High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a serious health problem that over time can cause blood vessel damage which can lead to heart disease, kidney disease, stroke, and other problems. Obesity and hypertension are linked, with obese patients having higher rates of hypertension than normal-weight individuals. The following information can help you lower your blood pressure and help you reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Your diet plays a big role in whether you have high or normal blood pressure. Dietary recommendations for lowering blood pressure, such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, include reducing your intake of fat, sodium, and alcohol.
The DASH guidelines also suggest:
- eating more foods rich in potassium and magnesium
- Foods high in potassium give you a better ratio of potassium to sodium. This allows your kidneys to get rid of more sodium through your urine, which lowers your blood pressure.
- Leafy greens such as romaine lettuce, arugula, kale, turnip greens, collard greens, and spinach are high in potassium.
- Potatoes are high in potassium and magnesium, two minerals that can help to lower your blood pressure. They are also high in fiber, which is necessary for an overall healthy diet. Enjoy a baked potato as the centerpiece of your dinner. Instead of fattening and salty butter and sour cream, try adding plain yogurt or salsa for flavor.
- eating more foods rich in calcium
- Skim milk is an excellent source of calcium and is low in fat. These are both important elements of a diet for lowering blood pressure.
- Swap out your higher-fat milk for skim milk, or if you don’t care for milk, eat more low-fat or nonfat yogurt. Just make sure to avoid yogurt that is high in sugar.
In general, you should eat more low-fat protein sources, whole grains, and plenty of fruits and vegetables. Studies have found that berries, especially blueberries, are rich in natural compounds called flavonoids that might prevent hypertension and help reduce high blood pressure.
- Blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries are easy to add to your diet.
- Keep frozen berries on hand for a quick and healthful dessert.
Researchers also found that people with high blood pressure saw significant improvements from drinking beetroot juice. The study authors found that the nitrates in the juice brought down the participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours.
- You can juice your own beets or simply cook and eat the whole root.
- Beetroot is delicious when roasted or when added to stir-fries and stews.
If you live in the Las Vegas area and are considering weight-loss surgery, schedule an appointment with Dr. Heidi Ryan. A healthy new you could be closer than you think.