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High blood pressure, at first glance, might not sound so worrisome. After all, plenty of numbers and levels can be high – but when it comes to hypertension, you’re facing a serious medical condition. And it’s one that’s incredibly common. An estimated 1.28 billion adults are currently living with high blood pressure, and less than half of those people have actually had their hypertension diagnosed and treated. As one of the major causes of premature death according to the World Health Organization, high blood pressure isn’t a condition to overlook.
And there’s more to worry about than your regular checkups. Hypertension can lead to numerous other age-related disorders, like heart, brain and even kidney diseases. Fortunately, high blood pressure is a condition that can be helped with lifestyle changes – and diet changes in particular. If you eat well for your heart health, you may be able to better control high blood pressure.
Get ahead of the dangers of hypertension via the following recipes, all of which feature key foods that can help balance blood pressure.
1. Chia and flax seeds
Small but mighty, these powerful seeds are lauded for their numerous health benefits, and now we can add managing hypertension to that list. A study on 26 people with high blood pressure found that consuming 35 g of chia seed flour daily reduced blood pressure levels in comparison to a placebo group. The results were seen in both medicated and unmedicated people. Flax is also hugely beneficial for managing blood pressure. A review of 11 studies measuring the efficacy of flaxseed for improving markers of hypertension found that consuming flaxseed was associated with a reduction in blood pressure.
2. Beets and carrots
Not only do beets contain a bit of nearly every vitamin and mineral needed by your body, but they’re also rich in nitrates. Your digestive system turns nitrates into nitric oxide, a compound that relaxes and widens blood vessels. This improves blood flow and thus lowers blood pressure. Meanwhile, carrots are high in phenolic compounds like chlorogenic, p-coumaric, and caffeic acid. All three foods have been found to relax and widen blood vessels, thereby lowering and balancing blood pressure levels.
Our Mini Beet & Carrot Latkes with Feta Chive Crumble will do double duty for balancing your blood pressure.
3. Swiss chard
If you’re low in calcium, magnesium and potassium, you are significantly more likely to experience hypertension. This is because these key minerals release sodium out of the body which helps arteries relax and dilate, alleviating the pressure inside them. That’s why, if you have high blood pressure, we strongly recommend consuming swiss chard. Not only is this green highly fibrous and containing numerous essential vitamins, but it’s also rich in calcium, magnesium and potassium. Plus, like beets, Swiss chard is a rich source of blood flow—improving nitrates.
Try your hand at our Swiss Chard & Curried Chickpea Salad with Orange Vinaigrette, a protein-rich bowl chock full of leafy green goodness.
Lemon water is an icon in the healthy living world. Now, lovers of lemon water can add reducing blood pressure to the existing list of this tonic’s alleged benefits. A Japanese study of 101 women evaluated the effects of daily lemon juice combined with walking on blood pressure levels. The findings showed that the combined effect led to reductions in systolic blood pressure. You don’t need a recipe for lemon water, but you may need a recipe for incorporating this beneficial citrus fruit in more savory dishes.
That’s why we put together this stunning Moroccan-Style Lemon Olive Chicken, loaded also with vitamin E–rich olives.
At first glance, you may assume amaranth is a grain, gauging by its looks and how it’s used as a filling base in many recipes. But amaranth is actually a seed, with a single flowering plant producing roughly 60,000 of these tiny nutritious treasures. In a study of 16 South African plants, researchers identified several species of amaranth as having beneficial effects on blood pressure. The researchers evaluated each plant to identify angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI) activity, the same type of activity seen in hypertension medications. Of the 16 plants evaluated, the various amaranth species were among the eight plants showing the most significant ACEI activity.
For your next breakfast, try our nutrient-packed Pumpkin Amaranth Bowl to begin the day with your blood pressure in check.
Looking for more nutrition-forward ways to keep your blood pressure in check? If you’re facing high blood pressure, these foods, meal plans and more may help balance your numbers:
- One Day of Eating for High Blood Pressure
- Want to Lower Your Blood Pressure? Try Good Gut Bacteria and Flavonoid-Rich Foods
- 3 Foods To Avoid If You Have High Blood Pressure
- How to Eat Well for High Blood Pressure
Featured recipe: Swiss Chard & Curried Chickpea Salad with Orange Vinaigrette