Are you one of the millions of people unknowingly living with high blood pressure? You’re not alone. About one in every three American adults deals with the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The good news is a high blood pressure diagnosis doesn’t mean you’re destined for a life of prescription medications. It’s relatively easy to lower blood pressure naturally, especially by improving your diet in order follow a high blood pressure diet.
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or you’re just hoping to prevent it from developing in the future, a high blood pressure diet is one of the most important things to address. A healthy diet is the key natural remedy for high blood pressure, especially since it’s completely safe, simple and works fast to improve your overall health beyond just your blood pressure.
The High Blood Pressure Diet: How to Improve Your Diet to Lower High Blood Pressure
Research shows that about 50 percent of people with high blood pressure fail to control their condition, either because they aren’t aware of the problem or they haven’t made lifestyle changes that promote overall heart health.
It might seem daunting to overhaul your whole life to help control your high blood pressure — for example, by taking prescriptions, eating differently, lowering stress and exercising. But you’ll be happy to learn that it’s usually surprisingly easy for many people to help tackle high blood pressure just by making some simple changes.
For example, people following a high blood pressure diet like the DASH diet over time have been able to lower their systolic blood pressure by seven to 12 points, a significant amount that can make a big difference. This can be accomplished in stages through very approachable steps, such as eating more fresh produce and cooking more often.
Some of the best foods that lower blood pressure naturally include:
Eating a variety of vegetables is a staple for basically every diet that exists, considering veggies are high-antioxidant foods packed with protective nutrients like fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K and various electrolytes (yet very low in calories). A report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that people who ate a mostly plant-based diet reported lower blood pressure readings than meat eaters who were likely to consume less fresh produce.
Aim for at least four to five servings of different veggies every day. Ideally, include a variety so you get a range of nutrients (hence the saying “eat the rainbow”). Leafy greens like spinach, kale, mustard greens and turnip greens are potassium-rich foods and among the healthiest foods on earth, and all hardly add any calories to your diet.
2. Fresh Fruit
Consuming fresh fruit (as opposed to juices or sweetened, canned fruits) is a great way to increase your intake of fiber, electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, and antioxidants like flavonoids and resveratrol. Two to four servings is a good amount for most people, especially fruits like berries, citrus, kiwi, apples and melon.
3. Lean Proteins
This can include foods such as wild-caught seafood (especially anti-inflammatory omega-3 foods like salmon, sardines and halibut), cage-free eggs and grass-fed/pasture-raised meats. Aim to get about 20 percent to 30 percent of your total calories from “lean and clean” proteins. This type of protein is important to maintain your energy levels. These foods also make you feel full, balance your blood sugar and help maintain muscle strength.
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