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A dietician recommends five foods to manage high blood pressure

Published on:17 June 2021, 16:20pm IST
Not just medication, your diet can go a long way in helping you manage hypertension. Here are five foods for high blood pressure you must nosh on.
Dr Sharanya S Shastry
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Keep your blood pressure under control with the help of these foods. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

Hypertension is a serious medical condition that significantly increases the risk of heart, brain, kidney and other diseases. Stress, obesity, excessive smoking, alcohol consumption, and an increased intake of processed foods in the daily diet are a few probable causes of hypertension. High blood pressure often does not have any noticeable symptoms, but persistent headaches leading to dizziness can be symptoms to look for. 

If you have elevated blood pressure, then you must follow a DASH diet. The DASH diet majorly encourages eating seeds, good quality fat, whole grains, coloured fruits and vegetables as they’re rich in antioxidants and flavonoids. Also, it is important to keep a tab on the salt while cooking. Hence make sure you don’t add extra salt to your food, and limit your salt intake to 2 to 3 mg per day (which is less than a teaspoon).

While you’re at it, include these five superfoods in your diet:
1. Foxtail millet

According to a recent clinical study, foxtail millet can control elevated blood pressure significantly. Hence a millet preparation is advisable. You can eat foxtail millet in the form of a khichdi with dal/rasam, idli, or kheer.

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2. Green leafy vegetables

You can’t go wrong with vegetables when it comes to your health. Carotenoids, which serve as antioxidants and free your body of potentially toxic substances are abundant in these foods. Spinach, amaranth, Mexican mint (doddapatre), and drumstick leaves are fantastic sources of iron, antioxidants and nitrates making them ideal for people with high blood pressure. The only thing to keep in mind is green leafy vegetables should be consumed in the cooked form as the raw form comes with excess sodium and oxalates.

3. Fruits like orange, jamun, and mango

Fruits are particularly good since they contain essential vitamins and minerals like potassium that help in decreasing blood pressure. Hence a local fruit a day keeps hypertension at bay. Banana is a good alternative to these fruits as it is a good source of potassium which is an antidote to increased sodium levels.

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4. Fish and lean chicken

Fish is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids as well as a few vitamins and minerals which help in lowering blood pressure and reduce inflammation with the aid of omega-3 fatty acids. Similarly, chicken is a good source of protein which is required to maintain a healthy weight along with giving good satiety as well. Hence chicken and fish consumed in the form of a curry or soup twice a week is not harmful.

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5. Flaxseeds

Dry roasted flaxseed or powdered flaxseed when consumed on a weekly basis has shown to decrease elevated blood pressure. The best way to have it is to add a teaspoon of flaxseeds to your fruit bowl or a tbsp of powdered flaxseed in a bowl of yoghurt or curd.

Fewer than 1 in 5 people with hypertension have the problem under control. Hence, simple changes in diet, sleep cycle and physical activity can prove highly beneficial in managing hypertension. As the country battles the pandemic, everyone is struggling with high levels of stress and anxiety. It’s all the more crucial in these times to focus on our diet and lifestyle.

Dr Sharanya S Shastry Dr Sharanya S Shastry

Dr Sharanya S Shastry, Dietician at Apollo Spectra Hospital, Koramangala, Bangalore