In the United States, 1 in 3 adults has hypertension — high blood pressure — which increases their risk of heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.
Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on medications alone to control it. The Medical News Today website offers some simple food choices for keeping your blood pressure under control:
Berries. Blueberries and strawberries have antioxidants called anthocyanins. Studies have suggested that these antioxidants offer an 8% decreased risk of high blood pressure in people who consume them as snacks or in smoothies and cereal.
Bananas. With their high levels of potassium — about 420 mg in a medium-size one — bananas can help reduce the impact of sodium, which contributes to hypertension, and ease pressure on blood vessel walls.
Other potassium-rich foods include avocados, cantaloupe, halibut, and sweet potatoes.
Dark chocolate. Studies suggest that chocolate high in cocoa may reduce blood pressure and prehypertension. Don’t overdo it, though. Eat a single 1-ounce square a day that contains 70% cocoa.
Oats. A fiber in oats called beta-glucan may reduce your blood pressure as well as decreasing cholesterol. (Barley also contains beta-glucan.)
Oatmeal in the morning is a good start. You can also substitute rolled oats for breadcrumbs to give extra texture to your burgers.
Leafy, green vegetables. Nitrates in cabbage, kale, spinach, Swiss chard, and other green veggies can decrease blood pressure for up to 24 hours.
Eat one to two servings a day as salads or stirred into stews. Sautéed Swiss chard with garlic makes for a delicious side dish.