Vitality

6 Foods That Can Help Lower Blood Pressure

While lifestyle changes play an important role in controlling your blood pressure, you can also make things easier for yourself by eating more of certain foods. Here are six of them that can help reduce your numbers.

Leafy greens

Potassium helps eliminate more sodium from the body which, in turn, can reduce blood pressure. This means you should include more leafy green vegetables on your plate since they are high in potassium as well as magnesium.

Kale and spinach can provide a good chunk of your daily recommended intake. There are several other options to choose from — romaine lettuce, arugula, turnip greens, collard greens, beet greens, and Swiss chard.

Berries

Berries are a great addition to your diet as they contain nitric oxide which can have protective effects on heart health. Sarah A. Johnson, a Florida State University researcher, specifically recommended blueberries. 

"There is something very special about the composition of blueberries that is responsible for their effect on blood pressure," she told the New York Times. "Other fruits and plant extracts have not produced the same result."

Dairy

There has been moderate evidence to suggest that the consumption of low-fat dairy products could help in lowering blood pressure. Calcium likely plays a role here, researchers say, although the benefit has only been linked to dairy consumption and not calcium supplements.

While low-fat milk is an option, you can also consider yogurt. Women who ate five or more servings per week as a part of research were found to have a 20 percent reduction in their risk for developing high blood pressure.

Olive oil

As the cooking oil recommended by the DASH and Mediterranean diet, it is not surprising that olive oil has made the list. The benefit may be attributed to polyphenols as well as monounsaturated fats.

These are good fats, which make the oil a good replacement for butter which contains the bad kind of fats. Studies have also suggested that women, in particular, may experience a benefit from using it. However, remember to moderate your use since olive oil is high in calories.

Salmon

As you may know, the American Heart Association recommends consuming fatty fish two times per week. Studies have found that high omega-3 content may play a role in lowering blood pressure and targeting inflammation in the body.

Prevention notes that fatty fish like salmon are also a great source of vitamin D which "helps the body absorb calcium, protect against depression, and regulate blood pressure," the website stated.

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 are believed to have beneficial effects on blood pressure, cholesterol levels, cognition, and more.

To avoid unhealthy weight gain, experts recommend consuming less than an ounce per day. Additionally, make sure to purchase the ones that contain at least 70 percent cocoa.

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