It is important for hypertensive individuals to watch their blood pressure levels lest they develop complications such as heart disease or stroke. Apart from medications and regular exercise, they also need to watch what they eat. Eating smart doesn’t just mean omitting foods that are high in sodium—it means including foods in your diet that help control hypertension. Here are a few such foods…
Several studies demonstrate that adding oats to your diet significantly reduces both systolic as well as diastolic pressure. Oats contain soluble and insoluble fibre and are a rich source of selenium. Often, hypertensive people are also diabetic; having a bowl of oats with skimmed milk every day helps monitor blood sugar levels too.
Spinach is high in magnesium and according to research, magnesium has a considerable effect on lowering blood pressure. It acts by relaxing blood vessels, so the heart has to work less. This, in turn, reduces pressure on the walls of the vessels. Magnesium also helps cure calf muscle pain, which is a common complaint with those suffering from hypertension.
This king of nuts is heart-friendly. Almonds contain mono unsaturated fats [the good cholesterol] and hence, do not harm your heart. They have cholesterol-lowering properties and also reduce the amount of bad cholesterol [LDL]. In addition, these nuts contain high amounts of protein, fibre, calcium, magnesium and vitamin E. You could eat them plain or roasted; they also help in weight loss.
Soy contains high levels of good-quality protein and B vitamins. It also has considerable amount of trace elements. It can be taken as soybeans, soy milk or tofu. It also plays a major role in preventing cardiovascular disease.
As the Chinese say: It’s better to be deprived of food for three days, than to be deprived of tea for one. Especially, if the tea is green. What makes this tea better than the others is that it undergoes less oxidation during manufacturing. Green tea is useful in reducing the chances of blood vessel blockage due to cholesterol. It also has generous doses of anti-oxidants that arrest ageing.
Fish is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids. This is a form of fat that prevents your blood from clotting easily. Choose oily fish such as tuna, sardines, mackerel and salmon, as they have higher nutritional value. It’s best to eat fish in grilled or steamed form.
This refreshing drink specially prepared and packaged by nature for you is an elixir of life. Coconut water has zero cholesterol and minimum fats. It is also rich in minerals that lower blood pressure—potassium and magnesium. Remember, though, that foods rich in potassium aren’t good for you if you suffer from kidney troubles; consult your physician before having them.
Dark chocolate contain flavonols that dilate blood vessels, which reduces blood pressure. According to a recent study by the University of Adelaide, Australia, eating dark chocolate reduces blood pressure by 5mm. Dark chocolate also contains anti-oxidants and promotes heart health. But be careful not to over indulge; having about 2 – 3 pieces a day is fine.
They are packed with potassium and vitamin C. Excess salt or sodium worsens hypertension. Sodium causes water retention and bloating; potassium helps counter this effect. For maintaining normal body functions, it is important that your potassium consumption should exceed your consumption of sodium. To derive maximum benefit from oranges, eat the fruit whole.
Milk contains an essential protein called casein, which has proved its efficacy in protecting the heart. It is also rich in potassium, calcium and vitamins. As per DASH [Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension] recommendations, having three glasses of low-fat milk every day is highly beneficial.
Make it a point to include these foods in your diet. Also remember to avoid having a high sodium diet, and watch your weight. Then, hypertension won’t give you tension.
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