High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the most common health conditions in the United States, affecting over 47% of adults in the country. Blood pressure can increase due to kidney complications, heart disease, and diabetes, however, the most common cause of high blood pressure is consistent consumption of foods high in fat, processed carbs, and sugar. In the following article we list the best foods for high blood pressure and discuss a few of the common causes of high blood pressure. Learn more about the popular foods and diets known to help prevent hypertension.
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure allows nutrients and oxygen to pass through blood vessels and reach all parts of the body, most importantly the brain and heart. High blood pressure is a condition more often seen in those over the age of 65, affecting as many as 70% of people in this age group.
A diet rich in essential vitamins and nutrients such as magnesium, potassium and vitamin A has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure over time. Avoiding sodium, a chemical element that can easily clog arteries and put pressure on your kidneys, is also essential.
Eating a breakfast that is low in sodium and high in healthy vitamins, fats, and proteins can help you start the day with energy and zeal. Opting for whole grains instead of refined carbs, and natural sugars instead of processed ones can allow you to enjoy your breakfast while also lowering blood pressure.
Whole Grain Bagels
Whole grain bagels contain copious amounts of fiber, which has been associated with a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. When choosing your bagel, it is important to make sure you purchase the whole grain variety. Bagels which contain refined flour often have higher carbohydrate and fat content and may do less to keep hypertension in check.
Yogurt and Berries
A cup of low fat yogurt is a great source of calcium, protein, and healthy fiber. A single serving of fruit can contain more than 100% of the daily value of potassium, a nutrient known to relax blood vessel walls and prevent hypertension.
Eggs are high in protein, containing 7 grams per large egg. Although egg yolks are infamous for their high cholesterol content, they can be easily separated from their whites to create an egg-white only omelet. In addition, some nutrients in egg yolks, such as vitamins A, D, E, and K, have been found to reduce blood pressure and improve overall health.
Lunch bridges the gap between breakfast and dinner, and provides your body with fuel for the early afternoon and second half of the day. A healthy lunch designed to lower blood pressure includes lean meats such as chicken and salmon, leafy green vegetables, and healthy fats.
Low Sodium Meats
Working to lower your daily sodium intake is a key step towards lowering overall blood pressure. When you eat too much sodium, your body holds onto extra water to help wash the sodium from your body. This excess water can inundate blood vessels and put stress on blood vessel walls. A few meats and fish with the lowest sodium content include salmon, chicken, and mahi mahi.
Leafy Green Vegetables
Many leafy green vegetables, such as kale, spinach, and cabbage, contain little-to-no sodium and carry a plethora of beneficial nutrients and antioxidants.
Low Fat And Low Salt Cheese
Low fat cheeses contain minute amounts of sodium while packing a punch when it comes to protein content. The best cheeses for high blood pressure include swiss, ricotta, mozzarella, and provolone.
When working to treat hypertension, it is important to consume a balanced dinner full of lean meat, healthy grains, and nutrient-rich vegetables. The best dinner foods leave you feeling satiated and satisfied while keeping your blood pressure in check throughout the night.
Baked salmon is a delicious flavorful dinner recipe that is high in both healthy fats and protein. It is also a quick and easy recipe that can be made in less than half an hour. Combine your baked salmon with a leafy green salad or bowl of fruit to make your dinner as delicious and healthy as possible.
Opting for quinoa instead of fat-filed carbohydrate options like baked mashed potatoes can keep your blood pressure in check. Quinoa is one of the most protein-rich grains and even contains twice as much fiber as any other grain.
While the exact causes of high blood pressure vary per person, doctors and health specialists have identified a plethora of lifestyle choices, dietary habits, and medical conditions that may aid in raising both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The following are a few of the most common causes and contributing factors for high blood pressure.
Scientists do not know for certain whether anxiety and stress lead to high blood pressure. Common reactions to stress, however, have been linked to other conditions known to increase blood pressure. When stressed, your body’s adrenal glands produce a surge of hormones. These hormones can temporarily increase blood pressure.
There is no proof that stress can lead to long term recurring high blood pressure, but a temporary spike in blood pressure can result in serious conditions including heart attack and stroke.
Dehydration has been found to be linked to both high and low blood pressure. Water is essential to the function and performance of your entire body, including your blood. In fact, over 90% of blood plasma is made up of water. When you are very dehydrated, your body and blood lack adequate water to function properly. Significant dehydration can cause your overall blood volume to decrease, resulting in a significant drop in blood pressure.
On the contrary, the action of a hormone vasopressin can also sometimes cause dehydration to result in an increase in blood pressure. In some circumstances, as your body becomes dehydrated, the kidneys reabsorb water to preserve as much as possible. When blood volume decreases due to dehydration, the body releases vasopressin to mitigate sodium levels. Exceptionally high levels of vasopressin can cause blood vessels to constrict, resulting in high blood pressure.
A blood pressure reading includes a systolic reading and a diastolic reading. Blood pressure is measured as a fraction, with the systolic reading as numerator and the diastolic reading as the denominator. The ranges for blood pressure readings are as follows:
Low: Less than 90/60
Normal: Anywhere between 90/60 and 120/80
Stage 1 High Blood Pressure: 130-139/80-89
Stage 2 High Blood Pressure: 140-180/ 90-120
Hypertension Crisis: 180+/120+
Maintaining low blood pressure works to preserve the health of the heart, arteries, blood vessels and entire body. High blood pressure has been linked to countless health complications including heart attack, stroke, coronary artery disease, and aneurysm.
Studies show that a diet rich in healthy fats, lean proteins, and nutrient-rich vegetables is most effective at preventing blood pressure from rising. Popular diets for high blood pressure include the DASH diet, which is specifically designed to reduce salt, fat, and sugar consumption.
High blood pressure is directly linked to heart health. Improving the condition of your heart and arteries can do wonders to decrease blood pressure. Check out our blog where we discuss the 12 best foods for heart health, including berries, brown rice, and fatty fish such as salmon!