Whether you dealing with high blood pressure also known as hypertension or taking preventative measures; choosing heart-healthy nutritious foods is always a smart move. Research has found that choosing plant-based foods helps to lower blood pressure as well as lower risk for hypertension. This post covers ten plant-based foods that have been shown to be beneficial in helping to lower blood pressure.
10 Plant-Based Foods to Help Lower Lower Pressure
A 2019 study found that a cup of blueberries a day may help lower blood pressure. In a study of 40 males in London, researchers found that consuming a cup of blueberry juice or 200 grams of whole blueberries each day improved blood vessel function and decreased systolic blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium and fiber help manage high blood pressure and reduce one’s risk for heart disease and stroke. Bananas are a great source as they are high in both potassium and fiber Potassium helps the body move sodium out of the body through waste. *note if you have a kidney disorder, potassium may not be a good option for you, check with your doctor.
Oats contain a specific fiber, beta-glucan. According to research, it is suggested that foods high in beta-glucan help to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Try eating a bowl of oatmeal for breakfast or get creative and have oats any time of day with my oatmeal tortillas.
4. Spicy Foods
In one study, they found participants who opted for spicy foods, consumed less salt. Whether spicy foods make us more sensitive to the amount of salt we have or simply curb salt cravings, it’s showing to help people lower blood pressure. Salt contains sodium, lowering sodium consumption intake, in turn, helps to reduce high blood pressure. Remember to check food nutritional labels if you are monitoring your sodium intake as it can be an added ingredient you don’t expect in some foods.
Onions have been found to be a great source of quercetin. Research has suggested that the quercetin in raw onions helps lower blood pressure in overweight to obese patients with hypertension. Raw or lightly cooked onions are your best options as when onions are cooked at higher temperatures, nutritional properties can be diminished.
6. Leafy Greens (Including Spinach, Kale and Swiss Chard)
Leafy greens are packed full of minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals all of which work together in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Leafy greens are also rich in nitrates which can help to relax blood vessels.
Watermelon is a favorite during summertime fun, but researchers have found that watermelon may also support lowering blood pressure. Watermelon contains an amino acid called L-citrulline which has been shown to help lower blood pressure. Watermelon is also a source of fiber, lycopene, vitamin A and potassium; all of which support lowering blood pressure! All of which makes watermelon a great nutritional treat any day of the year!
8. Dark Chocolate, Cocoa, or Cacao
Dark chocolate continues to be a favorite sweet treat among health enthusiasts. It gets its attention for its heart-healthy flavanol antioxidants. Flavanols help to open up blood vessels and allow blood to flow more easily. Opt for Cocoa, cacao, and dark chocolate that is without added sugars or ingredients. Try adding a spoonful to your oatmeal or a hot cup of water.
9. Sunflower Seeds (unsalted)
Sunflower seeds are an excellent source of magnesium as well as vitamin E and selenium. A magnesium deficiency can contribute to higher blood pressure levels, as well as muscle spasms and fatigue.
10. Legumes (including beans, chickpeas and lentils)
Legumes are an overlooked powerhouse of nutrition. Legumes contain an array of essential nutrients from minerals, protein, fiber, and vitamins. Legumes are low in sodium and a great source of magnesium, potassium, and fiber; all of which help support lowering blood pressure levels.
*Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor on what’s best for you. Never substitute information found on this site for medical advice or guidance from a qualified doctor.
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.