Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is a common risk factor for chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and kidney disease. Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by blood on the walls of blood vessels when the heart muscle relaxes and contracts. The pressure when the heart contracts is called “systolic blood pressure”, and the pressure when the heart relaxes is called “diastolic blood pressure”. When one’s blood pressure is greater than or equal to 130/80 mm Hg, it is called hypertension.
High blood pressure is the prevailing medical condition among middle-aged and elderly people, but high blood pressure does not need to be all that alarming. In our daily lives, we can take appropriate measures to help stabilize our blood pressure. Here are some foods that can help people with high blood pressure.
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Foods that help control blood pressure
Potatoes are a low-fat food that contains antioxidants and trace elements. The potassium in potatoes lowers high blood pressure and protects the heart. Cooking or roasting them with the skin on is the best way to eat them as leaving the skin on protects the potatoes from losing their nutrients.
Of course eating processed foods made from potatoes, such as french fries and potato chips, have the opposite effect. Because french fries and potato chips are cooked in oil, eating them increases the internal fat of the human body. Usually, they also contain a high amount of salt which adversely affects blood pressure.
Spinach also helps lower blood pressure. Spinach is rich in vitamins and various trace elements, as well as being rich in potassium. A big reason patients suffer from hypertension is too much sodium or too little potassium in the body. Eating more spinach to supplement potassium can help the body regulate blood pressure.
Celery is rich in dietary fiber, which can promote the peristalsis of the human stomach and relieve constipation. It also contains phytochemicals called phthalides. The phthalides contained in celery increase blood flow thereby lowering blood pressure which will prevent or delay a series of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems caused by high blood pressure.
Apples not only contain substances such as malic acid, vitamins, and cellulose, but they are also rich in potassium, which can help the body lower high blood pressure and excrete sodium in the body. They are also loaded with flavonoids, such as quercetin and rutin. The rutin contained in apples is helpful for regulating blood pressure and preventing or delaying a series of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular problems caused by high blood pressure. For maximum benefits, eat your apple with the peel on. This is where most of the flavonoids are.
Broccoli also has a good effect on regulating blood pressure because broccoli is very rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Eating broccoli can also help people reduce the risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular diseases and strokes.
Sweet potatoes are also a food that can help the body lower high blood pressure as they are very rich in potassium.
Hypertension prevention and control
Another consideration on how diet can lower one’s blood pressure is to follow a low-salt diet and lower the intake of unhealthy fats. The amount of salt in dishes should be reduced by half, eat foods not cooked in animal fats, and switch to vegetable oils such as olive oil and soybean oil when cooking. You can also limit your intake of foods with high cholesterol content, such as egg yolks, shellfish, cheese, and full-fat yogurt.
Exercise can also lower high blood pressure by increasing the metabolic rate which will burn fat and achieve the effect of lowering blood pressure. Do not exercise within an hour before or after a meal. The ideal time is 1 to 2 hours after a meal for 30 minutes at least 3 times a week. Even a low-impact exercise like walking can have great benefits.
Translated by Patty Zhang