As you know, diet plays a huge role in determining if your blood pressure levels are normal or frighteningly high. If you have read about blood pressure, then you know that the best high blood pressure diet is an alkaline diet that mirrors the Mediterranean style of eating.
Basically, that includes low- to moderate-acid fruits and vegetables, fish, lean protein, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and some dairy. Pretty straight-forward, right?
But did you know that there are also three really fun—and in one case, downright exotic—foods that have been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure levels. These include chocolate, hibiscus tea, and beets.
Download our FREE Healthy Heart Tips and learn more about how adding chocolate, hibiscus tea and beets to your diet can help keep your heart healthy.
Additional high blood pressure diet tips:
Limit Unhealthy Fats
Saturated fats and trans fats are the cause of raised cholesterol which in turn causes a build-up of plaque in your arteries
– the cause of heart attacks. Every packaged food shows its exact content on the label so you can start to learn which products to avoid.
Butter, margarine, cream and shortening are high in saturated and trans fats, and anything made from them such as pastry, cookies, gravy, cream-based sauces and fried foods. Substitute butter with a low-fat substitute and choose monounsaturated fats such as canola oil or olive oil for cooking, in moderation.
Choose Low-Fat Protein
Protein is essential for a healthy body, but cut out the fatty options. Substitute fatty meat, beef burgers and processed meat products such as sausages with low fat options such as chicken breast, lean ground meats or soy products. Fish is heart healthy as oily fish has omega-3 fatty acids which actually lower blood fats called triglycerides. Change to low-fat milk and use egg whites or egg substitute in place of cholesterol-laden egg yolks.
Eat More Fresh Vegetable and Fruit
Bulky and high in vitamins and minerals, vegetables and fresh fruit are a good source of dietary fiber. Raw vegetable croutons or fresh fruit make it easy to have a heart-healthy snack. Stir-fry vegetables and fruit salad made with a little sugar-free apple juice make an excellent meal or dessert in themselves. The things to avoid are high sodium canned vegetables, fried vegetables, canned fruit in syrup and fruit with sugar added.
Reduce Salt (Sodium)
Sodium has been found to cause high blood pressure which raises the risk for heart disease. The recommended daily maximum intake is 2,300 mg which is about a teaspoonful. Few of us add that much salt at the table, but salt is present in many processed foods. Canned soups, prepared meals and savory snacks, nuts and chips are very high in sodium so check the label and restrict your intake accordingly. Buy reduced sodium versions of salt, soy sauce and canned soups where possible.
Substitution rather than total abstinence is the best way to tackle your new heart healthy diet. Choose whole grain bread, flour, rice and cereal rather than refined “white” products which have had all the fiber and goodness processed out. Whole grains help regulate healthy blood pressure which leads to a healthy heart. Pies, cakes, corn bread, doughnuts, buttered popcorn and high-fat crackers should be a very rare treat for those serious about keeping their heart healthy.