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(A right diet helps you fight high blood pressure. Learn here what should be on the plate of a person suffering from high blood pressure problem.)
Did you know? Nearly 75 million Americans have high blood pressure, meaning that 1 of every 3 adults is suffering from blood pressure problem.
Although it is a common health condition among Americans, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, strokes, kidney failures and heart attack being a major risk. On the top of that, half of affected Americans are not sure if they have the disease, this is why it is called “silent killer”.
And the treatment of blood pressure costs the nation $46 billion each year, including the cost of health care, medications and missed days of work.
No wonder that high blood pressure has been considered as one of the leading death causes in America. In 2013, over 360,000 deaths in America was due to high blood pressure, meaning that 1,000 deaths each day.
Why Does High Blood Pressure Happen?
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition when blood runs through your arteries with too much force. This sudden action makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body. The excessive force of the blood damages the delicate tissues inside the arteries. It also leads to the accumulation of LDL or bad cholesterol plagues over the artery walls.
Over the time, your arteries become narrower due to the damage and the accumulation of the plaque, promoting blood pressure and forming a cycle that may risk your arteries, heart and the rest of your body. It makes the patient vulnerable to heart attack, stroke, and arrhythmia.
The exact causes of high blood pressure are still unknown, but it is triggered by several things like smoking, obesity, lack of physical activity, taking excessive salt, alcohol consumption, stress, age adrenal and sleep apnea.
However, your diet plays an important role—either in stopping blood pressure or aggravating it. The next point explains this to you.
Can Taking Right Diet Help Lower Blood Pressure?
A person with blood pressure is often told to avoid sodium-rich foods. The excessive amount of salt or sodium affects the bloodstream, lowering the ability of your kidneys to pass out the water. Extra fluid in the body puts pressure on the delicate blood vessels, leading to high blood pressure.
The sodium-rich foods to avoid are deli meat, pizza, canned beans, pastries, soft drinks, frozen meals, canned soups, pickles and many more.
Therefore, registered nutrition expert advice, you as a hypertension patient should aim for the low sodium and healthy nutrient diet.
Make sure your diet contains whole grains, fruits, veggies and low-fat dairy products. Lower your intake of saturated fat and cholesterol.
Here are some important foods that can help you manage your high blood pressure:
Flaxseeds contain anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties as they are rich in alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, and fiber. All these things make them a great food for the cardiovascular system.
A 2013 study published in Hypertension journal found that flaxseed can lower high blood pressure based on its trial in hypertension patients.
There are many delicious ways to add flaxseed to your diet. You can add them to your salad, smoothies, pudding or make tasty crackers.
Sometimes giving up to the temptation of a chocolate is good, especially when it comes to lowering your blood pressure. Yeah, dark chocolate is a delightful way to combat your hypertension problem.
According to a study published in BMJ, consumption of 100 grams of dark chocolate per day can lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
BMC medicine found that dark chocolate contains flavonols that can reduce systolic or diastolic blood pressure among people suffering from hypertension.
Another study claimed that polyphenols found in cocoa can produce nitric oxide, which can widen blood vessels and eases blood flow.
Add dark chocolate to yogurt or consume it with fruits like blueberries, raspberries or strawberries to maximize its benefits for your heart.
Pistachios are proven to minimize peripheral vascular resistance, heart rate, and blood vessel tightening, thereby lowering blood pressure. One serving of pistachios can help control blood pressure, according to one study.
Pistachios can be used in your diet by adding them to salads, yogurt sauce, crust, dressing, cake or by consuming them as a snack.
Not all cholesterol or fat is bad. Some of them like olive oil can be beneficial for your health. After all, it is rich in healthy monounsaturated fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties.
According to one study, polyphenols found in olive oil are used to decrease high blood pressure.
However, extra virgin olive oil is more effective than regular olive oil as it is made by crushing or pressing. Besides, it is not processed with chemicals and heat. This is why it retains a greater number of antioxidants that help the heart.
Turmeric is an Indian curry spice that is used in both cooking and medicine. The spice contains curcumin which contains medicinal properties. It is also useful for balancing the flow of the blood throughout the body.
According to one research, curcumin lowers hypertension by balancing the activity of angiotensin receptors and thus preventing the blood vessels from constriction.
According to another study, curcumin has vasorelaxant property or ability to ease blood vessels which minimizes resistance to blood flow to lower hypertension.
However, a human body is not good at absorbing curcumin. Therefore, you need to take it with a black pepper. Good thing is that you can use both contents in a range of recipes like soups, puddings, and salad.
You can’t rely solely on these foods to manage your high blood pressure. To see noticeable effects, you need to combine your diet with a healthy lifestyle and routine checkups.
- Doing regular workouts can reduce your blood pressure by 4 to 9 mm of mercury.
- Limit the consumption of alcohol.
- Avoid taking sodium-rich foods.
- Quit smoking as each cigarette keeps your blood pressure on high for minutes after your finish.
- Stress is a predominant cause of high blood pressure. So, you should relax by meditating, breathing or distracting your mind off a stressful event.
- Go for routine checkups.
Adam Taaffe is a digital marketing expert and author at Definitions Online St. John’s, Canada. One of his main interests is engaging and educating people about health-related topics and how it can be useful to them.