Hypertension (HTN), or high blood pressure, is a serious medical condition. And according to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control Prevention), 108 million adults in the US are currently diagnosed with HTN and taking medication for it.
Do you want to know what’s worse?
Only 1 out of 4 of these people have their hypertension under control. For some of them, they don’t even know that they have hypertension.
Why? Because hypertension can also be completely asymptomatic.
According to a 1996 study, 1 out of 4 patients “with diastolic blood pressure of 110mm Hg or greater were unaware of their hypertension, including 28% of those with severe asymptomatic hypertension.” That’s dangerous because, without symptoms, you may be unknowingly making your high blood pressure worse. You could live your life without considering that you need to take care of your blood pressure.
You won’t even know that things are already out of control. If you can’t control your hypertension, what happens then? It can lead to complications such as heart attack, heart disease, and even kidney failure.
This is why managing blood pressure isn’t just a concern of those who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. It should be a priority for anyone. Fortunately, there are tons of healthy and delicious foods you can eat. By sticking to a specific diet, you can properly lower your blood pressure and reduce the risk of complications that can damage your health.
So, what are the foods that you have to add to your diet to manage high blood pressure?
Citrus fruits, which include oranges, grapefruits, lemons, and limes, are a powerful food source that can help maintain a lower blood pressure. These foods are packed with essential plant compounds, minerals, and vitamins.
Particularly, citrus fruits can improve the strength of your heart over time. However, if you are taking high blood pressure medicine, drinking orange and grapefruit juice can produce negative effects on your health.
For this reason, you should consult with your physician before engaging in a major diet including citrus fruits.
Salmon isn’t only delicious, but it’s also an excellent source of omega-3 fats. These minerals have impactful heart benefits. Specifically, omega-3 fats can decrease constriction in your blood vessels and lessen heart inflammation.
Salmon isn’t the only fish to provide these benefits. You can dine on other fatty fish to receive the same benefits, such as sardines, cod, trout, tuna, and mackerel. All of these fish are popular supermarket items and can be prepared in dozens of different ways.
Many people don’t think to eat pumpkin seeds, but they’re a rich source of minerals that can help keep your blood pressure in control. Pumpkin seeds contain important nutrients, such as potassium and magnesium.
They also contain arginine. This amino acid can help your blood vessels relax and reduce your heart rate.
Beans and lentils contain potassium, magnesium, and fiber, which can all help maintain healthy blood pressure. By substituting unhealthy food items with more beans, you can take control of your blood pressure and keep it at a stable level.
Black beans are a popular option for those wanting to lower their blood pressure. If you are going to purchase them in a supermarket, remember to choose a product with a low sodium count.
Strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and the like can potentially lower your blood pressure when consumed. This is because berries contain antioxidants, which can increase the levels of nitric oxide in your blood.
Thus, the blood vessels in your heart will naturally become more relaxed over time. While more research will need to prove long-term positive effects, countless studies show that berries can have a great impact on lowering blood pressure.
Change your lifestyle
The best way to manage your high blood pressure is to change your lifestyle completely. If you plan to use a diet like the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension), that’s okay. It can help you.
But what happens after your hypertension gets better?
You can’t just stop the DASH diet.
You will have to incorporate that into your diet and life forever. You have to keep eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. You still have to avoid eating or drinking anything that’ll contribute to making your blood pressure skyrocket.
So, it is best to just change your lifestyle altogether.
Here are helpful tips you can follow.
Have a food diary
Make a habit of writing down what you eat. This may be tedious, but you need to know your eating patterns. It will make things easier to change your diet over time.
Do this for just a week. You might be surprised by what it’ll reveal to you. You might be able to understand what you should remove or keep eating.
When you do this, make sure you take note of the details. Write what you eat, how much, and when.
You can even include why you had to eat it. It will help you see if what you consumed happens regularly or it was a one-time thing.
Think about what you’ll buy
If you have to regulate what you eat to manage high blood pressure, be a smart shopper. Always read the labels of what you buy. Make sure it doesn’t have ingredients that are bad for you.
If you’re a smart shopper, it will be easier to get rid of the temptations. If you know that you shouldn’t eat something, don’t buy it.
For example, if you know that you should stay away from fried foods, then don’t buy anything that needs to be fried. Buy healthy oil for cooking. Not much. That way if you crave fried meals, you don’t have the ingredients. You’ll be forced to ignore the craving and eat something else.
It’s hard to transition into a healthier diet. Especially if you find yourself forced to give up your favorite food.
This is where an accountability partner can be a great help. This person can support you all throughout this change. You can find it in your spouse, partner, relative, or even a group of friends.
In fact, if people know about your hypertension, they will be more cautious of what they eat in front of you. And if you dine out with them, they can help monitor what you eat. That way, if you feel tempted to try something, they can remind you if it’s bad for you.
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If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important that you practice a healthy diet in conjunction with receiving regular medical treatment. To learn more about our treatment for high blood pressure, click here for more information.