Your blood travels through your body to send oxygen, nutrients, and other essentials throughout your body, and how well it moves depends on your blood pressure, which is the force that transfers blood through your circulatory system. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is a condition that causes your blood to move hard enough to exert pressure on the walls of your veins and arteries.
Hypertension is a common condition (affecting 40 percent of adults over the age of 25 globally) that millions of people don’t have under control, and millions more don’t even realize they have. Left untreated, it can lead to severe illnesses such as heart disease and stroke.
Hypertension is manageable, and even without medications and exercise regimens, dietary changes can help to lower your blood pressure. At Sugarland Primary Care Physicians, Dr. Chinwe Okafor and the experienced medical team can help with treatment of hypertension and other cardiac conditions.
Let’s look at how hypertension affects you, the common causes of this condition, and what foods can reduce your blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the amount of blood pumped from your heart and the blood flow resistance in your circulatory system. Specifically, blood pressure is determined by the amount of blood pressure in your arteries when your heart beats (the upper number, known as systolic pressure) and the amount of blood pressure in your arteries between heart beats (diastolic pressure). Both the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association recommend that people with hypertension maintain blood pressure below 130/80.
The risk of hypertension increases when your blood pumps higher as veins get narrower. The more frequent this happens, the more symptoms you’re likely to experience, including headaches, shortness of breath, sweating, anxiety, sleeping problems, and blushing.
Primary and secondary hypertension are the two known forms of this illness. Primary hypertension often does not have symptoms as it develops slowly over a long period of time. Secondary hypertension, however, is caused by many factors, including kidney disease, obstructive sleep apnea, adrenal gland tumors, thyroid conditions, congenital deficiencies in blood vessels, illegal drugs, and some types of birth control pills, cold remedies, and pain relievers.
Several risk factors contribute to high blood pressure, such as family history, obesity, inactivity, tobacco use, diets high in sodium and low in potassium, alcohol abuse, and stress.
Here are some foods that can help reduce blood pressure:
Fatty fish, in particular, are high in omega-3 fats, which are beneficial for the heart, and include salmon, sardine, mackerel, cod, herring, trout, and canned light tuna.
The vitamins and minerals in citrus fruits like oranges, grapefruits, and lemons are helpful in reducing blood pressure and the risk of heart disease.
A variety of vegetables can help control blood pressure, including chard, carrots, tomatoes, celery, broccoli, beets, and spinach.
Different types of seeds and legumes, such as beans, lentils, pumpkin, chia, and flaxseed have nutrients that are great at helping to regulate blood pressure.
Pistachios, in particular, have a solid helping of potassium to boost the amount of that element in your diet. Other nuts include almonds, hazelnuts, pecans, macadamia nuts, and peanuts.
Celery seed, cilantro, saffron, black cumin, lemongrass, cardamom, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger, and sweet basil are all herbs and spices that can help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
Increased physical activity, exercise, and some medications can help get hypertension under control, but making these dietary changes can also make a world of difference. If you’re ready to find a way to get your blood pressure under control, make an appointment today with Dr. Okafor and Sugarland Primary Care Physicians in Sugarland, Texas.