High blood pressure is something that can creep up on you. Whether your genes leave you predisposed to it or you lifestyle is likely to bring it on, few things are as dangerous in the long run as pumping too much blood through your body. High blood pressure can quietly damage your body for years without you even knowing it, leading to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Medication can help control high blood pressure but lifestyle changes can certainly play a big role as well. Add these 8 foods to your diet to help keep your blood pressure under control:
1. White Beans
The three key nutrients in food that help lower blood pressure are calcium, magnesium and potassium and white beans are rich in all three with 13%, 30%, and 24% of your recommended daily intake in a single cup. Adding these nutritional dynamos to your chili recipe will leave your heart smiling.
Potatoes are also rich in potassium and magnesium, but it is easy to slather them in butter and salt. Keep your baked potatoes working for you by topping them with yogurt or salsa instead of sour cream.
Few foods can have such a dramatic effect on blood pressure as beets. Researchers at Queen Mary University of London have found that the level of nitrates found in beets can lower blood pressure noticeably in as little as 24 hours. Beet root juice is an especially effective way to get the benefits quickly and easily.
Oatmeal can be just what the doctor ordered to lower blood pressure. Low in sodium and fat but high in fiber, oatmeal is a great way to start the day. Liven it up with some berries (also a heart-healthy food) or some honey and you’ll be on your way to better health.
Few foods are as widely regarded as bananas for the potassium punch that they pack. A single medium sized banana can provide you with 12% of the potassium you need for the day. Blend a banana up with some fat-free yogurt and berries to create a delicious and nutritious smoothie.
6. Fat-Free Yogurt
If you’re the kind of person who likes to get all their calcium in one go (something we all stress about daily) yogurt is your new best friend. A single cup of fat-free plain yogurt contains 49% of your daily calcium combined with 12% of your needed magnesium and 18% of your potassium requirements. As previously mentioned, it also goes great with baked potatoes or as a marinade for curry.
Few foods are as worthy of a total rethink as broccoli. The bane of every childhood is a critical part of a healthy adult life. With 6% of your daily calcium, 8% of you magnesium, and 14% of the potassium you need each day, one cup of broccoli can go a long way to promoting better health.
Finally, sweet potatoes are a great addition to any diet regimen that aims to lower blood pressure. You might not think of yams ahead of bananas when considering sources of potassium, but a single medium sized yam (with the skin) contains 15% of your daily recommended intake. The great thing about yams is they can sub in for regular potatoes in basically any dish you can think of, bring added nutrients and flavor.