More than 1 in 3 South African adults live with high blood pressure. Researchers found that a healthy diet is essential for lowering blood pressure and maintaining it at a healthy level. Here are easy tips on which foods work and how to incorporate them into a healthy diet:
Antioxidant Powered Berries
Researchers conducted a study with more than 34,000 people with hypertension. They found that those with the highest intake of anthocyanins — mainly from blueberries and strawberries — had an 8 percent reduction in the risk of high blood pressure, compared to those with a low anthocyanin intake. You could either eat berries as a snack or blend them in a nourishing smoothie. There are some fun and delicious ways to add berries to your healthy diet. All it requires is imagination!
Bananas contain a vital mineral called potassium which assists in managing hypertension. Did you know that potassium reduces the effects of sodium and alleviates tension in the walls of the blood vessels? Other potassium-rich foods include avocados, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, beans, tuna etc. You could stick to the traditional avocado-on-toast at mealtimes or whip up a sweet potato mash for the next family dinner for an exciting twist.
Note: People with kidney disease should speak to their doctors about potassium, as too much can be harmful.
Watermelon contains citrulline amino acids which may help to manage high blood pressure. Citrulline helps the body produce a gas that relaxes blood vessels and encourages flexibility in arteries. Stock up on watermelon or try a chilled watermelon soup to cool you down in hot weather.
Did you know that cocoa-rich chocolate reduces blood pressure in people with hypertension or prehypertension? High-quality dark chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa can be consumed moderately, around a piece of chocolate each day. When you’re getting ready to relax at the end of a hard day, knowing that you have dark chocolate as a treat waiting for you, is quite a warm thought to have.
Vitamin C-rich Kiwis
Kiwi reduces blood pressure in people with mildly elevated levels. Researchers believe that the bioactive substances in kiwis cause the reduction. There is nothing more satisfactory than a kiwi crunch in your breakfast muesli or the delicious minty-fresh start to your morning with a kiwi smoothie.
Researchers found that beetroots’ high levels of inorganic nitrate caused a reduction in blood pressure. It helps to drink a glass of beetroot juice each day or add beetroot to salads for a nice, crunchy texture.
It is never too late to adopt a healthy eating plan and lifestyle. Reduce the risk of hypertension by consuming foods that lower blood pressure. Don’t forget to exercise to assist in improving your overall health as well! If you are looking for more information on ingredients to add to your eating plan, be sure to look at Flora’s list of seasonal ingredients for inspiration.