Two out of three Americans over age 60 have hypertension (BP ≥ 140/90), which puts them at risk for health problems like heart disease or stroke. Always check with your doctor first, then try these foods to naturally reduce blood pressure.
Don’t just eat ’em, drink ’em too. When people with high blood pressure drank 8 ounces of beet juice, their blood pressure dipped an average of 10 points for up to 24 hours afterwards, notes a study published in Hypertension. While this study was relatively small (and beet’s long-term effects on blood pressure weren’t studied), research suggests that eating nitrate-rich foods like beets and green leafy vegetables could help people with hypertension by widening blood vessels and aiding blood flow.
Besides sipping beet juice, slice and roast beets to top a salad with goat cheese.
Research in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition now suggests walnuts, long touted as healthy, may lower blood pressure. When adults ate about ½ cup of walnuts daily for four months, they had better blood flow, lower blood pressure and smaller waists. Plus, they didn’t gain weight even though they added over 350 calories of walnuts daily. Walnuts deliver healthy fats, magnesium and fiber, which may be the reason they’re good for BP.
They’re yummy solo or try subbing walnuts for pine nuts in pesto.
Eating 3 tablespoons of these nutty seeds daily for 6 months helped people with hypertension lower their blood pressure by an average of 10 percent, says a study published in the journal Hypertension. People who didn’t eat flaxseed saw no change or even a slight increase. Researchers believe the anti-inflammatory effect of the omega-3 fats in combination with lignans (a phytoestrogen) and fiber may be the reason flax is good for blood pressure.
Sprinkle ground flaxseeds into your yogurt, smoothie or homemade granola.
Vegetarians had lower blood pressure compared to omnivores by an average of 7 points systolic (the top number) and 5 points diastolic in a JAMA Internal Medicine review.
Put a ring on it!
Married couples experienced lower dips in blood pressure readings overnight than single people, according to a new study in the Journal of Hypertension. Researchers chalk the drop up to better social support or the tendency for married couples to have better overall health.
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