Blood pressure is the measure of blood pressure in the circulatory system. Healthy or normal blood pressure is characterized by more than 120 over 80 and less than 140 over 90 (120 / 80-140 / 90). If it is above this range, for example 150/100, high blood pressure is assumed, which could be cause for concern.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the blood pressure extends the artery walls. This pressure can damage blood vessels, often leading to heart disease, strokes, and other life-threatening problems.
Aside from all the bad news, there is some good news in the form of healthy foods that can prevent, reduce, and even reverse heart damage from high blood pressure. Here are five of these foods.
Oatmeal has long been known for its heart-healthy benefits. It was in 1995 that the FDA officially approved a heart health claim from The Quaker Oats Company. In fact, this was the first FDA-approved food-based health claim to be marketed in the packaging of a product.
Now, 23 years later, Quaker oatmeal and several other whole oat foods have the FDA “Heart Healthy” seal of approval. These heart-healthy benefits come from the ability of oats to provide high levels of fiber, low fat and sodium.
Bananas have several healthy vitamins like vitamins C and B-6. They also provide carbohydrates, protein, fiber and magnesium. But what bananas are best known for is one of the best things for your heart: potassium.
Potassium helps lower blood pressure by balancing the negative effects of salt. Salt retains water, which can be problematic if the kidneys cannot remove it. The more fluid you have in your body, the higher your blood pressure will be.
If bananas are not your thing, that’s fine. There are several other ways to get this important potassium. One that tops the list is potatoes. It contains approximately 897 mg of potassium in a potato. That is 25 percent of the recommended amount.
Just make sure your potatoes are not in the form of very salty potato chips.
4. Dark chocolate
There are so many heart-healthy benefits of dark chocolate, almost too many to list. In a 100 gram bar with 70-85% cocoa, it contains fiber, iron, magnesium, copper, manganese and a lot of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium.
Research has shown that dark chocolate can improve blood circulation and lower blood pressure. A 2015 study found that eating dark chocolate was associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study suggests that up to 100 grams of dark chocolate a day may be associated with a lower risk of CVD.
However, keep in mind that 100 grams is a fairly large amount and contains a substantial amount of calories (647 to be precise), as well as 42 grams of fat and 24 grams of sugar.
Berries like blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries … really everything the word berry contains is a good source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, micronutrients and fiber.
Dietary fiber has been linked to reduced blood pressure for almost 40 years. But just recently, the rest of the berry benefits were associated with it.
So pour yourself oatmeal, top it with berries, bananas (which are also technically berries), shave dark chocolate over them and give yourself the healthiest meal of the day.