Beets are one of the best foods for lowering blood pressure, and the good news is that you don’t even need to eat them regularly to see results. A single glass of beet juice can drop systolic blood pressure by several points in just a few hours. Making fresh beets and beet juice a consistent part of your diet can help to reduce the risk of heart disease by consistently keeping your blood pressure at a lower rate. The nitrates found in beets can help to prevent heart attack and stroke, which are common issues for those with high blood pressure.
Sweet potatoes are often overlooked when thinking of superfoods, but they can be an excellent tool for lowering high blood pressure. That is because these tasty potatoes contain lots of potassium and magnesium, which helps to control blood pressure. Sweet potatoes are also easy to dress up without heart-threatening toppings like salt or sour cream. Instead, bake sweet potatoes until cooked and load them up with healthy ingredients like spinach and feta or shredded grilled chicken and rice. Sweet potatoes have many other nutritious properties as well, like a high fiber content and low sodium and fat levels.
Garlic naturally reduces blood pressure, so adding it to meals a great way to improve heart health in people with hypertension. It contains allicin, which is what makes it such a powerful tool in the fight against high blood pressure. In addition to its own heart-healthy properties, garlic also makes a great alternative to salt-based seasonings. Sodium can be one of the biggest causes of high blood pressure, so whenever possible, you should use healthier options to add flavor to your meals. Garlic, onion, lemon, lime, herbs, and spices are the most popular options for seasoning dishes.
Oats are a great choice for those with high blood pressure, since they are low in sodium and high in fiber. There are plenty of interesting ways to make oatmeal, including using different varieties of oats. Both steel-cut oats and round oats are good options, and they can be topped with fruit for an interesting change of pace. Oatmeal also contains manganese, magnesium, and protein, which are important nutrients for heart health. However, the benefits of oatmeal are strongest when you select organic oats and stay away from instant varieties.
There is good news for people who love chocolate — research has shown that some types are actually good for high blood pressure. Eating a small amount of dark chocolate can help to reduce hypertension if consumed sparingly, so don’t feel guilty about sneaking a bite of it each day. Scientists believe that a compound called flavanol may be responsible for this health benefit, but the important takeaway is that it is okay to have up to 50 calories of dark chocolate each day. Consuming more may have the opposite effect. Dark chocolate includes chocolate with at least 50 percent cocoa content, so make sure to read the label carefully.