7 foods to battle high blood presure

The best and easiest way to combat this silent killer is to alter your eating habits

Life&Style June 05, 2015
The best and easiest way to combat this silent killer is to alter your eating habits. PHOTO: FILE

Thirty-three per cent of Pakistanis above the age of 45 have hypertension (aka high blood pressure), states Journal of Pakistan Medical Association (JPMA). Fortunately, this health problem can easily be combated by taking a few dietary measures.

Most people take medication to reduce hypertension but that comes with side effects so the best and easiest way to combat this silent killer is to alter your eating habits. Here are seven foods which can help people dealing with high blood pressure:

1. Whole grains


According to WebMD, one daily serving of whole grains may help prevent hypertension - and more servings could slash your risk even further. Including at least 50 grams of whole grains daily to your diet significantly decreases high blood pressure.

That's because whole grains contain essential and healthy nutrients including fiber, potassium, magnesium, folate, iron and selenium, all of which are known to lower blood pressure (especially potassium).

2. Broccoli


This green vegetable contains all the nutrients needed to help lower blood pressure like fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and vitamin C.

Previous research in animals has found that a diet high in broccoli sprouts may help reduce blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. Broccoli sprouts are high in compounds that may help reduce damage to arteries, reports Reader's Digest.

3. Celery


Celery contains phytochemicals known as phthalides, which relax the muscle tissue in the artery walls enabling increased blood flow and in turn lowers blood pressure. Daily Health reported, in animals a small amount of the compound called 3nB which is found in celery lowered blood pressure by 12 per cent to 14 per cent and cholesterol by about seven per cent.

4. Baked Potato


Rich in magnesium and potassium, this tasty vegetable helps fight high blood pressure. The potassium content helps the body become more efficient at flushing out excess sodium, which can raise blood pressure; and magnesium helps promote healthy blood flow.

But go easy on the butter and salt or it'll be back to phase one.

5. Dark chocolate


A delicious way to stay healthy! Dark chocolate contains high amounts of antioxidant flavanols which help make the blood vessels more elastic,

According to Harvard researchers who analyzed 24 chocolate studies eating a one-ounce square of dark chocolate (70 per cent cacao or more) daily can help lower blood pressure, especially in people who already have hypertension.

6. Bananas


Loaded with potassium, studies have shown that bananas significantly reduce effects of sodium in the blood stream. According to Reader's Digest, one banana contains about 420 milligrams, or 11 per cent of the 4,700 milligrams the American Heart Association recommends people to consume daily.

Bananas dipped in dark chocolate... anyone?

7. Garlic


Known as a blood thinner, garlic not only helps lower blood pressure but also lowers cholesterol. When chopped, it produces allicin, a compound that has antibacterial and antifungal properties.

This vegetable wards off evil and bad health!

While the most obvious prevention is through reduction of salt intake which has a robust effect on blood pressure. The human body requires about 50 mg of sodium daily. World Health Organization (WHO) recommended daily salt requirement to be 5 grams per day (one tea spoon).

Usually younger people dismiss such health issues relating them to older people, but further analysis of data has revealed that the prevalence is 19 per cent in people of age 15 or above and diseases like these are responsible for more than 60 per cent deaths (35 million) worldwide and 80 per cent of these deaths occurred in developing countries including Pakistan.


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