High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is estimated to be behind 50% of deaths caused by heart disease and strokes. It is of grave concern that so many people suffer from high blood pressure – an estimated 43% of the Spanish population.
Being aware of this condition and understanding how to reduce it and keep it at bay, is therefore very important. As is so common in virtually all health matters, prevention is key for avoiding serious medical complications.
What foods help lower and raise hypertension?
The Spanish Heart Foundation has drawn up a list of foods that are highly recommended for reducing and preventing high blood pressure:
- Lean meats, especially poultry
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Nuts, especially walnuts
- Whole grains, seeds and legumes
- Low-fat yogurt
- Dark chocolate
- Fruits like lemons, bananas, strawberries, raspberries and blueberries
As for foods to avoid because they contribute to hypertension, these include:
- Processed foods, especially sweets and pastries
- Butter and margarine
- Pickles and preserves
- Fried foods
- Whole dairy
- Cold cuts and bacon
- Red meat
Further tips for keeping hypertension at bay
In addition to maintaining a balanced and healthy diet, there are other lifestyle practices one can implement to help lower high blood pressure:
- Exercise. Just 30-minutes of daily physical exercise has a myriad of health benefits, including the lowering of blood pressure.
- Tobacco. Amongst tobacco’s numerous negative effects we can include that of high blood pressure.
- Sleep. Getting a good night’s rest is good for our mind and body. Poor quality sleep has been demonstrated can contribute to higher blood pressure.
- Stress. Worrying about things outside of our control, demanding too much of ourselves, not enjoying any down-time, and exposing ourselves to anxiety-inducing factors are bad lifestyle habits that raise our blood pressure and have negative effects on our health.
- Social environment. Keeping good company and an active social life can help improve one’s mood and lower blood pressure.