Keeping blood pressure under control with diet is possible: here are what foods to bring to the table
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Hypertension is a common problem, and is one of the main cardiovascular risk factors – is in fact related to a greater likelihood of developing diseases such as heart attack and stroke. A solution comes from nutrition: adopting a healthy and balanced diet prevents the onset of many diseases, including heart disease. Let's find out what are the foods that can help keep blood pressure under control.
Lemons, oranges, grapefruits: these fruits are rich in health benefits and have a strong protective action against the heart. The main culprits are substances such as polyphenols, ascorbic acid and citric acid – the latter present in large quantities especially in lemons.
Beware, however, of grapefruit, because its consumption could interfere with the intake of drugs to lower blood pressure. Before introducing it into your diet, do not hesitate to consult your doctor to find out more, especially if you are following any therapy.
Whole grains have been shown to be remarkably effective in reducing the risk of hypertension. A review conducted on 28 studies showed a correlation between their consumption and an 8% decrease in the risk of suffering from high blood pressure. Among the best whole grains, in this context, amaranth stands out.
The amaranth grains are particularly rich in magnesium – a portion of 250 grams it brings an amount corresponding to 38% of the daily requirement. This mineral has numerous health benefits and helps control blood pressure.
Celery is a very common vegetable on our tables, but not everyone knows that it is an excellent ally for heart health. In fact, it contains important compounds called phthalides, which act at different levels in protecting the cardiovascular system and reducing hypertension.
In fact, these substances, responsible for muscle relaxation that involves the muscles around the arteries, allowing them to expand and thereby decreasing blood pressure. Likewise, they appear to have effects on stress hormones, which in turn often cause vasoconstriction.
Rich in antioxidants and mineral salts essential for the proper functioning of our body, spinach brings numerous benefits. Among others, magnesium and potassium stand out: both are considered very important to keep blood pressure under control.
Some studies have also shown that nitrates, present in large quantities in this vegetable, decrease the stiffness of the arteries by making several improvements to enhance heart health.
Beets are also excellent sources of nitrates, which are responsible for relaxing blood vessels. Their benefits also extend to products based on this food, such as beet juice and beetroot soup.
Numerous studies have analyzed the effectiveness of beets in reducing pressure, and the results are currently mixed. It is therefore not possible to say with certainty that they are able to fight hypertension, but they undoubtedly have many other beneficial virtues, so it is worth introducing them into our diet.
The remarkable nutritional profile of pumpkin seeds makes them an excellent source of vitamins and minerals. They contain good amounts of arginine, an essential amino acid for the production of nitric oxide: the latter is linked to better vasodilation, which results in a reduction in blood pressure.
Even oil obtained from pumpkin seeds has important beneficial properties for the heart. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice has proved that its integration in the diet helps reduce the risk of developing hypertension.
Not only pumpkin seeds: even those of flax possess many therapeutic virtues, so much so that they are fully included among superfoods – that is, those foods that provide a large amount of nutrients even in small doses. Among the various properties, we remember their preventive effectiveness against heart diseases.
In addition to having demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing blood pressure both in hypertensive subjects and in patients on drug treatment, they are rich in omega-3 fatty acids (in particular alpha-linoleic acid), which reduce the risk of dangerous accumulations of cholesterol in the arteries .
Speaking of omega-3 fatty acids, we cannot help but mention salmon, a food very rich in these important substances. It is now known their role in reducing the inflammation of the body, a condition which, if cronicizzata, can also lead to several problems in the heart.
A study conducted on over 2,000 healthy people, the results of which were published in the Journal of Hypertension, showed that blood levels with a consistent presence of omega-3 fatty acids were related to lower blood pressure.
Carrots are also rich in compounds capable of fighting inflammation. In particular, they contain great amounts of phenols, such as chlorogenic acid and caffeic what, which help to decrease the rigidity of the vascular structures and to reduce blood pressure.
In particular, greater beneficial effects emerged with the consumption of raw carrots, rather than in the intake of cooked products. Alternatively, fresh carrot juice maintains their properties unaltered, as long as it is consumed immediately after its preparation.
Broccoli has many therapeutic virtues, and among their health effects we must mention those in favor of the circulatory system. Cruciferous vegetables in general are excellent sources of antioxidants such as flavonoids, which increase nitric oxide levels and improve blood vessel function.
Several researches have shown that frequent broccoli consumption is correlated with a lower risk of suffering from hypertension – the quantity can vary from at least a couple of servings per week, in order to see benefits.
Many legumes have properties that are important for heart health. Beans, for example, are rich in mineral salts such as magnesium and potassium, which as we have seen both play a fundamental role in keeping blood pressure under control.
There are several varieties of beans, each of which boasts a more or less complete nutritional profile. However, most of them contain good amounts of substances involved in the proper functioning of the cardiovascular system.
Among green leafy vegetables, beets are particularly rich in nutrients that help fight hypertension. In fact, we find many of those essential mineral salts in protecting the heart from the most common diseases: magnesium, potassium and calcium.
A study published in Nutrients found that having several weekly servings of broccoli in the diet reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease by 17%.
The greek yogurt is an ideal food to start the day, but can also be eaten as a snack – perhaps combined with dried fruit – or as a substitute for dessert. Also in this case we are faced with a product that provides good amounts of potassium and calcium.
A review found that consuming 3 servings of dairy products per day is associated with a 13% lower risk of developing hypertension, however, be careful with the quantities, as Greek yogurt has significant amounts of fat.
Pistachios are very nutritious, and some studies have linked their consumption to a reduction in blood pressure levels. They contain excellent amounts of potassium, which is one of the main mineral salts to act against hypertension.
A research took into consideration all nuts, trying to identify which food was most able to keep pressure under control. The results showed that it is precisely pistachios that have this important benefit for our health.
Finally, among the foods that cannot be missing on our table there are tomatoes. Among the many substances they are rich in, lycopene stands out, a powerful antioxidant responsible for the characteristic red color. This substance is related to important benefits for the body.
The consumption of tomatoes and products such as tomato soup prevents the onset of heart disease such as heart attack and hypertension.