7 Foods to Reduce Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is a common condition but one that can have a debilitating effect. Raised blood pressure leads to heart disease, strokes, and in some cases, even death. While there are plenty of medications for getting your blood pressure down, even small dietary changes will have a big impact.

#1 Berries

Berries are some of the healthiest foods around. Blueberries and strawberries are rich in antioxidants, which help to reduce blood pressure. This has been proved across a range of studies, where participants who ate the most blueberries and strawberries saw their blood pressure drop, sometimes quite dramatically. They make great snacks or sweet treats.

#2 Dark chocolate

As surprising as it might sound, pure dark chocolate is proven to decrease blood pressure in those suffering from hypertension. Hypertension is a debilitating condition that requires constant monitoring. With blood pressure monitors for sale from more online retailers than ever before, this task is easier than it was, but the condition can still be difficult to manage. Dark chocolate is one of the best foods for hypertension, but only if it contains at least 70% pure cocoa.

#3 Oats

Oats can be enjoyed in many forms, from porridge to cookies to simply sprinkled over the top of yogurt. They’re versatile, healthy, and their blood pressure-lowering credentials come from a fiber called beta-glucan (which you’ll also find in barley). Studies show that beta-glucan is effective at reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure, making oats an excellent all-around choice.

#4 Watermelon

Apart from being extremely hydrating, watermelons also contain the amino acid citrulline. The acid encourages your body to produce more nitric oxide, which makes arteries more flexible, aiding blood flow. Studies found the effects to be most pronounced in the ankles and the brachial artery, which is situated in the upper arm.

#5 Leafy green vegetables

You’ll be spoiled for choice if you’re looking to add leafy green vegetables to your diet. Lettuce, kale, spinach, cabbage, and fennel all count (and plenty more besides). These vegetables all have one thing in common: they’re nitrate-rich. As such, they’re useful short-term relievers of high blood pressure, with their effects lasting for around 24 hours.

#6 Garlic

Garlic has quite a few credentials that place it firmly in the “superfood” category. Not only is it a natural antibiotic and anti-fungal food, but it facilitates the body’s production of nitric oxide. This, in turn, encourages blood vessels to dilate, reducing hypertension. It’s also an incredibly versatile ingredient that can be added to nearly any dish.

#7 Natural yogurts

It’s important to remember that natural yogurts like unsweetened Greek are the healthy option here. Other desert yoghurts are more processed and thus contain large quantities of sugar and other additives, which can actually raise blood pressure. Nonetheless, classic natural yoghurt is enormously healthy and should be combined with some of the other additions to the list (berries and oats, for example) for a super desert.