Over 70 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure and 30 percent of Americans have prehypertension, making this condition extremely crucial to control. However, sometimes prescription drugs used to control hypertension can have potentially dangerous side effects.
With the recent recall of several blood pressure drugs due to potential contamination, it’s more important than ever to try natural ways to keep blood pressure under control.
According to Dr. Mehmet Oz, host of the popular TV show, “The Dr. Oz Show,” the foods you eat can have a positive effect on keeping your blood pressure within the current guidelines of 130/80 mmHg as set by the American Heart Association. Here are six foods that can help control blood pressure:
- Insoluble fiber. Dr. Oz says that eating foods like beans, 100 percent whole wheat or bran products, green beans, potatoes, cauliflower, or nuts helps balance the gut biome which in turn produces fatty acids that reduce cardiovascular problems such as blood pressure, irregular heartbeat, and atherosclerosis. Insoluble fiber also adds bulk to stool and helps food pass more quickly through the stomach and intestines, protecting your heart from high blood pressure.
- Leafy greens. According to Medical Daily, the potassium found in leafy green vegetables eliminates sodium from the body which in turn can reduce blood pressure. Kale and spinach are options that provide a good portion of your daily recommended intake. The Environmental Working Group recommends that you consume organic greens due the high levels of pesticide residues in commercially grown veggies.
- Berries. Berries, and specifically blueberries, contain nitric acid which can have protective effects on heart health. “There’s something very special about the composition of blueberries that is responsible for their effect on blood pressure,” Florida State researcher Sarah A. Johnson told The New York Times. “Other fruits and plant extracts have not produced the same results.”
- Olive oil. The most popular heart-healthy diets are the DASH and the Mediterranean both of which recommend using olive oil in your diet. The benefits may be attributed to the polyphenols as well as the monounsaturated fats. These “good” fats make a fine replacement for butter which contains unhealthy fat. Studies show that women, in particular, experience the greatest health benefits from using olive oil.
- Salmon. The American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish twice weekly. Studies have found that high omega-3 content may play a role in lowering blood pressure and targeting inflammation in the body. Prevention also notes that salmon contains vitamin D which “helps the body absorb calcium, protects against depression, and regulates blood pressure,” according to their website.
- Chocolate. As long as you stick to dark chocolate and watch the portion size, you can enjoy a number of health benefits. The dark variety contains compounds called flavanols which experts believe have beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cognition, and more. To avoid weight gain, limit your consumption to an ounce daily and make sure your chocolate contains at least 70 percent cocoa.
–Lynn Allison | newsmax.com