasions where a tasty ingredient you probably enjoy is also good for you. As the key ingredient in cinnamon rolls, cinnamon is a spice that can actually help reduce your blood pressure. While further research does admittedly need to be conducted, existing studies have shown that cinnamon can help reduce short-term systolic blood pressure.
Cinnamon can be added to your diet in various ways. While a cinnamon roll can prove to be a tasty treat, you could also sprinkle cinnamon in your oatmeal at breakfast time. The next time you feel like adding sugar to your food, consider using cinnamon has a healthier, yet equally tasty alternative!
Time To Avoid Bacon
While candy and chocolates may prove to be delicious snacks, bacon is commonly enjoyed at breakfast as well as throughout the day. Naturally, such a tasty treat cannot exist without its fair share of health-related side effects. Like a lot of the other food on this list, bacon contains a high amount of sodium and fats, both of which contribute to high blood pressure.
In fact, the National Nutrient Database of the United States Department of Agriculture shows that just three slices of bacon contain a staggering 576 milligrams of sodium. While bacon may be a treat that you regularly look forward to eating at breakfast, it may be in your best interest to only eat this treat on very rare occasions.
Let Loose On The Watermelon
A sweet, juicy and refreshing fruit, watermelon is incredibly popular among older and younger people alike. This is great considering the many health benefits associated with this gigantic fruit. In addition to keeping you hydrated, watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that regulates blood pressure levels.
Citrulline triggers the production of nitric oxide, the gas that relaxes blood vessels and ultimately reduces blood pressure. You may remember that garlic also contains nitric oxide. Interestingly enough, studies have shown that watermelon eaters have up to 50% less plaque in their arteries than people who don’t eat watermelon. While it may be a seasonal fruit, make sure that you do not pass up on indulging in this juicy treat when watermelon season does come around!
Pickles Are Best Avoided
Typically, pickles are stored in jars filled with pickle juice and can be stored like this for months. Of course, being able to last this long means that pickles are filled with contents that are unhealthy for you. One of the main ingredients of pickles that are bad for your blood pressure is a high volume of salt.
Unfortunately, because pickles are soaked in salt for so long, it is impossible to rid pickles of their unhealthy contents no matter how much you wash them after pulling them out the jar. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative to pickles, then consider eating cucumbers- the “unpickled” version. As a fresh vegetable, cucumbers lack the heaps of salt that are found in pickles, making them a healthier snack.
Add Lentils To Your Diet
While red meat is the first thing that comes to mind when people think of protein, lentils can also provide you with this essential nutrient. Lentil’s, along with other pulses, also contain fiber and are known to expand blood vessels, thereby helping to reduce your blood pressure. Just some of the other pulses that you can add to your diet are beans, peas, and chickpeas.
One study in 2014 showed that, when fed to rats, lentils would reduce blood pressure by approximately 30%. What’s great about lentils, as well as other pulses, it that they go great in soup and can also be used as a substitute for minced beef- making them ideal additions to vegetarians’ diets.
Regulate Your Coffee Intake
Just like their energy drink counterparts, coffee contains caffeine. While it may not include the same sugar amounts that energy drinks have, the caffeine in coffee may still have a negative impact on blood pressure, particularly for people who are known to suffer from high blood pressure.
While people with low blood pressure do not have to be as wary of the effects of coffee, they will still need to manage their intake so as not to get the shakes. Coffee may also disrupt your sleep patterns if drank too late in the day. As such, it is recommended that you only drink between one and two cups of coffee per day, preferably before lunchtime. There is also the option of drinking decaf coffee, which will provide you with the taste of coffee without the same levels of caffeine.
Enjoy Some Kiwi
While they may not be the type of fruit that you typically find place for in your diet, kiwi fruit will provide you with an array of health benefits if consumed on a regular basis. In fact, scientific research has suggested that eating three kiwis a day for eight weeks will be better for your blood pressure than eating an apple a day!
A lot of the benefits of kiwi fruit can be credited to their high volume of vitamin C. This, together with their other nutrients, allow kiwi fruit to improve blood pressure with regular consumption. If you are struggling to find a place for kiwi fruit in your diet, then consider chopping them into slices and placing them in your oatmeal at breakfast time!
No More Butter And Margarine
Due to being used in so many meals, you may find it challenging to eliminate butter and margarine from your diet completely. By spreading these tasty substances on your sandwiches on a regular basis, you actually put yourself at greater risk of raising your blood pressure.
Because of containing such high levels of fat, both butter and margarine can clog up your arteries, which will force your heart to beat faster. This can be incredibly dangerous, as the more pressure is applied to your heart, the more likely you are to suffer from a heart attack or heart disease. While the tastiness of butter and margarine is undisputed, it is important that you only consume these ingredients on the rare occasion.
Enjoy Some Natural Yogurt
If oatmeal does not really suit your taste buds, you may want to consider indulging in some smooth and nutritious yogurt. Just like with oatmeal, you can add a multitude of delicious ingredients to your yogurt in order to create a delicious snack to start your day.
The American Heart Association found that the risk of hypertension was reduced by 20% for middle-aged woman who regularly eat natural yogurt. Of course, Greek yogurts and other unsweetened types of yogurt will be better for you than ones with added sugar. So, once you have picked the type of yogurt that most appeals to you, then feel free to grab your favorite fruit, nuts, or cinnamon and add them to this healthy dish that will also satisfy your taste buds!
Don’t Opt For Premade Soup
While chicken soup may be known as a nourishing remedy that will help you feel better when you’re sick, there is a huge difference between freshly prepared and canned soups. Just one of the main differences between these forms of soup are the amounts of sodium contained within. Just one can of premade soup can have a whopping 800 milligrams of sodium- which is, of course, terrible for your blood pressure.
In addition, just one can of premade soup has more sodium in it than the total recommended daily amount for one person. While you may feel like these are great meals to have around when you don’t feel like cooking, it is best to avoid them so that you do not suffer any associated health risks.
Add Some Seeds To The Mix
If you’re looking for an easy snack that also has great health benefits, pick up a pack of sunflower seeds from your nearby convenience store. Sunflower seeds, as well as flax and pumpkin seeds, are high in magnesium and other minerals. What’s especially beneficial about food with such high levels of magnesium is that it helps to relax your blood vessels, and in turn, lower your blood pressure.
If you happen to be someone that doesn’t love the taste of sunflower, flax, or pumpkin seeds, then consider including these seeds in other meals. Simply add them to other dishes such as oatmeal and yogurt and marvel at how quickly they have a positive impact on your body.
Curb Your Popcorn Habit
While popcorn is sometimes considered to be a healthy snack, this heavily depends on how it is prepared and what you put on it. If you take a moment to think of the way that popcorn is normally prepared when you eat it, you will realize exactly why this snack is bad for you. Between the sugar, butter, salt, and cream that it is typically lathered with at the cinema, it is no surprise as to why popcorn is so detrimental to your blood pressure.
In order for popcorn to be the healthy snack that it is often rumored to be, you would have to eat it plain without all the toppings. Even when plain, however, it is still not the healthiest of snacks due to its high level of carbohydrates. For a regular snack, rather stick to carrots or an assortment of nuts or seeds.
Add Beetroot To Your Diet
While not everyone loves beetroot, its health benefits are indisputable. In fact, this purple substance can improve you blood pressure in a matter of hours after being eaten! This is largely due to its high concentration of potassium, which lowers blood pressure at a timely rate. You can also enjoy beetroot in liquid form with a thirst-quenching beetroot juice! If beetroot isn’t quite to your taste, then consider making a cocktail with some apple in order to improve the taste.
Bizarrely, the benefits of beetroot are different for men and women, with men benefiting slightly more. No matter your sex, you can sit back and enjoy a couple of glasses of beetroot juice every week and see how quickly it lowers your blood pressure!
Say No To Canned Beans
While beans are typically known to be healthy, there is a significant difference between fresh beans and those that have been sitting in cans for months. After all, canned beans require a number of preservatives in order to remain edible.
Not only will the preservatives in canned beans increase your blood pressure, but so too will their high sodium levels. If this wasn’t enough, canned beans will also increase the likelihood of having a heart attack. As you can see, getting gassy is not the only downside to eating canned beans! If you do decide to purchase canned beans, make sure to wash them thoroughly before consumption. Even if you do wash them, however, they are still full of ingredients that it is best to avoid.
An Apple A Day keeps the Doctor away
As is the case with beetroot, broccoli, citrus, and onions, apples contain a flavanol called quercetin. This flavanol acts as an antioxidant inside the body, therefore lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation, fighting the risk of heart disease and even reducing the risk of cancer!
Quercetin is both natural and effective. In one study, where people who incorporated quercetin into their diet were compared to those who took placebo, it was found that quercetin had a far more positive effect. Of course, quercetin is not the only reason to eat apples. These juicy fruits are rich in fiber, nutrition, and minerals, and even contain other antioxidants such as catechin, phlorizin, and chlorogenic acid. So, it’s true what they say- an apple a day keeps the doctor away!
Lay Off The Fried Food
Whether you’re talking about French fries, deep fried chicken, or a flavorful doughnut, there are plenty of delicious fried foods that people love to indulge in as a treat. Unfortunately, these fried foods are incredibly unhealthy and should definitely not be eaten on a regular basis.
What makes these treats so bad for us? Well, as these treats are being cooked, they absorb high amounts of sodium and saturated facts. As you can probably guess, such high volumes of sodium and fats leads to higher blood pressure. This is not the only issue that can be caused by fried foods, however, as they can also contribute to diabetes and obesity. While you may like to enjoy them as an occasional treat, it is best that you limit your intake as much as possible.
Consider Sipping Hibiscus Tea
There are a variety of teas out there that can provide you with great health benefits. Just one type of tea that can have a superb impact on your diet is hibiscus tea. While it can be purchased in stores or online, you may be lucky enough to actually have a hibiscus tree in your backyard! If so, be sure to pick a few leaves and brew a fresh pot of refreshing tea!
One of the unique benefits of this type of tea is its organic acids, known for benefiting your cardiovascular system and reducing blood pressure n a grander scale. This delicious tea is also beneficial for promoting weight loss, improving liver health, lowering blood fat levels, and fighting bacteria.
No More Whole Milk
The next time you visit the grocery store, take a look at the variety of milks that are available. While you may not have noticed a large difference between whole milk, skimmed milk and semi-skimmed milk before, this is sure to change your mind.
Whole milk, unlike skimmed or semi-skimmed, contains high levels of saturated fats. As discussed before, this can be bad for your blood pressure if consumed in excess. So, if you happen to be a heavy tea or coffee drinker, you may want to try drinking black tea or coffee on occasion instead of putting whole milk in every cup. If you find that coffee or tea without milk really isn’t to your taste, then at least consider switching to skimmed or semi-skimmed milk in order to limit any damaging effects!
Enjoy Some Sweet Potatoes
If you feel that bananas are simply not your favorite fruit, then there is a vegetable that will provide you with similar health benefits. This vegetable is non-other than sweet potato. With its high potassium contents, sweet potato is a great choice of food if lowering your blood pressure is a priority.
Because even the smallest amount of potassium is great for your health, sweet potatoes have significant effects on blood pressure. This, along with their many other benefits, have led to sweet potatoes being regarded as a ‘super food’. What’s also great about sweet potatoes is their delicious taste and versatility- you can add them to your favorite salad or even just bake a couple of slices to eat on their own!