High blood pressure is a common medical problem that affects millions of people in North America. In my opinion, high blood pressure—or hypertension, as it is commonly known—is a lifestyle disease. What I mean by this is that your blood pressure is affected by your lifestyle choices, including what you eat and your level of physical activity. From a nutritional perspective, there are some excellent foods to lower blood pressure.
Top 5 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
Garlic is typically known for its ability to lower cholesterol and fight infections, but the regular consumption of garlic can also lead to lower blood pressure.
The sulfur-containing allium chemicals in the garlic, which give the vegetable its distinct aroma, exert its effects directly upon the inside of the arteries. Garlic compounds decrease inflammation, reduce blood clotting, and improve the function of the inner lining of the arteries.
This all leads to improved blood flow through the arteries and a decrease in blood pressure. I recommend that you eat one to two cloves of cooked garlic per day.
Oatmeal is another one amongst foods to lower blood pressure. Oats are a complex carbohydrate and their consumption keeps your blood sugar balanced.
Eating oats also keeps levels of insulin lower after a meal, which decreases the inflammatory response, cholesterol, and the triglyceride formation and blood clotting tendency. This is how oatmeal can lower blood pressure in your arteries!
It also affects the inner linings of your arteries and allows more blood to flow. I recommend consuming half a cup of dry oats every morning!
3. Oily Fish
Fish that are caught in very cold water—including salmon, mackerel, sardines and tuna—are high in omega-3 fats, which can lower blood pressure in much the same manner in which garlic and oatmeal do.
The omega-3 fats can also directly affect the inner lining of the arteries, causing dilation of the arteries and improved blood flow.
Regularly consuming oily fish can keep your arteries relaxed and clear of plaques so your blood pressure remains lower. The intake of fatty fish should be at least two–three servings per week.
4. Whole Grains and Legumes
Whole Grains and Legumes are also known to be amongst foods to lower blood pressure. The consumption of whole grain foods, beans, and peas has been linked to lower rates of hypertension for a good reason.
These foods contain high amounts of magnesium, which can cause relaxation of the smooth muscle lining of the arteries. This relaxation lowers blood pressure within the arteries. In addition, whole grains and legumes can lower your blood pressure in a similar manner to oatmeal.
The soluble fiber content of whole grains and legumes keeps insulin levels lower in much the same way as oatmeal does. I recommend eating one to two servings of whole grains or legumes per day.
5. Nuts, Seeds, and Olive Oil
These foods contain healthy fats from the omega-9 family. The intake of these types of fats has also been associated with lower rates of hypertension, because the omega-9 fats can also affect the artery walls.
These foods contain chemicals that can decrease inflammation, reduce free radical formation, and cause relaxation to the arteries. The omega-9 fat content can also decrease cholesterol and inflammation.
I recommend that you consume one to two servings of nuts or one tablespoon of olive oil daily.
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Keenan, J.M., et al., “Oat ingestion reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with mild or borderline hypertension: a pilot trial,” J Fam Pract. April 2002; 51(4): 369.
Volpe, S.L., “Magnesium in disease prevention and overall health,” Adv Nutr. May 2013; 4(3): 378S-83S.
Moreno-Luna, R., et al., “Olive oil polyphenols decrease blood pressure and improve endothelial function in young women with mild hypertension,” Am J Hypertens. December 2012; 25(12):1299-304.?