High blood pressure can come from a variety of issues. From unhealthy lifestyle choices to simple old genetics, there are many reasons why you may be dealing with hypertension. However, there are also plenty of things you can do to get your body back on the path to healthier blood pressure, and that includes changing your diet. Although some things like fried and salty foods should be avoided, there are also foods that you can add to your diet in order to eradicate the problem.
To find out some of the best foods you can eat regularly to lower your blood pressure, we spoke to health experts Lisa Richards, nutritionist and creator of The Candida Diet, and Laura Ali, registered dietitian. They told us that flax seeds, walnuts and yogurt are three healthy options to go for this fall!
Adding more fiber to your diet is a great way to help lower your blood pressure, and Richards says flax seeds are a fantastic source of this nutrient. “Flax seeds are high in fiber, which helps improve gut health, flush toxins from the body, and lower cholesterol. Each of these fiber benefits are said to help lower blood pressure as a side effect” , she explains. In order to get the most benefit from this seed, however, she says you need to be sure to eat ground flaxseeds: “Flaxseeds are best absorbed by the body when ground, as the enzymes are unable to to adequately break the outer envelope.” I understood! Luckily, flaxseeds can easily fit into a number of recipes, including smoothies, oatmeal, and “even some desserts.” Yum! Count on us!
There are so many benefits to snacking on healthy nuts like walnuts, and Ali tells us that lowering blood pressure is just one of the benefits at hand. “Walnuts are high in omega-3 fatty acids, fiber and an antioxidant called ellagic acid, all of which may help reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke,” she notes. In fact, she points out that a study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association “found that replacing nuts with foods high in saturated fat helped lower blood pressure over a 6-week period.” Pleasant! This means replacing your processed snacks with a handful of nuts can do wonders for your overall health. Plus, you can easily mix nuts into a range of meals that you eat regularly. “Mix ¼ cup of chopped nuts into your morning oatmeal, toss them into a salad, or toss them into a chicken salad or over vegetable pasta,” Ali suggests.
Are you eating enough calcium? If not, Ali says you might want to increase your intake, and not just for the sake of your bones, but also for the health of your heart. “Calcium triggers our heart muscle to contract, pumping blood through our body,” she explains. Yogurt is a great source of tasty calcium. “Research has shown that people who eat 5 or more servings of yogurt per week have a significantly reduced risk of high blood pressure than those who eat it less than once per month,” Ali shares. Wow! Fortunately, she points out that yogurt is an incredibly versatile food, so you should have no trouble fitting it into your diet. Turns out it’s good for more than parfaits! “Try adding plain or fruit flavored yogurt to a smoothie or add lemon juice to it for a fruit dip or herbs to make a creamy dressing. Use plain yogurt in place of sour cream or buttermilk in recipes. Use it to make a cream sauce or replace it with buttermilk or sour cream in baking,” she lists. We’re trying all of this ASAP!
Of course, lowering your blood pressure is ultimately a focused effort. You should always prioritize an overall healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly, reducing stress, and incorporating other good habits into your routine. But diet can play a major role in this process, and eating these foods regularly is definitely a good idea!