Hypertension: what are the 12 best foods to lower blood pressure?

In case of hypertension, we all know that we must eat less salt. What is less known is that a moderate daily intake of Omega-3 can also lower blood pressure.

In France, high blood pressure is the most common chronic pathology. She almost touchesone in three adults. But, according to Inserm, only one in two people know it. Some risk factors, such as age, heredity, cannot be changed. Others depend on us, like food for example.

On the same subject

dash diet in practice

Thus, a new study of the University of Science and Technology of Macau (China) has just shown that the daily consumption of 2 to 3 g of Omega-3 fatty acids would significantly reduce high blood pressure.

The researchers reached this conclusion after a meta-analysis of 71 randomized controlled trials including 4973 participants aged 18 or older. Optimal intakes of Omega-3s associated with reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure have been observed with a “moderate dose”, according to the researchers, of 2 grams to 3 grams per day, in the diet or in the form of dietary supplement.

Understanding High Blood Pressure

Arterial hypertension (HTA) is characterized by a excessive blood pressure on the walls of the arteries. This wall eventually thickens and hardens, which requires an additional effort from the heart. Atherosclerotic plaques can then form and clog the arteries. Symptoms are sometimes headaches, dizziness, ringing in the ears, palpitations or nosebleeds. But hypertension is often asymptomatic, and therefore undetectable except by the blood pressure measurement performed by the doctor. Several measurements, during different consultations, will be necessary before making a diagnosis. This control is important because the complications that can arise from hypertension include kidney failure, stroke, myocardial infarction or neurodegenerative diseases.

Not all of the factors that can cause hypertension are modifiable: the risks increase with age or if you have a family history. Women should especially monitor their blood pressure while taking a hormonal contraceptive, during pregnancy or after menopause. More rarely, kidney disease or sleep apnea may be involved. However, the majority of risk factors depend on our lifestyle: tobacco, physical inactivity, stress… and of course, diet.

Hypertension: the benefits of the DASH diet

the regimeDASH has been designed precisely with the aim of influencing this cardiovascular disease through diet. DASH stands for “Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension”. In French, this gives us “Dietary approach to stop hypertension”. This regime was created in the 1990s by American researchers from the NIH (National institute of health) for a simple reason: almost a third of the inhabitants of the United States had high blood pressure (HTA ). And since 2017 and the new American definition of hypertension, they are even 46% to suffer from this disease.

In the DASH diet, sugar consumption is low, fat consumption is controlled, and the fiber content is very high. This combo makes it possible to control blood sugar and therefore prevent diabetes, but also to lower LDL-cholesterol: all risk factors for arterial hyperpension. The plant has the good part, which brings vitamins and minerals, and the sources of proteins are numerous and especially varied. They come from cereals, legumes, dairy products, nuts, lean meats and fish… but not from red meat.

The goal is to avoid saturated fats and consume good fatty acids, including omega-3s, which are effective in preventing cardiovascular disease. Finally, those following the DASH diet should be careful not to eat too much salt.

The benefits of foods rich in nitrates

Nitrates are already contained aspreservatives in meats and deli meats, in particular to prevent the development of pathogenic microorganisms. Although they get a bad rap, plant-based nitrates stimulate the production of nitric oxide. This gas will notably have a vasodilating role and plays several major roles in our good cardiovascular health. An increase in nitric oxide could then promote the dilation of the vessels and therefore work for a better tension.

A Dutch study from 2021 looked into the question by seeking to examine the impact of a diet rich in nitrate (lettuce, spinach, beetroot, radish, etc.) in patients with hypertension or with prehypertension (this is i.e. just below the hypertension threshold). And the results are promising: after 12 weeks of a diet rich in nitrates, the blood pressure of the volunteers had then dropped by 7 mm Hg.

Watch out for hidden salt!

One of the main sources of salt in the diet is bread. Because even if it is not very salty, we eat it in large quantities. As salt-free bread is not very greedy, we opt for wholemeal and sourdough bread, but without consuming it at all meals. Also be careful with mustard, soy sauce, stock cubes, condiments (pickles, capers, etc.) and certain waters. We prefer the lowest in sodium: Courmayeur, Thonon, Salvetat… Also discover the foods to absolutely avoid when you have hypertension.

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