If you are or know someone who is battling low blood pressure and you are looking for foods for low blood pressure, this article is for you. Many people are looking for ways to naturally reduce their blood pressure, because of the many risks associated with high blood pressure. Most Nigerians associate high blood pressure with age or ‘excessive thinking’. This is not always true, as high blood pressure can affect anyone, old or young.
Firstly, what is blood pressure? Blood pressure can be defined as the amount of force or pressure that your blood puts on the walls of your arteries (blood vessels) as it flows through.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a condition in which the force of the blood against the artery walls is consistently too high. Usually, hypertension is defined as blood pressure consistently above 140/90 and is considered severe if the pressure is above 180/120.
There are essentially two types of high blood pressure. They are known as:
– Essential high blood pressure: this type of high blood pressure has no known or established cause. That is, the cause of this type of high blood pressure cannot be ascertained.
– Non-essential high blood pressure: this type of high blood pressure usually, can be attributed to another health condition.
High blood pressure is known as ‘the silent killer. There are usually no symptoms. However, unmanaged high blood pressure is dangerous because it makes the heart work harder to pump blood out to the body and is also fatal.
High blood pressure is prevalent in Nigeria. Data from May 2022 show that about 80 million Nigerians are currently living with high blood pressure.
Many factors can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure, including, genetics, alcohol usage, lack of physical activity and dietary choices.
Your dietary choices, that is, what you choose to eat (and not to eat) can increase your risk of hypertension. For example, too much sodium can cause your body to retain fluid, which increases blood pressure. Since potassium helps balance the amount of sodium in the cells, not getting enough of it can raise blood pressure. In general, dietary choices that cause an increase in blood pressure are increased sodium intake, reduced potassium intake, excess consumption of fatty foods and increased alcohol intake.
Some foods/food condiments are known to cause high blood pressure. In addition to excessive salt intake, foods that can cause an increase in blood pressure are mostly processed/ fast food. Our focus in this article, however, is on foods for low blood pressure. Foods for low blood pressure are foods that are rich in nutrients that can help to regulate blood pressure.
It is important to note that foods high in sodium, increase blood pressure. Therefore, foods for low blood pressure are rich in other nutrients except for sodium. One dietary tool doctors recommend for low blood pressure is called DASH, which is an abbreviation for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. This is not a diet, but a way of eating. It teaches you to cut back on salt which is high in sodium, and eat more foods for low blood pressure.
Foods for low blood pressure are discussed in detail below:
Foods that lower blood pressure is foods that are rich in the following nutrients:
Foods for low blood pressure are rich in potassium. How does potassium lower blood pressure? This is possible because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. The more potassium you eat, the more sodium you lose through urine. Potassium also helps to ease tension in blood vessel walls, which helps further lower blood pressure.
Potassium and sodium although closely interconnected, have opposite effects in the body. Both are essential nutrients that play key roles in maintaining physiological balance. Salt is composed of sodium. High salt intake increases blood pressure, which can lead to heart disease, while high potassium intake can help relax blood vessels and excrete sodium while decreasing blood pressure. Our bodies need far more potassium than sodium each day.
It is important to note, however, that potassium can be harmful to individuals with kidney diseases. As such, you should discuss this with your doctor before adopting this diet.
Foods for low blood pressure that are rich in potassium are fruits and vegetables which include avocado, bananas, leafy greens, beans, potatoes, spinach, broccoli, coconut water, dried raisins, dried apricots, yoghurt, orange, cashew, almonds, etc. These are termed foods for low blood pressure because they are rich in potassium which can help excrete sodium and relax blood vessels.
Foods for low blood pressure are also rich in Magnesium. Magnesium is a mineral. Research has shown that magnesium supplements may help reduce blood pressure by increasing the production of nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is a signalling molecule that helps relax blood vessels. Studies suggest that magnesium can even help to prevent or reduce the risk of having high blood pressure.
Foods for low blood pressure that are rich in magnesium are dark leafy greens, fish, avocado, cashew, almonds, spinach, rice, yoghurt, potato, oatmeal, banana, etc.
Another important nutrient contained in foods for low blood pressure is Calcium. Calcium is important for healthy blood pressure because it helps blood vessels tighten and relax when they need to. Foods rich in calcium that can lower blood pressure include dairy products like milk, yoghurt, cheese, dark green leafy vegetables, figs, beets etc.
Read Also: Health Benefits of Bitter Kola
Foods For Low Blood Pressure
This sweet and common fruit is a wonder food for low blood pressure. Bananas are extremely low in sodium; and very rich in potassium, which is the perfect combination for high blood pressure levels. One medium-sized banana contains about 422mg of potassium. Bananas are also rich in fibre and lend a natural sweetness to foods. This delicious fruit can be eaten alone, pr added to cereal, cake bread, smoothies or even milkshakes.
This is another food to help lower blood pressure. Avocados are packed with oleic acid, which can reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Avocados are also rich in calcium, magnesium, and potassium, all nutrients that are very important in the regulation of blood pressure levels.
3. Avocado Pear:
One avocado contains about 975 milligrams of potassium, which is about 25 per cent of your daily intake.
Beets are one fruit with proven evidence of lowering blood pressure. Beet is rich in dietary nitrate. Simple ways you can incorporate beets into your diet are by drinking the juice or adding it to salads or as garnishing. One cup of beet juice every day can lower your blood pressure in 4 weeks.
5. Leafy Green Vegetables:
Examples of these are spinach, cabbage, kale, etc. These healthy food types are important for the numerous nutrients they contain. These vegetables are very rich in potassium and magnesium. Consuming these vegetables every day can lower your blood pressure. Simple ways to incorporate these vegetables into your diet are in soups or stews or as side dishes.
There is scientific evidence to show that garlic can lower blood pressure. Garlic can easily be incorporated into your foods for low blood pressure. Garlic is also often used as a replacement for salt.
As earlier discussed, yoghurt is rich in calcium, which aids in the tightening of blood pressure. Plain yoghurt is a good way into this food into your diet.
This is one of the nutritious foods for low blood pressure. Oatmeal is low in sodium and rich in dietary fibre which can keep blood pressure under control.
Examples of berries are strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, etc. Berries, especially blueberries, are packed with nitric oxide, a gas that helps increase blood flow and as a result, lower blood pressure.
10. Sweet potatoes:
Sweet potatoes contain potassium and magnesium, both of which are very vital nutrients in lowering blood pressure.
This is another super-rich grain that is packed full of magnesium. A half-cup contains almost 15 per cent of the magnesium you need in a day.
12. Red Bell Peppers:
Red bell peppers help reduce high blood pressure with the help of potassium. They’re also high in fibre and vitamin C and vitamin A.
Recommend: 14 High Blood Pressure Food to Avoid
High blood pressure is a silent killer. Mismanaged high blood pressure also called hypertension, can lead to chronic diseases, such as heart attack, stroke, blindness, etc.
Just like diet can increase the risk of and cause high blood pressure for example, by consuming foods high in sodium, like excess salty foods or processed foods, foods for low blood pressure are foods that are rich in nutrients that reduce blood pressure. These foods act by reducing the effects of sodium in the blood, help in the tightening and release of blood vessels and overall, promote heart health.
These foods are rich in nutrients like calcium, potassium, magnesium, dietary fibre, vitamin A, vitamin C and nitrate. These foods can be easily incorporated into the diet. Examples of foods that are rich in these nutrients are bananas, avocado, berries, oatmeal, etc.