High blood pressure has reached epidemic proportions. More than 100 million Americans are living with hypertension and many are unaware they have it. High blood pressure is a sneaky condition. It often has no symptoms, but quietly damages your body. If you have hypertension, getting your blood pressure under control plays a vital role in protecting your heart and preventing complications like heart attack and stroke.
In many instances, the cause of high blood pressure is unidentified. However, what is known is that the foods you eat can have an influence on your blood pressure. We’ve outlined foods to include and foods to avoid when creating a heart-healthy meal plan.
Heart-healthy foods that can lower blood pressure
Berries contain rich amounts of anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that give red, purple and blue plants their rich color. Anthocyanins have demonstrated the ability to protect against various chronic diseases. These compounds belong to a class of nutrients called flavonoids.
If you have high blood pressure, there’s good reason to add berries to your diet. Eating plenty of berries is shown to have positive effects on blood pressure. Berry consumption also reduces the risk of hypertension in otherwise healthy adults.
Beetroot is an unassuming root vegetable. Not only is it rich in nutrients, beetroot can help lower your blood pressure. In research studies, regularly drinking beet juice has positive effects in as little as 24 hours.
Drinking beet juice has a positive influence on long-term blood pressure control as well. Enjoying 8 ounces of beet juice daily for four weeks significantly lowers blood pressure, reports a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
Making oats a part of your meal plan can help control blood pressure. Oats contain beta-glucan, a unique fiber that has a positive influence on heart health. Most Americans fail to get the recommended amount of fiber each day. If you’re like most Americans, you could use more fiber.
Eating whole-grain oats daily can have such a dramatic impact on blood pressure that over 70% participants in a clinical study were able to reduce or eliminate their need for blood pressure medication.
Leafy green vegetables are known for their nutrient density. Spinach, collards, kale, and other leafy greens are rich in a wide variety of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients that help your body function optimally.
Leafy greens contain an abundance of potassium, a mineral that helps balance sodium. Foods rich in potassium can help control blood pressure. Fresh or frozen greens are excellent options when adopting a heart-healthy diet.
Foods to watch out for
Foods that are high in fat and sodium can wreak havoc on your blood pressure. Sticking with fresh or frozen whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and low-fat dairy is the best way to cut back on foods that negatively impact your blood pressure.
Cooking more of your meals at home gives you control over the ingredients and the amount of salt in your food. Processed and packaged foods are often loaded with salt, calories and fat.
Excess sodium can lurk in canned soups, salad dressings, condiments, and even foods you don’t think of as salty, such as bread and baked goods. When you do choose foods in a package, it’s best to look for options labeled ‘low sodium’ or ‘reduced sodium.’ Doing this, coupled with eating foods that have a positive influence on blood pressure, can help keep your blood pressure in check and reduce your risk of heart disease.
Hypertension can be the result of various conditions such as obstructive sleep apnea, anxiety, kidney disease and arterial blockage. See us to discuss the proper evaluation and management for difficult to manage hypertension which may include laboratory studies, sleep apnea evaluation, renal artery imaging and kidney disease assessment. These and more can be done at Carley Family Care. Obesity can contribute to hypertension. We can help. The medical spa at Carley Family Care can provide intensive weight loss management service. Call or Text Dr Carley's assistant Crystal at (704) 974-0298 for a consultation. Dr. Jeffrey Carley and Dr. Katay Bouttamy of Carley Family Care provide the highest quality of care for patients of all ages throughout the Kings Mountain, North Carolina and surrounding areas. For all of your family medicine needs, call our office to schedule an appointment with one of our providers or book your appointment online.