Mental Health

Self Improvement

Mandy Kloppers

The best foods to control blood pressure

There are lots of things you will need to change about your life if you have recently found out that you have high blood pressure. These changes aren’t necessarily difficult, and they shouldn’t have a negative impact on the way you live today. You will simply need to adjust as necessary, and be sure to monitor your blood pressure as advised by your doctor. 


If you’re new to blood pressure monitoring from home, you can learn more about how to do it in this guide to blood pressure cuffs. Otherwise, let’s jump straight into one of the biggest changes you will need to make to help manage your blood pressure going forward: your diet. 


First off, your doctor will advise you on the foods you should limit, or avoid altogether if you have high blood pressure. These are mainly high sodium foods, like processed foods, canned soups, deli meats, microwave “ready meals”, and snacks like chips and salted nuts. 


Additionally, there are a number of blood pressure-friendly foods that you should focus on including in your diet that will make it easier to keep your blood pressure within a healthy range. These include:


1. Pistachios

Pistachios are packed full of heart-healthy fats, and, when eaten in moderation, are incredibly good for you. Eat them on their own as a tasty snack, add them to your salads, or bake them into healthy granola bars. Remember to buy unsalted pistachios, as salted nuts are a big no-no for people looking to manage their blood pressure. 


2. Spinach

Spinach isn’t considered a superfood for nothing: just a small amount of this leafy green vegetable packs a mighty punch. Spinach helps the body to flush out excess sodium, while also providing a large portion of the folic acid and potassium we need for a heart-healthy life. Eat spinach raw to get the biggest nutritional value. 


3. Yogurt

Yogurt, and pretty much anything high in calcium, is ideal for a high blood pressure diet. Starting your day with a bowl of natural, no sugar-added yogurt will help to keep your blood vessels working at their optimum. Pair with blueberries, which contain a pigment called anthocyanin that helps keep arteries wide and prevents blockages, and you’ve got yourself a blood pressure-friendly breakfast treat. 


4. Apples

We’ve all heard the phrase “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, and it turns out there’s actually a lot of truth to it. Apples are packed full of antioxidants, which help the blood vessels to expand and contract in response to blood flow. So next time you feel the urge to reach for an unhealthy snack, opt for an apple instead. 


5. Olive oil

There’s been lots of debate over the years about whether oils are actually good for us, and that’s because some of them aren’t – but olive oil definitely is. Try swapping butter for extra virgin olive oil as a spread and a roasting agent to benefit from its polyphenols, which help blood vessels maintain their flexibility and help lower high blood pressure.

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

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