Your daily diet and lifestyle habits can be one of the key reasons for hypertension or high blood pressure. Excess consumption of sodium, low intake of potassium and lack of eating fresh vegetables and fruits could cause high blood pressure. High blood pressure or hypertension is a common lifestyle disease. But hypertension can easily be prevented and controlled with properly balanced food and daily activities. Today in this post, we are going to talk about some of the best foods to control high blood pressure and we’ll also talk about foods which is best to avoid if you are hypertensive.
World Health Organization (WHO) has estimated that, globally 7.5 million deaths occur due to high blood pressure, which is 12.8% of the total number of deaths. Several fatal diseases can be caused due to the rise in blood pressure including heart attacks, strokes, heart failure, visual impairment, hemorrhage etc.
People nowadays have greater risks of high pressure due to the lifestyle and the bad diet. In order to reduce the high blood pressure, you have to be very careful about what you eat.
Causes and symptoms of high blood pressure
Obesity and overweight can often lead to hypertension or high blood pressure. Similarly, consuming more than daily allowed quantity of sodium which is found in salt and many other foods will increase the chances of high blood pressure.
And sometime, hypertension may be caused due to any underlying disease. If detected on time, hypertension can be treated easily because it’s just a metabolic disease.
Here are some of the reasons for hypertension.
- Kidney or thyroid problems
- Adrenal gland tumors
- Defects in blood vessels
- Smoking and consuming alcohol
- Diabetes and high cholesterol
- Excess intake of painkillers and sleeping pills
There are no prominent symptoms of having high blood pressure, but it can be detected when you measure it. Ideally, you should check your blood pressure every quarter, especially as you grow older.
Some of the symptoms include feeling of nausea, headaches and palpitations in your heart. If you have these symptoms, then you should take precautions and immediate consult your doctor.
Foods to control high blood pressure
What we eat everyday seriously affect our health. And if you are hypertensive, you should know what to eat and what to avoid. Here are some of the best foods to control high blood pressure.
If you include most of these foods in your daily diet, you should be able to bring the blood pressure level to normal, within a few weeks.
The green peas are tasty, yet healthy. They contain vitamins and minerals and also the folic acid which aid in lowering the blood pressure. The peas help in supporting the cardiovascular system in your body, so that the heart can pump blood to all the blood vessels without working much harder.
You can easily find the frozen peas, but it’s better to avoid those and buy the buy the organic fresh peas from the markets. You can have the peas raw, add them to various dishes like salads and soups, and you can also make smoothies with peas.
You are already aware of the health benefits of having oatmeal. Oats are whole grain fibers which can reduce cholesterol, blood glucose levels and also the high blood pressure. Oat has many health benefits and it also helps you keep your weight in control.
You can have one bowl of oatmeal in breakfast, and this daily habit can bring some positive changes in your blood pressure reading. Do not consume the flavored ones, because they may have added sugar for the better taste. Eating flavored oat meals may lead the blood glucose to increase. Take the plain simple oatmeal, add warm water and then eat it.
These rich red and nutritious vegetable has innumerable health benefits, starting from weight loss, to improving skin and hair, curing kidney ailments etc. Tomatoes contain lycopene which helps in lowering the blood pressure.
It will improve the condition of the hardened arteries so that the blood flow can be smooth and normal. Drink tomato juice daily, or include tomatoes in salads and curries and have them regularly.
Green beans are rich in Vitamin C, fiber and potassium which can directly affect the raised blood pressure, the green beans have many other health benefits like improving the digestive system and also taking care of your heart.
While you are having the beans, try to have them boiled, do not add cheese or butter with the beans because cheese and butter contains plenty of saturated fat, which is not good for hypertensive people.
Melons are tasty and also healthy. Melons are rich in L-citruline which helps in lowering the blood pressure. Melons help in relaxing the arteries and the veins for the proper uninterrupted blood flow, thus reducing the blood pressure. So, do not consider eating the melons only during the summer, try to have them always.
You can make juices or smoothies with melons, or you can also make slices and eat them raw. While making juices or smoothies, do not add extra sugar.
The bananas are richest source of potassium which can reduce the raised blood pressure. The bananas are tasty, and also meet your sweet cravings. They are tasty, sweet and you can have that anywhere. If you have a high blood pressure then it is recommended that you have two bananas per day. You can have them raw, mix them in fruit salads, and also make smoothies with banana and skimmed milk.
Oranges are rich in Vitamin C , which can help in strengthening the immune system, saving you from cough and cold, and also help in reducing the blood pressure. Oranges are also beneficial for better eye health.
Drink freshly made orange juice daily without any extra sugar, or have slices of oranges in the mornings. The orange juice can normalize the blood pressure and it’s a good fruit choice.
You all know that carrots are good for your eyes because they contain vitamin C, but they also have antioxidants and potassium which can normalize the blood pressure. High blood pressure occurs when the arteries are hardened and the heart has to work harder for blood circulation, carrots help to keep the arteries in better conditions.
The primary ingredient of turmeric is curcumin which helps has anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidizing properties, which makes it a very beneficial food. Turmeric is used in most of the Indian foods, and you can add it too in your daily foods. Your blood pressure can be under control with the daily intake of turmeric.
The potatoes are rich in potassium and magnesium, and also high percentages of fiber which make it a healthy food. These components help in relaxing the blood vessels and control the blood pressure. You can have one baked potato daily for better results, instead of adding butter or deep frying, have baked or boiled potatoes, for taste you can add not more than pinch of salt, pepper or plain yogurt.
Foods to avoid for controlling high blood pressure
Food which is high in sodium should be avoided to control hypertension. Apart from sodium intake, one should also monitor the consumption of saturated fat, salt, meat etc. Listed below are some of the foods that should be avoided to prevent and control high blood pressure.
Avoid frozen meat, seafood and fish
Processed and frozen meats, fish and sea food are usually high in sodium. Frozen fish and sea food may have been treated with sodium and salt and hence it’s a big no. Always try and buy the fresh product from the market. Instead of eating packaged and processed meats, you should opt for fresh meat with low fat and no added salt and preservatives.
Whether you talk about tomato sauce or pizza sauce, pasta sauce or spaghetti sauce, each and every packaged sauce comes with loads of sodium content. These sauces can certainly save time, but they are not good for hypertension. If you feel like eating these sauces, you should prepare the sauce at home. After all, it is not that complicated and anyone can make it at home with 10 minutes.
Avoid dairy products
Did you know that a glass of milk may contain over 100 mg of sodium? Apart from sodium, milk also contains fat and which may increase your body weight. And increased body weight may cause hypertension. Avoid dairy produce like butter, cheese, yogurt etc.
Avoid added sugar
We often think that artificial sugar is bad for diabetics because it increase the blood sugar level, no? But according to a research published in the British Medical Journal, consumption of artificial sugar may increase the risk of hypertension and other cardiovascular diseases. Fructose contents of sugar can increase the risk of hypertension and hence it’s better to avoid foods that contain added sugar, especially the fructose.
If you have high blood pressure, it’s absolutely important for you to avoid alcohol, and if you can’t avoid, you should limit the consumption of alcohol. Alcohol is anyways injurious to your health and hence it is best to avoid it completely. If you are a sever drinker, you may try cutting the consumption and bring it down to a couple of drink, gradually and then give up completely.
Avoid excess salt
Consumption of excess salt can be seriously bad for your health, especially for hypertensive people. If you have high blood pressure, you should not be eating more than 1500 mg of sodium on daily basis. But did you know that a tablespoon of sea salt may have up to 2300 mg of sodium contents? That is more than the daily recommended sodium for a normal human.
And since we are talking on salt consumption, you should also count the sauce, salted butter and every other ingredient you are using in cooking. Indirectly, we end up consuming lots of salt through toppings and dressings.
Avoid packaged snacks
Packaged snacks like pizza, potato chips, mixture, salty biscuits etc can also add to the overall sodium contents and hence it is better to avoid processed and packaged snacks. Avoid eating out; avoid junk foods like burger, hot dogs, pizzas etc. Instead of eating ready to eat, processed and packaged snacks, it is better to eat something fresh, cooked at home. It’s healthier, and helps you to control hypertension and other health disorders.
Bonus tips to prevent and control hypertension
Eating right and daily workout can seriously reduces the chance of hypertension. Maintaining proper body weight, eating balanced diet and practicing yoga can help you to bring your blood pressure level to normal.
Listed below are some more tips to help you control blood pressure.
- Studies show that reduced intake of fat, sodium and alcohol can help in reducing high blood pressure.
- Eat foods which are rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium.
- Eat less salt in your daily foods. Avoid having raw salt.
- Regular stress and anxiety may cause hypertension, so destress yourself.
- Belly fat leads to high BP. Do some free hand exercises and Yoga to reduce the belly fat and prevent high blood pressure.
- 6-7 hours of sleep is essential for your body, so sleep well.
- Excess of caffeine can cause a rise in BP.
- Avoid excess of junk food to keep your blood pressure in check.
Over to you
The foods mentioned above can help you in lowering blood pressure without depending on the medicines and prescribed drugs. Eat blood pressure friendly food like bananas, tomato, watermelon, fresh green peas, carrots etc. Avoid saturated fat, excess of salt, butter, cheese and other foods which are high in sodium.
Hypertension or blood pressure is known as silent killer. You may not even have any idea of these diseases and suddenly on test you realize you are hypertensive. Take precaution, eat right kind of foods, and avoid foods which are not good for blood pressure and you should be fine.
What are the foods you eat and avoid to prevent and control high blood pressure?
Eliana the chief editor at bodyandbeans is a professional yoga instructor and a fitness freak. She has done her master’s in history from Kolkata University. She is passionate about healthy eating and living practices.