This Is the Best Diet to Reduce High Blood Pressure, According to Doctors
What you eat can majorly influence your health — and not just because of your weight. There’s a diet out there developed specifically for people diagnosed with high blood pressure and those who want to avoid it. It’s one of the easiest diets to follow. You can even drink booze!
The best diet for hypertension
Hypertension — the medical term for high blood pressure — is a leading contributor to heart disease. Health experts developed a specific diet to tackle this problem. It’s meant to not only help people with high blood pressure lower their disease risk, but to encourage everyone to take steps to stopping it before it becomes a health issue.
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet is considered the healthiest diet you can follow, especially when it comes to heart health. In 2018, according to US News and World Report’s Best Diet Rankings, it shared the No. 1 Best Diets Overall ranking with the Mediterranean diet. It’s also ranked No. 1 in Best Diets for Healthy Eating and Best Heart-Healthy Diets and No. 4 in Easiest Diets to Follow.
Why do so many health experts — especially doctors — prescribe this diet to their patients? Because it works. It incorporates a variety of foods, doesn’t restrict food groups, doesn’t force you to completely give up the foods you love, and it actually helps lower blood pressure as advertised.
Think every new diet involves tons of foods you don’t like or have never tried before? Not this one.
Foods that lower blood pressure
When you think of a diet, you probably immediately start thinking about all the foods you “aren’t allowed” to eat. On the DASH diet, you can eat many different foods that benefit your health and help reduce blood pressure at the same time. These include, but are not limited to:
- Whole grains like oatmeal, brown rice, and whole wheat bread and pasta
- Leafy green vegetables such as spinach, kale, romaine lettuce, and arugula
- Fruit, including strawberries, blueberries, bananas, and pomegranates
- Nuts and seeds, including flax and chia seeds, walnuts, and almonds
- Certain dairy products, mostly Greek yogurt and skim milk
- Other healthy fats such as fatty fish (salmon) and olive oil.
Processed foods are usually high in sodium, which can raise your blood pressure. Experts recommend a balanced diet such as the DASH diet because it incorporates a variety of healthy foods that are good for your heart and overall health.
The diet also allows you to eat some sweets (five servings or fewer per week) and drink alcohol (no more than two drinks daily for men and one or less for women).
How to reduce blood pressure with exercise
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your heart. Working out regularly while following heart-healthy diet recommendations increases your chances of lowering blood pressure and avoiding major heart problems.
Physical activity makes your heart stronger, which makes it easier to pump blood — therefore lowering your blood pressure. It can be as simple as going for a daily evening walk, playing a recreational sport, or doing more laborous chores around the house.
You won’t necessarily notice an immediate or drastic change in your blood pressure readings instantly after starting a new fitness routine. It can take time for your workouts to become effective. But consistent effort is worth the gradual progress. It does make a difference. Just give it time.