The 8 best foods for supporting blood pressure

How can you effectively manage your blood pressure through diet?

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Emma Thornton
Qualified Nutritionist (BSc, MSc, ANutr)
@EmmaThornton
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27 September 2018

1 – Beetroot

The benefits of beetroot for supporting healthy blood pressure are gradually becoming better known. Beetroot has featured favourably on BBC’s Trust me I’m a doctor in the past, and there are now lots more scientific studies out there to back up its use.1,2 

The beneficial effects of beetroot on blood pressure are thought to be down to its impressive nitrate content. Nitrates convert into nitric oxide in the body which cause our blood vessels to gently dilate, which in turn, can have beneficial effects on blood flow and ultimately blood pressure – fancy!

How’s best to up my intake?

Beetroot’s a fab all-rounder. As above, it should be a top pick if you're struggling with high blood pressure, but interestingly, if low blood pressure is an issue for you it’s important to keep up your liquid intake too – therefore a good quality Beetroot Juice could be a good option for everyone when it comes to managing healthy blood pressure! Simply drink 100ml per day, either try the originial taste (it has a delicious earthy taste), or why not try Biotta's latest addition with apple & ginger - it's deliciously warming! 

2 – Pomegranates

Another addition to seriously consider adding to your diet if you worry about high blood pressure is pomegranates. You can eat these in their whole form (the seeds are delicious and can work well in both sweet and savoury dishes), or the juice is particularly nutrient-dense.

Better yet, pomegranate juice has been subject to research which suggests it could have beneficial effects when it comes to managing blood pressure in generally healthy, young to middle aged adults. Results concluded that drinking up to 330ml may be beneficial, at least in the short-term for blood pressure control.

How’s best to up my intake?

Again, liquid formulas are often a good way to go when it comes to managing blood pressure. It’s important to keep your liquid intake up if low blood pressure is an issue, but the beneficial components are often thought to be better absorbed when it comes to liquids too. Stock up with some Biotta Pomegranate Juice today!

3 – Leafy greens

It’s no secret that leafy green should be included as part of healthy, balanced diet, but what’s their significance when it comes to blood pressure? Leafy greens are naturally rich in essential nutrients including potassium, magnesium, B vitamins including folate, iron and calcium; all vital ingredients for supporting healthy blood pressure, whether it’s low or high! 

How’s best to up my intake?

Fresh spinach, for one, is super versatile, not to mention delicious! You can add it to stir-fries, curries, sauces, or simply steam or sauté with some garlic as a delicious side. 

Interestingly though, when it comes to many of the nutrients contained in your leafy greens; iron, calcium or B12, for example, as well as ensuring we get enough through our diets, we also need to ensure we have strong enough stomach acid to make good use of them. In terms of your diet, bitter greens are a good way to start any meal as the taste helps spur your digestive juices. So, why not try coupling your spinach with some more bitter leaves such as chicory or rocket – the perfect start to any meal! 

If you’re too keen to get stuck into the main without your starter of salad first, you can take a quick dose of Digestisan tincture 5-10 minutes before meals instead.

4 – Oily fish

 

Fish is nutritious choice anyway, packed full of protein and nutrients including B vitamins, calcium, iodine and zinc, but oily fish really does come up trumps as a result of its omega-3 content. Omega-3 boasts impressive anti-inflammatory properties which are thought to be especially beneficial for the cardiovascular system. Large scale studies have found that dietary sources of omega-3 may help to prevent and control adverse blood pressure readings.4

How’s best to up my intake?

Along with government guidelines, you should be aiming to include at least 2-3 portions of oil fish per week. If fish just isn’t your thing, a good quality omega-3 supplement may be a better option for you and if you’re vegetarian or vegan, flaxseed oil would be a suitable alternative for you. Whole or milled flaxseed can be added to sweet or savoury dishes or the oil can be drizzled through salads or taken in capsule form for ease.

5 – Garlic

Traditionally, garlic wasn’t just a fragrant foodstuff that we could use in the base of curries or one-pots. Did you know it’s also been used medicinally for thousands of years?

The beneficial effects of garlic are thought to be down to its content of allicin, one of the main active ingredients found in the fragrant bulb. Allicin is believed to have a beneficial influence on our kidneys, changing levels of certain hormones responsible for managing our blood pressure and allowing our blood vessels, to dilate, relax and gently bring our blood pressure down. 

Recent, large scale reviews have suggested that garlic is superior to placebo (when someone just thinks they’re eating garlic but actually aren’t), when it comes to reducing blood pressure in people who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

How’s best to up my intake?

Whether you have high or low blood pressure, garlic’s a great addition to more generally support the cardiovascular system. Get into the habit of using it in the base of most meals, or top up your levels with a supplement for best effects.

Alongside hawthorn, B vitamins and vitamin E, garlic features in our Hawthorn-Garlic Complex creating a cardio-protective, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory solution. 

6 – Olive Oil

The base of the world renowned Mediterranean diet, it comes as no surprise that olive oil is making my list. My advice when it comes to supporting your cardiovascular health, and overall health for that matter, is not to be scared of fats - good quality fats that is. 

A number of studies have shown that the Mediterranean diet is protective of blood pressure. However, we do need to take into account that this is a diet not only comprising of good quality olive oil, but also a number of other healthy foods including fruit, vegetables, fish and wholegrains.6 However, when studies then look at olive oil individually, it becomes clear that olive oil does also seem to have a direct influence, and this is thought to be down the high concentration of the essential fatty acid oleic acid.7

How’s best to up my intake?

Opt for extra virgin olive oil – the cream of the crop. Although olive oil is delicious mixed through salads, contrary to popular belief, it’s also a good option to use in your cooking. Read my blog on ‘our guide to the healthiest cooking oils’ for more information!

7 – Oats

When it comes to supporting healthy blood pressure, eating regular meals is an important first step. If we skip meals we’re more likely to binge and make poorer choices later on in the day (not good when it comes to high blood pressure) and for low blood pressure, fluctuations in blood sugar will only add to your problems. 

My advice is to start the day as you mean to go on and opt for a nutritious breakfast. Oats are naturally rich in B vitamins, protein and fibre. Dietary fibre, especially, is another element of your diet you should focus on increasing if blood pressure is on your mind. 

How’s best to up my intake?

Believe it or not, oats are pretty versatile. You can make good old porridge of course, or mix it up a bit and try out some overnight oats or flapjack recipes.

8 – Berries

Last but not least, berries finish my list. Berries including strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries are nutrient powerhouses and arguably the most nutritious fruit around. 

What sets them apart from other fruit (their vibrant colour is a dead giveaway), is the density of nutrients (in particular antioxidants) and the health benefits of these are really quite encouraging. Research suggests that a moderate consumption of berries daily allowed for positive improvements in cardiovascular risk factors including high blood pressure in healthy individuals.8

How’s best to up my intake?

Any way you fancy! They’re simply delicious on their own or why not get creative and start including them in recipes – they work particularly well in smoothies, for example, that’s my preference for sure!

 

1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22414688

2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23596162

3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22648092

4. https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1161/HYPERTENSIONAHA.107.090720

5. https://bmccardiovascdisord.biomedcentral.com/track/pdf/10.1186/1471-2261-8-13

6. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/80/4/1012/4690349

7. http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2008/09/03/0807500105.short

8. https://academic.oup.com/ajcn/article/87/2/323/4633285

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