Increased blood pressure is often idiopathic that is there no known cause for it. It is associated with increasing age and happens more often to males as females have protection against it due to estrogen. Increased blood pressure known as hypertension often goes unnoticed unless diagnosed accidentally. Insidiously, it causes damage to the heart and makes it weaker with time as there is more work load on the heart muscles.
Your diet plays a great role in regulating your blood pressure. Excessive salt, fatty and oily food and alcohol ingestion can increase the blood pressure and risk of all associated disease including heart attack, atherosclerosis and stroke. DASH diet has been designed particularly for patients suffering with hypertension. It includes low fat protein resources, lots of fruits and vegetable, grains and foods rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium (all of which help regulate blood pressure).
Leafy Greens For Blood Pressure
Leafy green vegetables are rich in potassium and give you better potassium to sodium ratio. This relaxes the blood vessels and decreases blood pressure. These include lettuce, kale, turnip and spinach. Avoid canned foods as they have added sodium. Go for frozen or fresh vegetables.
Blood Pressure and Berries
Berries are rich in flavonoids. A study published in the American journal of clinical nutrition found that consuming these flavonoid compounds helps with hypertension and can possibly reduce blood pressure. Blue berries, strawberries and raspberries are all easily available. They can be taken raw, with cereal or low fat dessert.
Potatoes are naturally rich in heart friendly minerals mentioned earlier: potassium and magnesium. However people often ruin its affect by adding cheese, sour cream and butter for flavor. This is not healthy for a hypertensive patient. Bake and flavor potatoes with plain yogurt or salsa with little salt or light margarine.
Lower Blood Pressure with Beetroot
Researchers at the Queen Mary University of London found that beetroot juice consumption brings significant improvement in blood pressure. They concluded that the reason behind this affect is nitrates present in beetroot juice. Beetroot juice can be extracted at home or it can be simply cooked, roasted, stir fried and added to stews.
Dash diet requires hypertensive patients to have foods rich in calcium that is why it is important to have dietary products. Skim milk makes a great source of calcium for hypertensive patients as it is low in fat. When you are picking your skim milk carton, watch out for one high in sugar. You can also try non fat yogurt.
Oatmeal Helps with Blood Pressure
Oatmeal fits the bill for DASH diet as it is high in fiber, low in sodium and fat. It is a great source to charge up for the day. Fiber mops up cholesterol from the gut and eliminates it. It also helps with constipation caused as side effects of blood pressure medicines. An oat meal on its own is bland. It is recommended for heart patients to not add a lot of sugar. However, berries and fruits can be added for flavoring.
Bananas are a great way of adding potassium to your blood stream. It is a lot better than adding potassium supplements to your diet as it comes with other nutrients that help absorb potassium. It can be added to oatmeal cereal or taken to work as it makes a filling, quick and easy snack.
There is a great variety of beans available in Pakistan. Beans such as kidney beans are full of soluble fiber, magnesium and potassium all of which make excellent nutrients for a heart healthy food. It is great for overall health as well. Beans can be added to your rice, salads, soups and wraps.
Soy beans are another rich source of magnesium and potassium. They can be simply boiled and consumed warm and moist. If you miss the salt, you can mildly sprinkle with salt substitute.
Dark chocolate Lowers Blood Pressure
According to a study published in journal of American medical association (JAMA) having thirty calories of dark chocolate a day (one small piece), reduces blood pressure after 18 weeks without weight gain or other side effects. Dark chocolate containing 70% cocoa powder should be chosen. Since it is high in calories, it should be taken with care.