Blood pressure is a critical metabolic parameter; out of the normal range (about 70-80 mmHg of minimum on 110-120 mmHg of maximum) can. In fact, it compromises the state of health. High blood pressure increases the chances of disabling or fatal cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events. If we exclude serious genetic factors, we find that diet, body composition, physical activity level, and emotional state are the most important variables in regulating blood pressure. This article will analyze the different foods that lower blood pressure, although with different mechanisms, tend to reduce or normalize blood pressure.
What are the pressure reduction mechanisms?
Food can facilitate the reduction of blood pressure through several mechanisms:
- Direct intervention on blood pressure regulation
- Low sodium (predisposing factor for primary sodium-sensitive hypertension)
- High in potassium, magnesium, and calcium (which counteract the levels of sodium in the blood, favoring the normalization of high blood pressure)
- Without stimulant molecules (which tend to increase pressure)
- Promote weight loss
- Free of saturated and hydrogenated fatty acids, and rich in fiber *
What is high blood pressure or hypertension
56% of the Italian population and one in five in their twenties suffer from hypertension or high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the force, the push, exerted by the blood in the systemic circulation’s arteries. This pressure has maximum and minimum parameters to ensure that everything works correctly. The minimum at rest ranges from 60 to 90 mmHg of diastolic pressure (when the heart relaxes). And the maximum from 100 to 140 mmHg of the systolic pressure (when the heart contracts).
When the pressure rises above 140 mmHg, we are in a situation of arterial hypertension even if. In any case, 90-95% of these cases are present as a form of primary hypertension without obvious medical causes. So why pay attention to hypertension? Because this condition is a risk factor for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and aneurysms.
Power for high blood pressure
Changes in diet and lifestyle, such as reducing excess pounds, increasing physical activity, and abstention from smoking, bring excellent benefits to health and blood pressure control.
The first food advice given is to reduce the sodium content in our dishes or limit the salt. This not only means avoiding frozen ready meals but also being careful in the kitchen when preparing food. To flavor and improve our dishes simultaneously, we can use wholemeal swings rich in many other minerals and the wonderful aromatic herbs: rosemary, sage, mint, oregano, lemon balm, thyme, savory, bay leaf, tarragon, chives. .. and why not have fun learning how to use the infinite spices of the world! Cold cuts and sausages, including fish ones, must be strictly avoided, as they are very salty and seasoned “meats,” therefore even more concentrated or also rich in animal fats.
Scientific studies have highlighted their activity against both systolic and diastolic pressure. Last warning: cheeses, especially aged cheeses, first of all, taleggio and parmesan, with a salt content of more than 700 mm in 100 grams of the product. Such as steaming or grilling, careful not to blacken the food given the burned parts’ production of carcinogenic substances.
Natural remedies for hypertension
There is good news for those with high blood pressure, and that is that they can eat dark chocolate! Without exaggerated binges, we find flavonoids in dark chocolate, keeping blood vessels stretched and, consequently, foods that lower blood pressure. Flavonoids are also found in colorful fruits and vegetables.
Finally, a good tip is to increase the consumption of foods containing potassium, capable of keeping the cardiovascular system healthy. The foods richest in potassium are parsley, basil, tomatoes, red radicchio, garlic, chard, broccoli, artichokes, cabbage, mushrooms, potatoes, spinach, fresh beans, chickpeas, lentils, rocket, bananas, apricots, plums, peaches, grapes: cherries, figs, melon, kiwi, and dried fruit.
Together with potassium, magnesium, and calcium are useful, capable of reducing and controlling blood pressure. Recent studies highlight the presence of trans fats, present in margarine, and partially or totally hydrogenated fats and oils; to control the intake of these substances, it is necessary to learn to read the labels of commercial products well, thus being able to consciously make critical and healthy choices when doing our daily shopping. Conclusion: yes, to a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, whole or semi-whole grains, oilseeds, and legumes of all varieties and types.
Foods that affect the regulation of pressure
There are food products that, although in different ways, act directly on the pressure regulation mechanisms.
The most famous are the essential polyunsaturated fatty acids of the omega 3 group; the essential one is alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), but its derivatives eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) have greater metabolic efficacy.
ALA is abundant in the germ of some starchy seeds and certain oilseeds ( chia, perilla, kiwi, etc.); the oils obtained from it are very concentrated. EPA and DHA are found in considerable quantities in fish from cold seas ( cod, salmon, etc.), bluefish ( sardines, mackerel, bonito, etc.), algae, krill, and the liver of the fish already mentioned.
The most famous are garlic and onion, which – thanks to their ability to induce vasodilation – are now considered an integral part of food therapy against hypertension.
Increasing renal filtration favors the excretion of water but also mineral salts. For those who make excessive use of table salt, this mechanism is handy. It promotes sodium excretion (which we know is a predisposing factor for primary sodium-sensitive hypertension).
Water, drinks, and foods with high water content are diuretic. Besides being rich in water, the products contain nutritional factors that promote renal filtration have a strong diuretic function. These mainly plant origin foods such as pineapple, cucumber, artichoke, onion, fennel, apple, and dandelion.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure: Low sodium foods
Excess sodium, we repeat once again, is a predisposing factor for sodium-sensitive primary arterial hypertension. This is why table salt, which contains a very high sodium percentage, is a bad ally for the vascular system’s health.
More than specific foods, the low sodium foods category concerns their conservation, cooking, and consumption method. On the contrary, unsalted foods in brine are rich in it and, more generally, in cans (also in oil and vinegar ).
Taking a practical example, tuna consumption should preferably focus on the fresh or frozen slice, rather than on the canned one. Or, among the dairy products, it is advisable to prefer yogurt, ricotta, and soft cheeses instead of mature ones. Still, in meat, it is advisable to avoid cold cuts by increasing the fresh ones such as steaks instead.
Furthermore, it is good to avoid adding table salt during cooking or directly on the plate, eliminating the so-called discretionary salt.
Foods high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium
Like sodium, potassium, magnesium, and calcium are also positively charged and are called cations by increasing their consumption (within the limits of reasonableness), even if they occupy different body spaces. They favor the renal excretion of sodium to the advantage of pressure. In particular, the increase in potassium is related to a positive modulation of the arterial. Pressure balance to make it a real remedy for hypertension (as long as the kidneys are perfectly healthy).
The foods richest in magnesium and potassium are fresh vegetables and fruits ( tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, watermelons, courgettes, squash, lettuce, radicchio, melon, peaches, apricots, etc.), legumes ( beans, chickpeas, lentils, broad beans, etc.), whole grains ( wheat, spelled, barley, etc.) and other starchy seeds (pseudocereals such as quinoa, amaranth, etc.).
The foods rich in calcium are fresh milk and derivatives (better lean and unsalted); marginally, you can also increase your intake of oil seeds such as walnuts, almonds, or fortified products (such as soy milk with added calcium).
Foods without stimulant molecules
They are not part of any fundamental food group, which means they are not essential to the diet. They can be totally excluded from the diet without running the risk of nutritional deficiencies, but many people, due to the habit, cannot do without them.
We are talking about drinks rich in nerves such as coffee, tea, cocoa, ginseng, guarana, type cola, energy drink, etc.; the same goes for chocolate. Since stimulants exert a counter-productive effect on blood pressure, it is advisable to choose decaffeinated coffee, tea, decaffeinated tea, cola without caffeine, etc.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure: promote weight loss
It is an absolutely generic definition, which includes all the typical foods of a diet calibrated for weight loss:
- Low caloric density, therefore low in energy.
- Low in lipid content or, if beneficial (such as oilseeds), inadequate portions
- Rich in fiber.
Note: It is also essential to calculate the right portions and consume them with an adequate frequency.
Foods without saturated and hydrogenated fats and rich in fiber
The correlation between saturated and/or hydrogenated fatty acids, fiber, and hypertension is, for the moment, only of a statistical type. There is no biochemical explanation, and it is assumed that the reason for this link is multifactorial. In fact, foods rich in saturated fatty acids are mostly high-calorie ( obesity is the main cause of hypertension) and large sodium sources (a mineral that is harmful to blood pressure). On the contrary, those rich in fiber are less energetic, have lower glycemic load and index, and abound in useful mineral salts such as magnesium.
Therefore, it is necessary to avoid junk foods such as packaged snacks and fast food and sausages and fatty cheeses by favoring fresh, unprocessed, or minimally processed foods.
Foods That Lower Blood Pressure
A healthy and correct diet to lower and keep blood pressure values under control must not only be based on the foods to be avoided.
Garlic and its vasodilatory effect
One of the foods with evident therapeutic properties that purifies the blood is an excellent antibacterial and antifungal. In the case of hypertension, it acts as a vasodilator for the capillaries and arteries. Taking one or two cloves a day of medium or large size is a real panacea.
Onion, daily food
Similar effects to garlic, onion is a food whose daily intake is practically a must as it favors the dilation of blood vessels with consequent good circulation. If eaten raw in salads, add a little balsamic vinegar of Modena to strengthen the dilating effect.
Extra virgin olive oil, the healthy condiment
Note all the vasodilating properties of extra virgin olive oil. Thanks to the presence of antioxidants such as vitamin E. It is advisable to take it in a dose of 3. 4 tablespoons per day, to be consumed at raw to dress salads and vegetables.
Brussels sprouts, a benefit of nature
This vegetable’s properties are very many for health in general and, consequently, blood pressure. They are great antioxidants and take care of arterial health.
Beet. the pleasure of red
In addition to its diuretic properties, it is also extremely rich in antioxidants such as betaine.
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Hemp seeds and Omega 3
The high content of omega 3 allows hemp seeds to act as an anti-inflammatory and prevent cardiovascular disease. Their function is also to avoid the thickening of the arterial walls.
The artichoke and its properties
The richness of potassium associated with diuretic properties favors. The elimination of liquids from the body and, consequently, lowers blood pressure. Liver function is also among the benefits of the artichoke. The diet should include the consumption of two or three artichokes for as many meals.
Coconut water and hydration
Its cardioprotective effect and its richness in potassium and magnesium guarantee a cardioprotective effect. Its chemical composition closely resembles blood plasma and is excellent for correcting the body’s hydration. Drinking a glass a day is a healthy and correct habit.
Tomato and cholesterol
It is one of the healthiest foods that can be consumed. It contains lycopene, a substance that prevents the oxidation of LDL cholesterol, and is a panacea in the antihypertensive diet. The best way to reap the benefits of tomatoes is to eat them raw. Perfect in a salad dressed with extra virgin olive oil or smoothies. Ideal a daily consumption of at least one or two tomatoes.
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Cucumber and antioxidants
Being mainly composed of water, it is an extremely hydrating vegetable. It helps regulate the urinary system as a diuretic and diabetes and promotes weight loss. Its high content of mineral substances contributes to the better functioning of the organism. Consume it raw and in salads, alone or with other vegetables, at least for 5, 6 meals a week.