By Ann Lindemann, Senior Health Writer
High blood pressure is a sneaky adversary as it can quietly damage your body for years before symptoms develop.
However, with careful monitoring, treatment and lifestyle changes, you can control your high blood pressure to reduce your risk of life-threatening complications.
Recent studies now suggest that certain foods can work naturally to dilate blood vessels so the heart doesn’t have to work so hard.
Add more of these four fabulous foods to mealtimes to help lower your blood pressure numbers… deliciously!
1. Get the Blues
Studies show that even one serving of blueberries a week can help lower your risk of high blood pressure. Turns out most berries contain natural compounds called anthocyanins that protect against hypertension.
2. Cereal Sensation
Harvard University researchers discovered that whole grain, high fiber cereals (think oatmeal, bran flakes, etc.) can reduce your chance of developing hypertension. Double the benefits by topping your cereal with berries.
3. Keep the Beet
According to a recent study published in Hypertension, drinking a glass of nitrate-rich beet juice can lower blood pressure within just a few hours! The nitrate in the juice had the same effect as taking a nitrate tablet, the researchers discovered. Other veggies like spinach, cabbage and, of course, whole beets, deliver similar results.
4. Dark Delights
Here’s an easy pill to swallow: eat a one-ounce square of dark chocolate daily to help lower blood pressure. According to Harvard researchers, the benefits are especially high in folks who already have hypertension. Dark chocolate is high in flavonoids, natural compounds that cause dilation of the blood vessels. Opt for chocolates that contain 50 to 70 percent cacao.