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Fitness, Nutrition

Links Between Nutrition And Hypertension

If you’ve ever received the bad news that your blood pressure is too high, a suggestion of medication and/or a change in diet usually follows. You might not be able to control hypertension enough through nutrition, but in most cases, making changes can create a significant difference. Always discuss the problem with your doctor and if you’re on medication, don’t switch your diet without discussing it also. Don’t stop taking blood pressure medication unless your healthcare professional tells you to do so. With that said, there’s a movement toward using food as medicine. There are links between what you eat and your blood pressure.

Food higher in potassium and magnesium can help lower blood pressure.

Bananas have often been called nature’s beta blocker because of the potassium they contain. It offsets the sodium in the body and releases the tension on the vessel walls. Other foods higher in sodium include Swiss chard, beans, apricots, and lentils. Bananas are also higher in magnesium, just as green leafy vegetables, whole grains, and yogurt. Magnesium prevents calcium from moving into the arteries and heart. Calcium causes the blood vessels to constrict, while magnesium helps the arteries to relax and lowers blood pressure.

Nitric oxide can help relax blood vessels.

Whether you eat beets or drink juice, it can help lower blood pressure. It’s the nitrates in the beets that provide the benefits. The body converts them to nitric acid. It makes arteries more flexible and relaxes them, making them wide, which lowers blood pressure. In 2015, a study showed that a group that drank a cup of beet juice daily for 4 weeks had reduced their blood pressure by an average of 7.7 mm HG systolic and 5.2 mm HG diastolic.

Omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation.

Beets also contain beta lain. It reduces inflammation. Inflammation is linked to high blood pressure. Food with omega-3 fatty acids is also anti-inflammatory. They include salmon, tuna, and other fatty fish. They also include plant sources like flaxseed, walnuts, and soybean. Omega-3 fatty acids decrease the levels of oxylipins. These cause blood vessels to constrict, increasing blood pressure.

Switching from a sugary treat to berries for dessert helps your body in two ways. Food with added sugar causes inflammation that can increase blood pressure. Blueberries, strawberries, and others that contain the antioxidant anthocyanin help lower blood pressure.

The amino acid citrulline in watermelon can help lower blood pressure. The body makes several changes to the citrulline, creating nitric oxide to increase artery flexibility and relaxation.

You’ll get beta-glucan, a type of fiber, from eating oats. It helps reduce a marker of oxidative stress that occurs in hypertension. Combine bananas with Greek yogurt, add fruit, nuts, and toasted oats for a heart-healthy dessert.

Good nutrition provides all the nutrients you need to maintain good circulatory health, helps you lose weight, and prevents weight gain. Losing as little as five to ten pounds can have a beneficial effect on blood pressure.