Adding berries like blueberry, raspberry, and strawberries to your diet may benefit your heart health and blood pressure control. This is because berries, especially blueberries, have a high content of natural compounds called flavonoids.
Human and rodent studies demonstrated that certain flavonoids are able to reduce blood pressure by either inhibiting the constriction of blood vessels or promoting the dilation of blood vessels.
Pumpkin seeds can help regulate blood pressure thanks to their high magnesium content. One study demonstrated that taking pumpkin seed oil lowered systolic blood pressure in participants taking 3 g of pumpkin seed oil daily. Another study also revealed that pumpkin seed oil increased high-density cholesterol (good cholesterol) levels and reduced diastolic blood pressure in postmenopausal women.
AHA (American Heart Association) recommends eating approximately 30 g of pumpkin seeds daily.
Omega-3 fats are abundant in fatty fish. These fats are beneficial for heart health and may help lower blood pressure by reducing bodily levels of oxylipins (compounds that cause blood vessel constriction). In addition, omega-3 fats benefit heart health by reducing inflammation.
As clinical studies demonstrated, omega-3 fatty acids supplementation reduced both systolic blood pressure (BP) and diastolic BP in normotensive participants (with normal BP) as well as in participants with untreated hypertension (high blood pressure). Therefore higher intake of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fats can be linked with lower BP.
AHA (American Heart Association) recommends eating fatty fish at least twice a week to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Examples of oily fish include mackerel, anchovies, albacore tuna, sardines, salmon, herring, black cod, cobia, whitefish, and striped bass. However, you should be careful as some fish may contain mercury. Therefore, it is better to check the latest Food and Drug Administration guidelines and choose various types of fish to minimize the risk of mercury poisoning.
Black garlic is rich in antioxidants, which are responsible for its numerous health benefits. One of the advantages of taking black garlic and its supplements is improving heart health and controlling blood pressure. Studies revealed that black garlic consumption considerably lowered systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, people with low blood pressure should avoid taking black garlic and its supplements as it may cause a significant drop in blood pressure and pose a significant health risk.
Beets are rich in nitrates. For example, beetroot juice contains up to 11.4 g of nitrate per liter, while drinking water contains < 45 mg/L. One study demonstrated that drinking beetroot juice increased bodily bioactive nitrite levels, substantially reducing blood pressure and interfering with platelet aggregation (blood clot formation) in participants.
Cooked beets and raw beet juice are both effective in lowering blood pressure and reducing inflammation. Raw beet juice, however, was shown to have a greater effect.
Adding pistachios to your diet may reduce your risk of heart disease and help control blood pressure. The studies demonstrated that pistachios have a more substantial blood pressure effect than other nuts. Pistachio is effective in reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Therefore, 1 serving of pistachio daily may contribute to your heart health and blood pressure control.
Dark chocolate contains high levels of flavonoids, particularly flavanols, which have been linked to a decreased risk of heart disease. In addition, one study demonstrated that dark chocolate might reduce systolic and diastolic prehypertension.
The cocoa solids content in dark chocolate is a key factor in the measurement of beneficial dietary flavonoids. So, the higher the cocoa % in dark chocolate, the more flavonoids it contains and the more heart benefits it offers.
Citrus fruits, like oranges, grapefruits, or lemons, have potentially powerful blood pressure-reducing effects. The main reason for such a beneficial health impact is the high flavonoid content. One study revealed that daily intake of citrus juice considerably reduced blood pressure in 22 participants. However, you should talk to your healthcare provider before adding grapefruit or its juice to your diet, as it can affect the effectiveness of common medications prescribed to lower blood pressure.
Adding plain, low-fat yogurt will benefit your heart health because yogurt is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium, in turn, is essential for keeping healthy blood pressure levels, as it enables the blood vessels to contract and relax in the proper manner. There is a study that demonstrated that long-term yogurt intake is associated with decreased high blood pressure incidence and its risk. Therefore, the AHA recommends eating 2-3 yogurt servings daily to maintain heart health.
Spinach is rich in magnesium, which is beneficial for maintaining normal blood pressure. In addition, one study revealed that daily intake of spinach as a source of inorganic nitrate reduced central systolic blood pressure following 7 days of intake. Therefore, including spinach in your diet may also help control your blood pressure.