Foods That Fight Series-High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)
I chose to do this Foods that Fight Series on High Blood Pressure because I know a lot of people who suffer from it. The American Heart Association (AMA) states that “nearly half of American adults have high blood pressure. (Many don’t even know they have it.)” By my calculations, that’s about 127.5 million people in the US going by 2019 census numbers. AMA also states that “the best way to know if you have high blood pressure it is to have your blood pressure checked.”
What is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
The AMA defines high blood pressure, or hypertension, as “when your blood pressure, the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your blood vessels, is consistently too high.”
Blood pressure is measured by the two “forces” that are created when the heart beats and rests between beats; systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the blood is pumped out of the heart and into the vessels and the diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart is in between beats. The upper number in a blood pressure reading is the systolic pressure and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure.
Here are healthy and unhealthy blood pressure ranges as recommended by the AMA.
I have chosen three foods that I believe are more commonly acceptable by the mass majority, foods that I eat, and foods that research shows can have a positive effect on combating your high blood pressure (Hypertension).
Pistachios are loaded with nutrients, antioxidants, and promotes blood vessel health. Studies have shown that pistachios are beneficial for the reduction of systolic blood pressure or the top number of a blood pressure reading.
Strawberries are not only delicious, but they contain a wide variety of antioxidants and health benefits. They contain a particular flavonoid called fisetin that has many health-related benefits including protecting against stress and inflammation, brain health, aging, and anti-cancer abilities.
There is a lot of information out there claiming that pomegranate protects from free radicals, thins blood, prevents arthritis, fights heart disease, prostate cancer, and a list of other things. One study shows that an eight week period of pomegranate juice consumption showed beneficial effects on blood pressure, serum triglycerides, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, oxidative stress and inflammation.
What can you do with this great information I just gave you? Well, I’m so glad you asked. Provided you don’t have any allergies or health related issues with the three foods mentioned here and your doctor is okay with you eating these, your mission is to find exciting and healthy ways to eat these foods. Here are some of my favorite ways:
Pistachios: I buy shelled pistachios by the bag and snack on them in between meals. These are my favorite snacking nuts.
Strawberries: In my opinion, strawberries are in the class of the most versatile fruits. I eat them when I need dessert to calm my sweet tooth. My favorite is a strawberry shortcake but for the sake of preventing hypertension, I recommend my second which is strawberries with whip cream. Make sure your whip cream is the healthier option.
Pomegranates: I have my pomegranates in the form of juice every morning. My ritual is 8 ounces of pomegranate juice mixed with 2 ounces of Tart Cherry Ginger Turmeric Tonic. I am also a fan of the Outshine Pomegranate Bars. Make sure you watch the sugar content as pomegranate is still a fruit with sugars.
I hope this information has enlightened and helped you. Please “heart” this blog and feel free to comment with other ways you eat the foods listed here and other helpful information.
Brian "B-Rob" Robinson is a Certified Sports Nutrition Coach, Certified Life Strategies Coach, Certified Personal Trainer, Youtuber, and co-founder of LEANWellonline. His YouTube channel is called thisisb-rob.
Hernández-Alonso, P., Bulló, M., & Salas-Salvadó, J. (2016). Pistachios for Health: What Do We Know About This Multifaceted Nut?. Nutrition today, 51(3), 133–138. https://doi.org/10.1097/NT.0000000000000160
Basu, A., Fu, D. X., Wilkinson, M., Simmons, B., Wu, M., Betts, N. M., . . . Lyons, T. J. (2010). Strawberries decrease atherosclerotic markers in subjects with metabolic syndrome. Nutrition Research, 30(7), 462-469. doi:10.1016/j.nutres.2010.06.016
Mann, D. (2011, January 20). Strawberries, Blueberries May Ward Off High Blood Pressure. Retrieved August 13, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20110120/strawberries-blueberries-may-ward-off-high-blood-pressure
Kandylis, P., & Kokkinomagoulos, E. (2020). Food Applications and Potential Health Benefits of Pomegranate and its Derivatives. Foods (Basel, Switzerland), 9(2), 122. https://doi.org/10.3390/foods9020122