High blood pressure (HBP or hypertension) occurs when the blood pressure, the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the blood vessels, is consistently too high.
If untreated, high blood pressure can pose serious health risks such as heart attacks and strokes, according to the NHS.
Making changes to your diet can help bring your blood pressure down to normal healthy levels.
Beth Meertens, eating the following five foods is your best bet of reducing high blood pressure:
Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables. The different colours offer different healthy nutrients.
“Regularly having 4-5 serves of vegetables is linked to a lower risk of high blood pressure. In the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating pattern, people who ate more vegetables and fruit compared to their regular diet (which was probably low in these natural superfoods) had lower blood pressure than those who didn’t.
“Choose a variety of fruit and vegetables. The different colours offer different healthy nutrients.”
Fruit is a rich source of potassium, magnesium and fibre, said Meertens. She explained: “Include a handful of frozen and washed berries on your yoghurt or a piece of fruit with nuts as a 3pm pick me up.”
Frozen canned fruit and veg can contains the same health benefits as fresh produce, she adds.
“Regular consumption of wholegrains is linked with healthier hearts, and a lower risk of high blood pressure,” she explained.
Meertens said: “High intake of wholegrains is linked to a 30 percent lower risk of death from cardiovascular disease.”
Opt for the wholegrain versions of your regular foods. Meertens advised: “Wholegrain pasta and rice, wholegrain bread, wholegrain or high fibre breakfast cereal like rolled oats, porridge, or untoasted muesli.
“Remember to watch your portion size. Rice and pasta can be easy to over-serve. At your main meal keep to ½ to 1 cup (cooked) and instead load up on vegetables.”
Reduced fat dairy
Combining the vegetables, fruit, and wholegrain choices with reduced fat unflavoured dairy products like milk and yoghurt has been linked to greater reductions in blood pressure than increasing fruit and veg intake alone, said Meertens.
She said: “Choose reduced fat unflavoured milk, cheese and yoghurt and look for ways to include these foods as a nourishing snack.
“Enjoy reduced fat plain yoghurt with a bowl of wholegrain cereal, topped with berries and nuts and you have a recipe for success.
“Add reduced fat cheese with tomato and avocado to wholegrain crackers for filling morning or afternoon snack.”
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds provide healthy unsaturated fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals, said Meertens.
She explained: “Nuts, seeds and legumes are important parts of healthy eating patterns, so try and include some plain unsalted nuts and seeds in your meals every day. A serve of nuts or seeds is 30g, or a small handful.
“An added bonus – regular consumption of nuts is linked to lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol in the blood, and does not lead to weight gain.”
Other ways to bring down your blood pressure include cutting back on alcohol, stopping smoking and losing weight, said the NHS.
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