If you’re dealing with high blood pressure, then you know that what you eat matters. Because the food that you choose has a direct impact on your health and heart. But you also love food, so making sure that you’re still eating a tasty diet is also important. Well, if you’re a food lover looking for a heart-healthy diet, here’s a good place to start. These are 8 foods that lower blood pressure – and our pro tips on how to enjoy them…
1. Leafy Greens
Whether you’re into kale or spinach, these mineral-rich leaves are rich in antioxidants. Plus, they are packed with heart-healthy nutrients, like potassium and magnesium, along with a good dose of fiber and a low count of calories.
Pro Tip: Leafy greens make a killer salad. But don’t suffer by eating them bare! Add a healthy salad dressing, some raw nuts, and a bit of chopped fruits or vegetables to keep it interesting. A big bowl of nutrient-dense salad can do you for a whole meal!
Delicious berries give us that perfect flavor balance of sweet with just a little tart. With a heart-healthy diet, you should avoid extra sugars – but berries are a great way to enjoy a sweet treat. A recent study found that patients who ate a daily dose of berries had a reduction in blood pressure.(1)(2)
Pro Tip: Make the most of your berry consumption! You can enjoy berries for a few more bites, if you eat them alongside something else. So try them with heart-healthy granola for breakfast, or with low-fat plain yogurt as a simple dessert.
You’ll probably hear this one again! Bananas are nototriously rich in potassium, which helps the body to control sodium. So bananas get extra kudos from people who are trying to reduce their sodium intake in order to lower blood pressure.(3)
Pro Tip: Bananas are a magical, mobile food just as they are. Keep it simple, and eat ’em plain! Buy a bunch of bananas at the start of the week, and bring one to work each day for a heart-healthy morning snack.
4. Beet Juice
Swigging a glass of deep red beet juice might sound a little wild… But helping your blood pressure makes it worthwhile! Indeed, several studies report a direct impact from drinking a glass of this surprisingly sweet juice. The systolic blood pressure (that is, the top number in your reading) dropped by 4-5 points within a few hours.(3)
Pro Tip: If going for straight-up beet juice is too intense, try blending it with ginger or carrot juice for a sweet or zesty addition. Also, if you’re planning to work out, then drinking beet juice a few hours before can give you a boost in endurance.
5. Plain Yogurt
Low-fat dairy provides a daily dose of calcium, magnesium, and potassium – which all support a healthy heart and lowered blood pressure. In fact, this makes up one slice of the DASH diet for blood pressure. Researchers found that it decreases both systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure.(5) Plus, yogurt also delivers calcium for healthy bones and probiotics to guard against disease.
Pro Tip: Enjoy low-fat plain yogurt with berries (double dose of heart health!). Or try with a drizzle of local honey as a healthy dessert.
Eating a few servings of fish each week is linked to reduced blood pressure, according to recent studies. Some studies suggest choosing lean fish, like flounder, sole, and cod – while others push for fatty fish, like salmon.(6) Either way, the omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients in these fish have a positive effect on your body!
Pro Tip: Prepare your fish simply by baking in the oven with lemon and herbs. For an extra bonus, eat it alongside a nice salad for your daily fix of leafy greens, too.
Get started with heart-healthy eating, and try adding these foods into your daily diet.
If you have high blood pressure, it’s so important to take care of your body. This means staying informed and making good choices – like knowing simple habits to reduce daily stress and how to easily take your blood pressure at home, as well as supplements that support your heart.