Nearly half of adults in the U.S. (47%) have high blood pressure, which increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. High blood pressure typically develops over time and can be caused by lifestyle factors or health conditions such as diabetes or obesity. However, there are a variety of fruits, seeds and vegetables that can help bring blood pressure down.
- Berries contain antioxidants and may enhance production of nitric oxide, which acts as a vasodilator, bringing blood pressure down.
- Citrus fruits are loaded with vitamins and plant compounds that help lower blood pressure, such as flavonoids. However, some citrus fruits, such as grapefruit, may interfere with blood pressure medications, so consult your physician or pharmacist.
- Pumpkin seeds and lentils are rich in fiber as well as magnesium and potassium, both of which relax blood vessels.
- Fatty fish, such as salmon, have anti-inflammatory qualities and decrease production of oxylipins, which raise blood pressure through vasoconstriction.
- Raw carrots are high in phenolic compounds that help reduce inflammation and relax blood vessels.
- Broccoli contains potassium and magnesium as well as vitamin C, an antioxidant that retains nitric oxide, all of which relax blood vessels. Vitamin C also strengthens blood vessels.
- Cooked celery has been scientifically linked to lower blood pressure.
Try cooking salmon for lunch or dinner, adding raw carrots or lentils to a salad or enjoying pumpkin seeds as a snack. Eating an overall balanced diet, reducing salt intake and exercising regularly are all key components in managing your blood pressure levels. Your physician can help you develop a personalized plan to lower your blood pressure and achieve optimal health.