High blood pressure affects an astonishing one in three adults in the UK, which puts them at greater risk of heart disease and stroke. As there aren’t usually any symptoms, and our likelihood of developing the condition increases with age, it’s estimated that more than four million people are undiagnosed, so be sure to ask for a check next time you visit your GP.
Whilst medications are necessary in many cases, there are certain dietary adjustments that can help and are easily incorporated into your daily routine.
Whether you’re looking to add some spice to your meals or swap your breakfast or snack for a healthier one, there are dietary adjustments that can easily be made to keep your body in its best condition.
If you’re looking to keep your health in check, here are three of the best and most easy way to keep your blood pressure low through your diet.
Foods to reduce blood pressure
A spicy diet
A 2021 study found the benefit of seasoning your food heavily with spices, herbs, garlic is not just limited to making your meals taste great 0 it’s also likely to lower your blood pressure.
Researchers from Penn State University found seasoning food with 6.5g (or about 1.3tsp) of herbs and spices every day could encourage lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure. After three four-week periods, during which the study was conducted, the team found that after four weeks on a diet with increased herbs and spices, blood pressure readings improved.
Several spices contain anti-inflammatory compounds and have wide-ranging health benefits, including turmeric – which can easily be incorporated into your diet through cooking, smoothies and lattes.
A yoghurt a day
Yogurt with berries and nuts has been a go-to healthy breakfast for years, but new research from the University of South Australia has found that a daily dose of the white stuff may be capable of reducing blood pressure too. Calcium and potassium are key minerals in regulating blood pressure and both are found in yogurt.
But not all yogurt is created equal. Avoid processed versions with added sugar and stick instead to good quality, natural yogurt, preferably with live cultures to aid gut health.
Apart from breakfast, you can use yogurt as a stand-in for mayonnaise in sandwich fillings, stir it into soup, dollop on stews, curries or jacket potatoes or blend together Greek yogurt and milk to use in place of cream in sauces.
Walnuts are healthy
Nuts are certainly one of nature’s wonder foods but the humble walnut seems to have particular powers when it comes to lowering blood pressure. Scientists at Penn State University found that study participants who ate walnuts saw a bigger reduction in blood pressure than those eating a similar fatty acid profile without eating the nuts themselves.
To increase your intake of walnuts, chop and toast a batch in a dry frying pan and keep on your countertop in an airtight container. Sprinkle over porridge or eggs in the morning, on salads or soup for lunch and over your fish, meat or veggie meal in the evening.
Enjoy a cup of tea
If you don’t already, then having a cup of herbal tea in the evening is a great habit to adopt. It can aid digestion, relaxation and prevent you from reaching for an alcoholic drink if you are so inclined. For blood pressure choose hibiscus tea, which several studies have shown to have a significant lowering effect.
Try making a delicious hibiscus iced tea by placing 1 tbsp dried hibiscus flowers, 500ml cold water, a squeeze of lemon juice and 2 tsp honey in a jug. Mix well and chill for at least an hour. To serve, strain through a fine sieve over ice.
But just a word of caution, if you are taking hydro-chlorothiazide for high blood pressure, then hibiscus tea is not advised as it may interact with the drug.
This article is kept updated with the latest information.