High blood pressure or hypertension is a condition in which the pressure exerted by the blood on the blood vessels exceeds the normal range. These days, hypertension has become quite common, and it must be noted that this disease often shows no distinctive symptoms. “Hypertension, if left untreated or unmanaged, can increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke,” says dietician Nmami Agarwal, founder & CEO, Nmami Life.
She adds that an appropriate dietary approach can be significant in managing high blood pressure with or without medications. The key foods that help in lowering blood pressure, as suggested by her, include:
1. Banana: Bananas are an excellent source of dietary potassium, a mineral that helps in regulating blood pressure levels. As per a scientific study, eating two bananas a day can help reduce blood pressure by 10 per cent.
2. Green Leafy Vegetables: Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, lettuce, or mustard greens are a rich source of nitrates. Just one to two servings of nitrate-rich vegetables can reduce hypertension for up to 24 hours.
3. Beetroot: Beetroot contains certain antioxidants that help in managing high blood pressure levels. The vegetable gets its red hue from anthocyanin, that emits blood pressure regulating action. Drinking one glass of beetroot juice is an effective remedy to combat high blood pressure levels. Beets contain another compound called nitric oxide which is also really effective to manage blood pressure.
4. Oat Bran: Oat bran makes a very healthy choice for breakfast. It is loaded with the goodness of soluble fibre known as beta-glucan that can help in lowering blood pressure levels and also improving digestive health. Oats are also rich in potassium which is a significant mineral for blood pressure control.
5. Sweet Potato: Sweet potatoes are definitely one of the best super foods to control high blood pressure. It is naturally rich in blood-pressure friendly fibre and is an excellent source of two essential minerals — magnesium and potassium. These minerals help to regulate blood pressure levels to a great extent.
6. Flaxseeds: A lot of scientific studies have supported the fact that consumption of flaxseeds regularly can bring a significant improvement in high blood pressure levels. Eating flaxseeds regularly for six months can lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure by 10 mmHg and 7 mmHg, respectively.
7. Walnuts: Walnuts are the only tree nut which are significantly higher in plant-based ALA (Alpha Linoleic Acid), which is the plant-based form of Omega-3 Fatty Acid. Regular consumption of walnuts has shown to improve blood flow. These are also loaded with healthy fats, magnesium, and fibre.
8. Garlic: Garlic is rich in an essential sulphur compound known as allicin that has significant blood pressure-lowering benefits. About 600-900 mg of garlic powder can lead to about 9-12 per cent reduction in blood pressure levels.
“Another key point to remember is to cut back on salt consumption to the least,” says Agarwal.