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Accord­ing to Sta­tis­tics Cana­da, one in four Cana­di­an adults has high blood pres­sure. In Amer­i­ca, the rate is even higher. It is not over­stat­ing the issue to say that hyper­ten­sion has become a glob­al health prob­lem, as more and more nations strug­gle with soar­ing obe­si­ty rates, even in young children. Is the sce­nario all doom and gloom? No, not if you begin mak­ing smarter choic­es about what you eat and what you serve to your fam­i­ly at mealtimes. There is noth­ing wrong with order­ing piz­za on a Fri­day night while every­one is watch­ing a movie togeth­er, of course. But to low­er your blood pres­sure (or your partner’s — men are more like­ly to be afflict­ed with it at a young age than women, but after age 60, the gap clos­es), the key is chang­ing your diet and avoid­ing processed, pack­aged foods. A clean­er diet filled with whole foods and nutri­tious snacks is how you can low­er your blood pres­sure and ensure that those around you don’t devel­op the prob­lem in the first place.  This arti­cle offers some guide­lines on the foods that sci­en­tists and nutri­tion­ists say are best for fight­ing high blood pressure. Choos­ing some (or all!) when you’re prepar­ing meals each day is the smart way to deal with your or a loved one’s high blood pres­sure before the need for med­ica­tion becomes manda­to­ry. If it does, eat­ing prop­er­ly just might help you get off med­ica­tion alto­geth­er, a wor­thy goal if you’re hop­ing to live drug-free as long as possible.  A diet that helps fight high blood pres­sure isn’t only about eat­ing the right foods. It’s also about what you don’t eat – pri­mar­i­ly too much salt and sodi­um. That means avoid­ing very salty snacks and processed foods, like pota­to chips and oth­er tempt­ing treats. And don’t reach for the salt shak­er when din­ner is served.  We offer some sug­ges­tions on that front, too – what to indulge in when you’re bing­ing on Net­flix and in the mood for nib­bling on a lit­tle something!  If you don’t have any of the fol­low­ing foods in your fridge and pantry, it’s time for a makeover of both so that you can begin your jour­ney to health­i­er eat­ing and low­er blood pressure.

1- Lots Of Fish, But With A Caveat

If you love seafood and all types of fish, you’re already mak­ing good choic­es. How­ev­er, avoid salty fish, like sar­dines that are packed in oil and sodium. Opt for tuna packed in water, the low sodi­um vari­ety, and plen­ty of fat­ty fish like salmon. These are loaded with omega-3s, which sci­en­tists say reduce inflam­ma­tion and may fight high blood pres­sure. Rich seafood like crab and lob­ster is fine on occa­sion, but don’t drown them in butter!

2- Eats Your Fruits – Especially Citrus

foods that help lower blood pressure l foods that lower bloodpressure l foods to eat to lower blood pressure l foods to reduce blood pressure l foods to eat to lower blood pressure Research shows that cit­rus fruits, includ­ing limes, lemons and grape­fruits, have plen­ty of ben­e­fits in the fight against high blood pressure. Sci­ence says that because these fruits are so packed with vit­a­mins and min­er­als, eat­ing lots of them helps keep your heart healthy. So, even if you’re not a fan of a slice of lemon in your soda water, find recipes for sal­ad dress­ings that use a squeeze of fresh citrus. Grape­fruit juice in the morn­ing is anoth­er way to get some dai­ly cit­rus ben­e­fits, but be sure you avoid brands loaded with sugar. 

3- Choose Dark Chocolate When Satisfying Your Sweet Tooth

You’ll be relieved to hear that you need not aban­don all sweets in the trash bin! But choos­ing the right one is essen­tial, so opt for dark choco­late with a min­i­mum of 70 per­cent cocoa. Pair it with a bowl of fresh berries, and you won’t miss oth­er desserts in the least.

4- Lots Of Crunchy, Green Vegetables Throughout The Day

Not only do cer­tain veg­eta­bles low­er blood pres­sure, but research shows they are also loaded with fiber that keeps your colon clean and efficient. Leafy green veg­eta­bles like spinach and Swiss chard are the best choic­es for heart health. Recipes for sal­ads made with these veg­gies abound online, so do a lit­tle inves­ti­gat­ing, and you’re bound to find a few that appeal. Stud­ies show that even a slight increase in potas­si­um intake in peo­ple with hyper­ten­sion (which leafy green veg­gies are filled with) direct­ly impacts low­er­ing blood pres­sure. And they taste pret­ty great, too.

5- Bananas Are A wise Choice Too

If you enjoy a bowl of cere­al for break­fast, start slic­ing up half a banana to put on top. Bananas are also packed with potas­si­um, and like those leafy green veg­gies, they impact the heart in a good way. How­ev­er, one caveat: if you have any kid­ney issues, talk to your physi­cian about what foods to lim­it – the list may include bananas and toma­toes. Increas­ing potas­si­um intake too much can have a neg­a­tive effect on peo­ple with renal problems.

6- Beans & Lentils

Both offer sig­nif­i­cant ben­e­fits when you’re try­ing to con­trol high blood pres­sure. They are loaded with mag­ne­sium, vit­a­mins, fiber and potassium.

7- Nuts & Seeds

Instead of snack­ing on salty pota­to chips, reach for a bowl of unsalt­ed nuts and seeds, in par­tic­u­lar pump­kin seeds, cashews and pistachios.  They are high in calo­ries and fat, so don’t overindulge, but the health ben­e­fits are many. All are packed with many nutri­ents, includ­ing vit­a­mins, fiber and potassium.

8- Berries Of All Types

foods that help lower blood pressure l foods that lower bloodpressure l foods to eat to lower blood pressure l foods to reduce blood pressure l foods to eat to lower blood pressure The ben­e­fits of eat­ing berries are well doc­u­ment­ed. Not only do they help fight high blood pres­sure, blue­ber­ries, in par­tic­u­lar, are demon­strat­ing ben­e­fits in the fight against demen­tia and even Alzheimer’s disease. A bowl of berries each day, or a few berries on your morn­ing cere­al along with half a banana, and you’re almost meet­ing your dai­ly require­ment for vit­a­mins, potas­si­um and oth­er nutrients. 

9- More Beets, Please!

Beets are one of those root crops that seems to inspire utter devo­tion or com­plete loathing in most folks. But there is no deny­ing that beets are a win­ner in the bat­tle against hyper­ten­sion. They also have plen­ty of potas­si­um, along with vit­a­mins, min­er­als and oth­er nutrients. If you tru­ly can’t stand the taste and tex­ture of the real thing, try hav­ing a small glass of beet juice each day. As long as it isn’t filled with sug­ar or oth­er sweet­en­ers, the health ben­e­fits are the same as eat­ing them fresh. 

10- Halibut

Not a fat­ty fish like salmon, yet hal­ibut has all the heart-smart, hyper­ten­sion reduc­ing ben­e­fits of its fat­ti­er cousin. Hal­ibut can be expen­sive, but hav­ing it even once every two weeks goes a long way toward giv­ing your body the nutri­ents it needs in the bat­tle against high blood pressure.

11- Watermelon

Water­mel­on con­tains an amino acid called cit­rolline, which stud­ies are show­ing to help in the process of encour­ag­ing blood ves­sels to relax, there­by allow­ing blood to flow more easily. One study showed that adults who con­sumed water­mel­on extract showed a sig­nif­i­cant reduc­tion in swelling in some arter­ies. It also low­ers their cho­les­terol lev­els, which can aid in low­er­ing blood pres­sure. If, for any rea­son, you aren’t a fan of this deli­cious sum­mer fruit, try putting it in your morn­ing smooth­ie. The same goes for kiwi fruit, which has many sim­i­lar benefits.

12- Oats & Other Whole Grains

foods that help lower blood pressure l foods that lower bloodpressure l foods to eat to lower blood pressure l foods to reduce blood pressure l foods to eat to lower blood pressure Remem­ber the days when every fam­i­ly start­ed their win­ter morn­ings with steam­ing hot bowls of oat­meal made from scratch? We don’t either, real­ly, but nutri­tion­ists say we should get back there! Whole oats brim with fiber and potas­si­um, both of which may help low­er blood pres­sure. Instead of hav­ing a slice of toast, please take 10 min­utes and make oat­meal for your­self and the fam­i­ly, so every­one starts their day with a serv­ing of this high blood pres­sure fight­ing food.

13- Garlic

Ah, gar­lic – is there a more deli­cious food that suits just about every savoury dish you make for sup­per? Now you can rest easy know­ing that gar­lic is almost a “super­food” when it comes to fight­ing high blood pressure. Gar­lic ups the body’s pro­duc­tion of nitric oxide, which in turn helps mus­cles relax and blood ves­sels to dilate. Those func­tions low­er blood pres­sure. So, not only does your spaghet­ti taste great, it’s help­ing your body fight hyper­ten­sion too.

Final Thoughts

There are oth­er foods that help in the fight against high blood pres­sure, but this list gets you head­ed in the right direc­tion when you’re plan­ning your next batch of sup­per­time menus. The goal is sim­ple: eat fresh, nat­ur­al food as much and as often as possible. Cut out processed foods entire­ly from your diet, if you can, or restrict your intake of it too, for exam­ple, that Fri­day night piz­za we men­tioned ear­li­er. Don’t add salt to your food once it’s on the din­ner table. And lim­it your snacks to nuts, seeds and fresh fruits. Does that sound like a tall order? It’s not when you con­sid­er that low­er­ing your blood pres­sure and keep­ing your heart healthy are the most sig­nif­i­cant con­tribut­ing fac­tors to a long life. Doesn’t that make ditch­ing fast foods and prepack­aged snacks worth it?  We think so, too!

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