Lifestyle measures, such as a healthy diet, regular exercise, adequate sleep, and stress management are essential for managing high blood pressure. If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor may recommend certain medications along with lifestyle modifications. Both these medications and lifestyle measures have their distinct places in blood pressure management and must be followed as advised by your doctor.
Fruits, due to their high fiber, antioxidants, and certain mineral content (such as potassium and magnesium), play a crucial role in preventing and managing cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure.
All fruits have several health advantages and help manage blood pressure; however, the best fruits for hypertension are listed below:
- Citrus fruits: These are rich in antioxidants including vitamin C and flavonoids that help promote heart and blood vessel health. They are also rich in fiber and potassium and low in sodium. All these qualities make them excellent for people with high blood pressure.
- Berries: All berries, particularly blueberries, are loaded with antioxidant compounds and polyphenols that help lower blood pressure and improve the health of blood vessels.
- Bananas: These “superfoods” are rich in nutrients, such as potassium, fiber, magnesium, and antioxidants that help manage high blood pressure.
- Pomegranate: Research suggests that the nutrients in pomegranate help lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels, promote healthy blood flow, prevent hardening of blood vessels, and promote heart health.
- Prunes: These are rich in potassium and low in sodium, which helps promote heart health, lower blood pressure, and prevent the hardening of blood vessels.
- Melons: These provide a great amount of vitamin C, potassium, folate, and fiber, which helps manage blood pressure and promotes cardiovascular health.
How many fruits should I eat in a day?
Fruits and vegetables have several health advantages. According to the American Heart Association, one should have about four to five servings of fruits a day.
One serving of fruit equals
- One whole medium-size fruit, such as peach, apple, or orange
- Half a cup of diced fresh, frozen, or canned fruits
- One-fourth cup of dried fruits
- One-fourth cup of fruit juice
Although a single serving of 100 percent juice can replace one of your recommended daily servings of fruits, eating the fruit is better than drinking its juice. This is because eating the entire fruit provides valuable fiber to your diet. Besides, there are always chances of overconsumption of juices because they are less filling compared to fruits.
You must always choose 100 percent juices over juices with added sugars or sodium.
What foods should you avoid if you have high blood pressure?
Many foods and drinks may worsen your high blood pressure. These must be avoided or consumed in moderation.
Avoid the following foods and drinks to for hypertension:
- High sodium foods, such as:
- canned, smoked, or cured meat,
- poultry and bacon,
- salted nuts,
- salted butter,
- pizza, and
- canned beans with added salt.
- Saturated fats, such as:
- French fries,
- margarine (especially stick margarine), and
- fried foods.
- Sugary foods and beverages, including:
- sweetened juices,
- cookies, and
- Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
- (one drink = 12 oz beer, 4 oz wine, 1.5 oz 80-proof spirits, or 1 oz 100-proof spirits.)
- Limit alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men.
- High-fat dairy
- Canned soups
- Fast foods
- High fat or regular salad dressings
Asgary S, Keshvari M. Effects of Citrus sinensis juice on blood pressure. ARYA Atheroscler. 2013;9(1):98-101.https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3653258/
Godman H. How many fruits and vegetables do we really need? Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/nutrition/how-many-fruits-and-vegetables-do-we-really-need
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High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms.
Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure.
The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater.
If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.
REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
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