Hypertension, often referred to as high blood pressure, stands as a silent but formidable adversary, impacting the health of millions worldwide. As one of the leading risk factors for heart disease, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions, hypertension demands our attention and proactivity in combating its effects. Fortunately, when it comes to battling this stealthy foe, the key to victory lies right on our plates.
Nutrition plays a pivotal role in managing hypertension and maintaining a healthy heart. The foods we choose to fuel our bodies can either exacerbate or alleviate high blood pressure, making dietary changes an essential aspect of a heart-healthy lifestyle. This blog aims to shed light on the power of nutrition in the fight against hypertension, highlighting the foods that can support your cardiovascular health and empower you to take control of your well-being.
Best foods to support healthy blood pressure:
1. Fruits and Vegetables
Brightly colored fruits and vegetables are your first line of defense against hypertension. Packed with essential vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and dietary fiber, these foods offer a plethora of benefits for your heart. The superstar nutrients in these foods include:
- Potassium: Abundant in bananas, oranges, spinach, and sweet potatoes, potassium helps counteract the effects of sodium, thereby regulating blood pressure.
- Magnesium: Found in leafy greens, nuts, seeds, and whole grains, magnesium supports blood vessel relaxation, contributing to support healthy blood pressure.
- Fiber: Fruits like apples, berries, and pears, along with vegetables like broccoli and carrots, offer fiber that aids in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and promoting heart health.
2. Whole Grains
Whole grains provide a substantial dose of heart-protective nutrients. Opting for whole grains over refined grains can significantly impact your blood pressure and overall cardiovascular health. Whole grains are rich in fiber, antioxidants, and important minerals like magnesium. They can help regulate blood sugar levels and promote steady energy throughout the day.
Look for whole grains such as quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat, and oats to replace refined grains in your diet. These grains provide sustained energy while supporting your heart health.
3. Healthy Fats
Not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, have been shown to promote heart health by reducing inflammation and supporting overall cardiovascular function. Avocados, nuts (such as almonds, walnuts, and pistachios), seeds (like flaxseeds and chia seeds), and olive oil are excellent sources of these heart-healthy fats.
Foods to Limit or Avoid:
1. High Sodium Foods
Sodium, a mineral found in salt, is a major contributor to high blood pressure. Diets high in sodium can cause your body to retain excess fluid, leading to elevated blood pressure levels. Be cautious of foods that are notorious for their high sodium content:
- Processed foods: Canned soups, instant noodles, deli meats, and pre-packaged snacks often hide high amounts of sodium.
- Condiments and sauces: Ketchup, soy sauce, and salad dressings can contain more sodium than you might expect.
To reduce sodium intake, opt for fresh, whole foods, and cook more meals at home using herbs and spices to flavor your dishes.
2. Added Sugars and Sweets
Diets high in added sugars have been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and diabetes – all factors that can contribute to hypertension. Foods and drinks with added sugars, such as sugary beverages, candies, and baked goods, should be consumed sparingly.
Instead of sugary treats, satisfy your sweet tooth with naturally sweet foods like fresh fruits. When choosing packaged foods, read labels to identify hidden sugars under various names like sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and others.
3. Processed and Trans-Fat-Rich Foods
Processed foods, often laden with unhealthy fats, can be detrimental to your heart health. Trans fats, specifically, are known to raise "bad" LDL cholesterol levels and contribute to inflammation – factors that can impact blood pressure and cardiovascular health.
Steer clear of foods high in trans fats, which are often found in:
- Fried foods: French fries, fried chicken, and other fried treats are often prepared using unhealthy fats.
- Commercially baked goods: Pastries, cakes, and cookies frequently contain trans fats to enhance texture and shelf life.
- Margarine and some spreads: Check labels for "partially hydrogenated oils," a sign of trans fats.
Instead of processed and trans fat-rich options, prioritize foods rich in healthy fats, like avocados, nuts, seeds, and olive oil.
You may also consider taking the following supplements to support heart health:
LABO Nutrition VesseCLEAR EX
VesseCLEAR EX is developed by Japan Bio Science Laboratory, the leader and pioneer in Nattokinase. It is formulated with the No.1 most researched Nattokinase NSK-SD® and Elastin F. Nattokinase NSK-SD is extracted from non-GMO soybeans which were fermented with Bacillus subtilis natto via a patented proprietary process, which results in high purity and maximal bioavailability. Nattokinase NSK-SD® is research-proven to reduce elevated pressure in hypertensive subjects and act as a powerful enzyme that naturally breaks up fibrin clotting agents, helping to dissolve blood clots and improving blood flow, thus supporting healthy blood pressure. On top of that, Elastin F, extracted from bonito fish, helps support elastic and flexible arteries. By aiding to slow down arterial stiffening, it also helps for maintaining a relatively constant pressure.
LABO Nutrition VesseCLEAR CX
VesseCLEAR CX is a multi-benefit vegan formula developed with a functional dosage of the world-best nattokinase NSK-SD® and gamma oryzanol ORYZA GAMMAX®, it is designed to help adults aged 40+ and those with compromised cardiovascular system. Nattokinase NSK-SD® can help to dissolve the web-like fibrin to disintegrate clots formed in the blood vessels, improves blood circulation and regulate blood pressure. In addition, gamma oryzanol ORYZA GAMMAX® in VesseCLEAR CX helps regulate high blood cholesterol and triglyceride levels so as to reduce the risk of plaque formation. It is also beneficial in alleviating neuropathy; helps lighten skin tone and alleviates various challenges that come with ageing. These two proprietary ingredients work synergistically to support healthy blood flow, blood pressure, and overall wellness.
LABO Nutrition CardioREGAIN
CardioREGAIN is the gold standard formula for heart health, comprising the No. 1 most researched heart nutrients – Kaneka QH Ubiquinol CoQ10, Superba2 Krill Oil, Enzogenol Pine Bark Extract and AstaReal Astaxanthin – in functional dosage to protect the heart and fuel its vital functions.
Kaneka QH® Ubiquinol is the most body-ready form of CoQ10 that provides efficient replenishment to maximize cellular energy production (to strengthen heart muscle) and antioxidant protection. Ubiquinol is up to 8 times more bioavailable than conventional CoQ10 and the proprietary Liposomal Encapsulation technology further enhanced its absorption by the body cells by up to 25 times. The addition of Astaxanthin, Pine Bark Extract, and Krill Oil works in synergy to support vascular elasticity and healthy heart and blood pressure. By supporting optimal mitochondrial (energy generator in the cell) health, it also generates energy for vital body organs.