Did you know that high blood pressure is known as the “silent killer”? Pretty scary stuff! Many people suffer from high blood pressure (hypertension) and have no idea the that the condition is quietly damaging their bodies.
When high blood pressure is not properly controlled it can leave you with life-long health problems such as heart disease, heart attack, and even stroke.
When high blood pressure causes damage to your arteries you may experience the following:
- Narrowing of the arteries – This means that the inner lining of your arteries are compromised. When you eat fats and they enter your blood stream, they can stick to the walls of your arteries and not pass through as they should. Soon, your arteries will lose their elasticity which in turn limits the blood flow throughout your body.
- Aneurysm – When a weakened artery simply cannot take any more stress it can form a bulge or blood clot. If the clot bursts, you can experience internal bleeding and many other undesirable effects.
High blood pressure can cause damage to your heart:
- Coronary artery disease – This is the restriction of blood flow to the heart and can lead to chest pain, arrhythmias, and heart attack.
- Enlarged left heart – High blood pressure can limit the ventricles in your heart’s ability to effectively pump blood throughout your body. This can lead to cardiac arrest. And even death.
Brain damage can be a result of uncontrolled high blood pressure. Here are some events that can happen:
- Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
- Mild cognitive impairment
Other issues that can arise from having high blood pressure include:
- Damage to the kidneys
- Damage to the eyes
- Sexual dysfunction
- Bone problems
So, it really isn’t worth walking around with high blood pressure that is uncontrolled. Most of the time, high blood pressure cause damage over a period of time. However, there are instances when high blood pressure can strike quickly, in which case, you’d be in the midst of a medical emergency and should seek out help, right away.
What can happen if your blood pressure suddenly rises to dangerous levels?
Check it out:
- Loss of consciousness
- Severe damage to the aortic dissection
- Heart attack
- Chest pain
Again, not a fun list to be on!
So, what can you do to prevent all of this from happening? Well, as a baseline starting point, you can change your eating habits. If your doctor has diagnosed you with high blood pressure, I’m sure him or her has already spoken to you about foods you need to keep and foods you need to cut out.
The rest of this article is going to focus on foods that are good for keeping blood pressure within healthy levels as well as some heart-healthy recipes.
Let’s take a look at some foods you can include into your diet that may help bring your blood pressure down a few notches, shall we?
The Power of Berries
Did you know that blueberries and strawberries contain powerful antioxidants called anthocyanins? Yep! This is a type of flavonoid. In a study that was conducted with over 34k people with high blood pressure, they found that the folks who ate the highest level of anthocyanins had an 8% reduction in risk for hypertension.
Grab some berries and get to lowering that blood pressure, people!
Bananas Aren’t Just for Monkeys
The American Heart Association has said that potassium lowers the effects of sodium and tension in the walls of blood vessels. This helps bring down blood pressure.
You should aim to eat at least 4700 mg of potassium per day.
It’s Time to Drop Some “Beets”
Did you know that drinking beet juice can help lower your blood pressure in both the long and short term?
So, Chocolate Really is Good for You
A study showed that eating dark, unsweetened chocolate just might lower your blood pressure. There was a review of 15 different trials that suggested dark chocolate reduces high BP in folks with hypertension and pre-hypertension.
Make sure to choose chocolate made from 70% cocoa and only eat a small square per day.
Grab Some Kiwi Fruit
If you are only mildly hypertensive, eating a kiwi fruit per day can help bring your blood pressure back under control. Kiwis are high in vitamin C which can help improve blood pressure as was shown in an 8-week test group. These folks ate 3 kiwis per day.
So, oatmeal is super good for you and has been scientifically proven to lower blood pressure. Due to the beta-glucan residing in oats, not only will you see a reduction in blood pressure but also in cholesterol levels, too.
A review of over 28 trials showed that people who ate oats on a regular basis where able to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure levels.
Try using rolled oats instead of breadcrumbs in various recipes.
Leafy Green Veggies
Mom was right…you gotta eat your vegetables! Leafy green veggies are filled with nitrates that help manage high blood pressure levels.
Considering adding the following to your diet:
- Romaine lettuce
- Mustard greens
- Collard Greens
- Swiss chard
Not a Favorite of Count Dracula….Garlic
Did you know that garlic is a natural antibiotic and antifungal? It contains a potent compound called allicin. Allicin has been known to increase the body’s production of nitric oxide. This helps your smooth muscles to chill out and your blood vessels to dilate. These natural occurrences can help your blood pressure levels go down.
In one study, subjects who ate garlic showed a decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings.
Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods contain a lot of prebiotics and probiotics. When we feed ourselves these things we are increasing our gut health, something that is vital in terms of overall health. A study showed that consuming probiotics have a small effect on high blood pressure. But hey, small is better than none, right?
Foods that contain probiotics include:
You can also take a daily probiotic supplement which is also beneficial.
Recipes for People with High Blood Pressure
We’ve covered what high blood pressure is and how it occurs and what it can do to our health. We also looked at different foods that can help lower high blood pressure.
Now, it’s time to arm you with a few recipes that are delicious and won’t cause any more spikes to your BP. In fact, they may just lower it a bit.
Barely, Bean, and Avocado Delight
- 1 cup carrot juice
- ½ tsp thyme
- Pinch of salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- ½ cup quick cook barley
- 3 tbsps. lemon juice
- 1 tbsps. olive oil
- 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 cup diced tomatoes
- ½ of an avocado, sliced
Place the first 4 ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Then, add the barley and reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers. Cover the pan and cook until the barely is soft.
As the barely and liquid simmer, combine the lemon juice and oil in a large bowl and whisk together. Dump the barely and any remaining liquid into the bowl and toss to coat.
Now, add the beans and tomatoes to the bowl and toss them as well. Add in the avocado and gently toss.
Rice Pilaf with Fruits and Nuts
- 12 dried apricot halves
- 1 tbsp butter
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 cup rice
- ¼ tsp ground cardamom
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ tsp pepper
- 5 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- ½ cup raisins
- 1/3 cup slivered almonds
Chopped the dried apricot halves into thin slivers. Then, melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Sauté the onion, rice, cardamom, salt, and pepper until the rice is nice and toasty. This should take about 8 minutes.
Next, stir in the broth, raisins, almonds, and apricots and bring the mixture to a boil. Decrease the heat to med-low and cover and simmer until all liquid has been absorbed.
Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and serve!
Blueberry Yum Yum Coffee Cake
- 5 cups frozen blueberries (or fresh)
- 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- ½ cup butter
- 1 cup cane sugar
- 1 big egg
- 1 big egg white
- 1 tbsp lemon zest, grated
- 5 cups self-rising flour
- 1 ¼ cups milk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Then, grease, and flour a 13×9-inch baking pan.
Place the blueberries, brown sugar, and cinnamon into a bowl and toss until coated.
Now, cream the butter with the cane sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed. The butter and sugar should be light and fluffy. Add in the whole egg and egg white and beat for 2 minutes. Now, beat in the lemon zest. Reduce the speed to low and add flour alternately with milk, 1/3 at a time. You can stop the mixer from time to time to scrape the sides of the bowl.
Spread half the batter into a loaf pan and sprinkle with the blueberry mixture. Add the leftover batter on top. Give the batter a swirl with a butter knife and add the rest of the berries.
Bake in the oven for about 45 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut and serve!
Sparkling Cranberry Spritz
- 1 cup colorful sherbet
- 3 cups chilled cranberry juice
- 1 cup cold sparkling water
- ½ cup orange juice
- 2 tsps. lemon juice
Combine all of the ingredients into a large pitcher. Stir the sherbet until it melts. Serve.
Watermelon with Strawberries Salsa
- 1 cup diced watermelon
- 1 cup diced strawberries
- 4 tbsps. fresh mint, chopped
- 2 tsps. lime zest, grated
- 4 tbsps. lime juice
- 4 tsps. raw honey
Stir together all the ingredients in a bowl and serve. You can store in the fridge, covered, for up to 2 days.
Zesty Onion Dip
- 2 tbsps. dehydrated minced onion
- 2 tbsps. water
- ½ cup sour cream
- ¼ cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 medium green onion, chopped
- 2 tbsps. sweet onion, grated
- 2 tbsps. carrot, shredded
- 2 tbsps. mayo
- 1 tbsps. onion and herb seasoning, salt-free
- ½ tsp cane sugar
- ¼ tsp hot sauce
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp sea salt
Stir together the dehydrated onion and water in a small bowl. Allow to stand for about 5 minutes.
Now, in a medium bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients. Add in the rehydrated onion. Allow the dip to stand for about ten minutes. Serve after the dip has sat in the fridge for a bit as this will help it to thicken.
Buttermilk Pancakes and Cinnamon Apple Sauce
- 2 cups of apple, peeled and thinly sliced
- 5 tbsps. apple juice, divided
- 2 tbsps. brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon, divided
- 1 cup flour, whole wheat
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 big egg white
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp coconut oil
Add the apples, 3 tbsps. apple juice, brown sugar, and ½ tsp cinnamon to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 10 minutes, covered. Remove from the heat and allow to stand, covered.
Now, preheat your oven to 200 degrees F.
In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking said, and ½ tsp cinnamon. Set aside.
In another bowl, stir together the buttermilk and apple juice. Pour the mixture, egg white, and vanilla into the flour mixture and stir until just blended.
Heat up a large skillet or griddle and add oil to it. Spread the oil with a pastry brush evenly over the skillet.
Pour ¼ cup of the pancake batter onto the hot griddle and cook on each side until brown. It should take about 1 minute per side.
Place the pancakes onto a heatproof plate, cover with foil, and keep in the oven to stay warm until all the batter has been used.
Serve the pancakes with the apple cinnamon sauce.
- 2 tbsps. apricot jam
- 1 cup Coll Whip, thawed
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups of your favorite fruit
Heat the apricot jam in a small bowl in the microwave for about 20 seconds. You want it to be melted. Then, add the Cool Whip, vanilla, and cinnamon and stir. Serve with your favorite fruit.
Lemony Green beans with Almonds and Parsley
- 8 oz. fresh green beans, trimmed and cut
- 2 tbsps almonds, sliced and roasted
- 1 tbsp parsley, fresh and snipped
- ½ tsp lemon zest, grated
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
Add the beans to a large saucepan and steam them for 10 minutes with a bit of water. Then, transfer them to a serving bowl. Sprinkle on the remaining ingredients and stir to coat. Serve the beans with your favorite heart-healthy entrée, like salmon!
Sweet Potato Fries
- 2 small sweet potatoes
- ½ tsp chili powder
- ½ tsp cumin
- ½ onion powder
- ½ garlic powder
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
Cut your sweet potatoes in strips, just like French fries, and place them into a bowl.
In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients and sprinkle them over the sweet spuds. Coat them, gently. Then, spread the sweet spuds over a baking sheet and lightly spray them with the cooking spray.
Bake for about 45 minutes. The fires should be lightly browned. Turn them once with a spatula during baking.
Serve and enjoy!
Raspberry Glazed Chicken
- ¾ cup raspberry preserves
- 2 tbsps. honey mustard sauce, low-sodium
- ¼ tsp cayenne pepper, ground
- 4 boneless/skinless chicken breast halves
- 6 oz. raspberries
Spray your grill rack with cooking spray and preheat the grill to high heat.
Next, stir together the raspberry preserves, honey mustard, and cayenne. Spoon a ¼ cup of the mixture into another bowl and set aside. Now, lightly brush the chicken breast with the remaining raspberry spread mixture.
Grill the chicken for about 8 minutes on each side.
As your chicken cooks, add the fresh raspberries to the remaining raspberry preserves mixture and stir. Serve over top of the cooked chicken breasts.
Honey Balsamic Glazed Salmon
- 5 tbsps. mayo
- 5 tbsps. balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp raw honey
- 5 tsps. sesame seeds
- ¾ tsp dried oregano
- ¾ tsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 4 skinless salmon fillets, rinsed and dried with paper towels
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and spray a shallow baking dish with cooking spray.
Then, add the mayo to a small bowl and gradually whisk in the vinegar until the mixture is creamy and smooth. Whisk in the remaining ingredients (not the fish).
Place the salmon in the prepared baking pan. Spread the mayo sauce on top of the fish.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until the salmon is flaky and fork tender.
Cranberry Glazed Pork
- 1 pound pork tenderloin
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- ½ tsp lemon pepper seasoning, salt-free
- 2/3 cup whole-berry cranberry sauce, I liked the canned variety
- 1/3 cup orange marmalade jelly
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
Preheat your oven to 450 degrees F.
Now, lightly coat a 13×9 baking dish with cooking spray or butter. Place your tenderloin into the pan. Sprinkle with the garlic powder and lemon pepper seasoning. Press the spices into the tenderloin with your fingers.
Roast the tenderloin for about 15 minutes.
As your pork is roasting, stir together the cranberry sauce, marmalade, and cinnamon together in a bowl. Place about ¼ cup of the mixture into another bowl and set aside. You’ll be using this sauce when serving the pork.
Once the pork tenderloin has roasted for the 15 minutes, take it out of the oven. Spoon the larger portion od cranberry sauce over the meat.
Now, decrease the oven temperature to 350 degrees F and continue to roast the pork for another 30 minutes.
When cooking completes, remove the meat from the oven and cover, loosely, with foil. Allow the pork tenderloin to rest for about 10 minutes before carving and serving.
I hope you enjoy these recipes and are successful on your journey to achieving healthier blood pressure.