Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a major risk factor for both heart attacks and strokes. According to the American Heart Association, almost 75 million people have hypertension. Many factors contribute to high blood pressure, including genetics, stress, a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet.
Many people use prescribed medicines to lower their blood pressure. But you can do the same thing naturally by simply eating the right foods. A healthy diet is one of the most powerful ways to lower blood pressure. Many superfoods can reduce your blood pressure in as little as two weeks. Also, these superfoods can lower blood cholesterol, improve your sleep and reduce headaches.
Here are the top 10 superfoods to lower high blood pressure.
Sprouts contain an antioxidant called glucoraphanin that has the ability to lower blood pressure and reduce the inflammation in the heart, arteries and kidneys. The effects of this antioxidant can also reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack. Be sure to eat fresh sprouts as they have the highest concentration of proteins, minerals, enzymes, antioxidants, anticarcinogens, vitamins and minerals.
Spinach is a folate-rich food that can lower your risk of hypertension. This leafy green vegetable also provides a completely absorbable, balanced protein along with antioxidants that help lower blood pressure. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that those who consumed at least 1,000 micrograms of spinach folate a day had a lower risk of hypertension compared with those who consumed 200 micrograms a day. Other good sources of folate-rich foods include legumes and asparagus.
This crunchy green vegetable has a compound called 3-n-butyl phthalide that relaxes the smooth muscle lining in blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. Celery is also a good source of vitamins and minerals, including vitamin C, potassium, calcium and magnesium that help reduce blood pressure. According to a study reported in The New York Times, people who ate four ribs of celery a day lowered their blood pressure by 12 to 14 percent compared with those who did not eat celery.
Garlic has anti-inflammatory and antiviral properties that can fight coronary heart disease by unplugging arteries. The gas that garlic produces in the stomach relaxes your arteries and lowers blood pressure. Eating one garlic clove a day can significantly reduce your blood pressure in as little as three months. You can also use garlic powder in preparing recipes or take a garlic supplement.
Bananas have a high content of potassium, which is known to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of stroke. Bananas are also low in sodium, which is important for people with high blood pressure to avoid. Just one banana a day can provide a dose of potassium, helping to reduce blood pressure and fend off various cardiovascular diseases. Along with bananas, you can also eat other fruits such as apples, plums, pears, pomegranate, and mangoes.
Tomatoes contain lycopene, an antioxidant that helps protect your cells from the damaging effects of free radicals. The lycopene and other carotenoids found in tomatoes help in reducing high blood pressure and lowering the risk of heart disease. Tomatoes also contain nutrients such as calcium, potassium, and vitamins A, C and E that are good for your overall health. A 2006 study published in the American Heart Journal found that regular consumption of 250mg of tomato extract for eight weeks can significantly lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure among those who have hypertension.