Can you naturally lower your blood pressure? The simple answer is yes – even after receiving a diagnosis for high blood pressure, lifestyle and diet can make a significant difference in staying healthy. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as a blood pressure reading of 130/80 mm Hg or higher.
According to research by the VA, this condition is one of the most common among Veterans – affecting more than 37% of the Veteran population. Whether assessed as a primary disability or secondary to a service connected condition, Veterans can receive disability benefits for high blood pressure.
The good news is, the right benefits and healthy lifestyle changes can significantly reduce hypertension. Here are 10 foods that can naturally reduce blood pressure:
Fatty fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and herring, are full of omega-3 fatty acids – essential nutrients that we have to get from foods, since the body does not produce them naturally. These fatty acids have been proven to reduce high blood pressure, making them an important part of any diet to reduce hypertension.
Leafy green vegetables
Packed with potassium, magnesium, and fiber – AKA three of the most important ingredients for combating high blood pressure – leafy green vegetables should be a staple in the diet of anyone trying to manage hypertension. Enjoy a side salad or sautée them up with a main course; there are plenty of ways to get your greens.
Not only are berries delicious, they’re also excellent for naturally lowering high blood pressure. These tasty fruits are full of antioxidants, which protect against oxidative stress and inflammation in the body – two elements that often contribute to hypertension. Eat them plain; throw them on some yogurt; it’s hard to not love berries.
Magnesium is commonly found in nuts and seeds, especially pistachios, walnuts, and almonds. This hypertension-fighting mineral helps to naturally lower blood pressure by relaxing the smooth muscles of blood vessels – a process called vasodilation.
Similarly to nuts, seeds (such as sunflower seeds) also contain magnesium. These little seeds pack a powerful punch of nutrients, and they’re also quite easy to keep on hand as a healthy snack in between meals.
Nitrates, antioxidants, and fiber are the powerhouse trio that make beats an excellent hypertension soothing food. Nitrates contain nitric oxide, which helps dilate blood vessels and promote lower blood pressure. Research has found that just one glass of beet juice per day can reduce high blood pressure.
Who said dessert can’t be healthy? Not us. Not only is dark chocolate delicious, it also contains both nitric oxide – just like beets – and also flavonoids that can improve endothelial function – the ability of blood vessels to respond to changes in blood flow. Just keep in mind that not all chocolate has the same ingredients; you’ll want something with lower sugar and a higher cacao content (dark chocolate only) to get these benefits.
Lean proteins like chicken and tofu
Lean proteins can help reduce high blood pressure in a handful of different ways. For starters, they’re much more filling than carbohydrates, meaning they keep you fuller longer. This can contribute to healthy weight management, working against overweightness or obesity – two factors that worsen hypertension. They’re also rich in potassium, magnesium, and low in saturated fats.
Kiwi is a star in the nutrients department. This tasty green fruit is full of potassium, antioxidants, vitamins C and E, and fiber – all of which are integral in naturally lowering high blood pressure. Kiwi’s ability to reduce blood pressure has been documented in various studies, like this one.
With loads of fiber, magnesium, and a low glycemic index (meaning they keep blood sugar regulated), whole grains are a great food for managing high blood pressure. This food group includes whole wheat bread and pastas, brown rice, quinoa, oatmeal, barley, bulgur, and more.
Get support for high blood pressure and associated conditions
At MRPY Professional Services, we help Veterans get the benefits and care they deserve. Check out our 60-minute educational webinar focused on how to simplify your VA disability claims to become your own clams expert. For a deeper educational experience, sign up for our course "Master Service Connection: A Course To Maximize Your VA Disability Rating FAST!”.