High blood pressure or hypertension means increased pressure in the blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to all the tissues and organs of the body.

A normal human being records 120/80 as the blood pressure. The top number, the systolic blood pressure, corresponds to the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood forward into the arteries. The bottom number, the diastolic pressure, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction.

The diastolic pressure reflects the lowest pressure to which the arteries are exposed. Blood pressure of 140/90 or above is considered high.

A rise in the systolic and/or diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of developing heart disease, kidney disease, hardening of the arteries, eye damage and stroke.

It was previously thought that rises in diastolic blood pressure was a bigger risk than systolic elevations, but it is now known that people above 50 systolic hypertension represents a greater risk.

Increased blood pressure, however, is a reversible condition. It can be brought to normal through lifestyle changes and dietary habits. Since blood pressure is often the result of improper dieting habits and poor nutrition, certain foods can play a key role in preventing and controlling hypertension and associated organ damages:

1. Spinach: Being a rich source of the trace element magnesium, spinach can be very beneficial in reducing blood pressure. High levels of foliate found in spinach is also very effective to tackle homocysteine, an amino acid that implies an increased incidence of heart attacks and strokes

2. Potato: Potatoes have loads of the heart-friendly micronutrient potassium. Apart from this, potatoes are good sources for minerals and fiber that help stabilize blood pressure

3. Avocado: Avocados have oleic acid that can help reduce cholesterol. Potassium and folic acid are the other beneficial nutrients from avocados that help the heart

4. Seeds: Certain common seeds like watermelon seeds and sunflower seeds contain phytosterols and magnesium that help bring down bad cholesterol and high blood pressure.

5. Banana: Bananas contain potassium and are high in fiber that help contain high cholesterol and prevent heart disease

6. Soybean: The isoflavons in soy can lower cholesterols and boost heart health. Soy nutrients can also bring down raised blood pressure

7. Nuts: Peanuts, almonds, red beans are good sources of magnesium and potassium. Potassium is known to be effective lowering high blood pressure