Tips and techniques

These foods can help lower blood pressure

Whether you're trying to avoid high blood pressure or you're already suffering from hypertension, your diet is having more of an effect than you think.
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When it comes to reducing blood pressure, dietary recommendations urge a lifestyle lower in fat, sodium and alcohol intakes.

And that’s across the board; whether your blood pressure is currently sitting at a normal level or you’ve already been diagnosed with hypertension, a healthy lifestyle is your biggest protection against heart disease.

But as well as cutting some foods out, there are some foods you could be working into your day-to-day diet that could benefit you more than you realise.

Bananas: Too much salt can send blood pressure through the roof, so as well as cutting down on sodium, load up on potassium. This nifty mineral can counter the ill effects of a high-sodium diet, and research suggests that people suffering from hypertension can benefit from upping their potassium intake.

Fish: Research suggests that tucking in to fish a couple of times a week could reduce the risk of heart disease by up to 30 per cent, thanks to omega-3 fats. These essential fatty acids lower triglycerides and blood pressure; try this incredible whole fish with green onion mayo for your next Sunday dinner.

Whole fish with green onion mayo

Leafy greens: There’s a reason your mum told you to eat your greens; kale, spinach, rocket and romaine lettuce are all high in potassium and can do the same thing for your blood pressure as bananas. Get some spinach and kumara gnocchi on the go tonight, or opt for a grilled chicken with warm cos lettuce salad.

Blueberries: When it comes to topping lists of health-boosting foods, blueberries are ahead of the game. Flavonoids, a natural compound found in the fruit, is believed to prevent hypertension and could help reduce blood pressure – as well as reversing prematurely greying hair.

Potatoes: Spuds up! A baked potato, skin on, is actually the best source of potassium around, boasting 721 mg of the stuff. It’s also high in fibre, which is necessary for a healthy diet. Swap out your regular ham sandwich for baked mushroom and broccoli potatoes.

Grilled chicken with warm cos lettuce salad

Beetroot: After a study by Queen Mary University demonstrated the beneficial effects of drinking beetroot juice on cardiovascular health, researchers believe that it’s the nitrates present in the purple vegetable that can help to lower blood pressure. These roasted beetroots with potato and paprika mayo make a totally delicious lunch option, or side for your next barbecue.

Porridge: As well as steadying blood sugar levels, kick-starting your day with a bowl of porridge loads your body up with soluble fibre. Plus, it’s low in fat and sodium; top yours with sliced banana and a handful of blueberries for a breakfast working overtime for your heart health.

Cut out salt: Regardless of whether you suffer from hypertension or normal blood pressure, cutting down on salt can have a significant effect. Most sodium comes from processed foods, so keep cooking up a storm with deliciously fresh, whole foods for a happier, healthier you.

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