What to eat to lower blood pressure – 3 Recipes Ideas


What to eat to lower blood pressure

Here are some great foods and drinks ideas that one of our Registered Dietitian, Jong Min Lee, recommends for people with high blood pressure. Scroll down to the end to find out the easy homemade recipes!

1. Foods: More Potassium, Less Sodium

It is widely known that consuming more sodium leads to a rise in blood pressure. But did you know that consuming more potassium has been shown to decrease blood pressure? The modern western diet, which we are accustomed to, is rich in processed foods and dietary sodium, but low in potassium, which means a decreased potassium-to-sodium ratio. The ratio is important because these two specific electrolytes are essential to our bodies and are meant to interplay with each other, allowing for physiological balance (known as homeostasis).

◆ Potassium

  • A higher intake of potassium has been shown to decrease blood pressure. [1, 2]

  • Americans ages 20 and over consume 3.016g (men) and 2.320mg (women) on average of potassium per day. [3]

  • The DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) recommends a daily intake of 4.7g of potassium for healthy adults.

  • Foods such as fruits and vegetables, dairy, legumes, meats, poultry, and fish are rich in potassium. Whole wheat and whole grains possess higher amounts of potassium than their white counterparts.

  • Potassium rich foods include (1 g = 1000 mg):

Dried apricots (1900mg), dark chocolate (830mg), dates (696mg), salmon (628mg), white beans (561mg), spinach (558mg), baked potato with skin (535mg), cod (516mg), avocado (485mg), pork chop (449mg), Brussels sprouts (389mg), bananas (358mg), low-fat yogurt (234mg), orange juice (200mg), and low-fat milk (154mg) [4]


A sample meal of spinach salad (558mg) with a half avocado (485mg), grilled salmon (628mg), and half of a medium baked potato with skin (535mg) would include 2206mg of potassium (excluding the consideration of dressing or the way it is cooked—preferably this meal should be cooked with minimal salt). This meal would provide 47% of the recommended daily potassium intake.


◆ Sodium

  • On the other hand, excessive sodium consumption can lead to cardiovascular diseases by causing water retention, which leads to an increase in blood volume, thus applying more pressure on our blood vessels.

  • Americans consume more than 3400mg of sodium on average per day.

  • According to the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines of Americans, it is recommended to consume less than 2300mg of sodium per day, that is, 1 teaspoon of table salt.

  • While sodium can be found naturally in foods, many processed foods add and by adding salt during process (per 100g) [5]

  • The following foods are included with their amount of sodium (1 g = 1000 mg): Fruits, vegetables, oils, and cereals: ~20mg, with few exceptions Meat and fishery products: 40-120mg Whole milk: ~50mg Some shellfish, such as mussels and oysters: 500mg Frozen foods: ~700mg 1 tablespoon of soy sauce: ~900mg Bread: ~1500-2000mg Meats and cheeses: ~2500mg

2. Meals: More home cooked, less prepared and processed

The truth behind prepared and processed meals

Nowadays, more and more people purchase prepared meals and eat out instead of cooking meals at home. But when we eat out, we do not know what ingredients are being used, which means we are not aware of the sodium and fat content we are consuming. How much salt was utilized to produce that yummy flavor? How much butter did they use? What type of oil did they use to cook? Learning to cook in a simple, healthy way will help us to be healthier while also making us feel better.

Benefits of eating home-cooked meals:

  • Better diet quality (e.g. more fruits and vegetable consumption => less sodium and fat content) [7]

  • Normalizing of BMI and body fat. [8]

  • A positive influence on self-esteem, quality of life, and socialization. [9]

👉Doctorhere’s food experiment: LASAGNA

  • Prepared Lasagna (from the popular brand)

  • Home-cooked Lasagna (homemade) fiber-rich, low-sodium lasagna

Ingredients comparison

◇ Ingredients for prepared lasagna

Water, tomato paste, semolina wheat flour, cooked beef, low-fat mozzarella cheese, dry cured cottage cheese, 2% or less of modified cornstarch, part-skim mozzarella cheese, modified cornstarch, soy sauce, wheat flour, dried onions, salt, sugar, parmesan cheese, spices, garlic powder

◇ Ingredients for homemade lasagna (2 servings)

1 cup marinara sauce (tomatoes, tomato puree, garlic puree, extra virgin olive oil, onions, salt, garlic, basil, oregano, black pepper), 4 lasagna noodles, ¼ large zucchini, 1/2 baby eggplant, ½ medium onion, ½ medium carrot, 4 baby bella, 1 small tomato, ¼ lbs lean ground beef (cooked and drained), ½ cup part-skim mozzarella shredded cheese, 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese, 1tsp italian herb powder, 2tsp red pepper, black pepper

(photo shows 1 serving)


Nutrition comparison (1 serving)

As this food comparison demonstrates, the homemade lasagna contained more fiber, protein, and potassium, and less sodium.



3. Drink more tea and water

TEA CONSUMPTION

  • Drinking tea on a regular basis is known to help lower blood pressure. A high flavonoids content in black tea (that is fermented) and catechins in green tea are contributors to lowering blood pressure. A meta-analysis study has supported that drinking black or green tea showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure (-2.36mmHg on average) and diastolic blood pressure (-1.77mmHg on average). The teas, taken one to three times daily, were consumed in beverage form as well as capsule form and powder packets. [10]

  • Bioactive compounds such as polyphenols, carotenoids, ascorbic acid, and tannins of hibiscus (so called “sour tea”) provide anti-inflammatory properties, which leads to a reduction in blood pressure. A meta-analysis study demonstrated that when taken one to three times daily in tea or capsule form, hibiscus tea consumption significantly reduced systolic blood pressure (-7.10mmHg on average). [11]

CAFFEINE

  • According to the FDA, 400mg of caffeine a day is generally safe for the general population. However, some variation exists in regards to caffeine sensitivity and metabolism.

  • 1 (8 ounce) cup of black tea or green tea contains 30-50mg of caffeine, while 1 cup of coffee contains 80-100mg caffeine.

WATER CONSUMPTION

  • Our body is made up of more than 60% water. Water plays a role in helping all of our body organs function properly. When our body lacks water, we may suffer various symptoms such as fatigue and dizziness.

  • So how much water should we drink? Our necessary water intake may vary depending on many factors such as physical activity, season, metabolism, weight, age, and gender. But according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, men should drink about 12.5 cups or 3 liters, and women should drink 9 cups, or 2 liters per day. [13]

  • How can we make sure that we drink enough water? First of all, when we wake up in the morning, it’s good to have 1 cup of water to wake up your body. Also, carry a water bottle with you throughout the day, filling it up regularly as you drink. When eating out, choose water (tap, still, or sparkling) instead of other drinks. If you want a little bit of flavor, just ask for water with lemon slices. And if you want more flavor at home, you can experiment with different options, such as lemon, lime, cucumber, basil, and mint.

In summary, eating more potassium-rich foods and less sodium-loaded foods; eating more home cooked meals and less prepared and processed meals; and drinking more tea and water helps naturally lower your blood pressure. However, everyone’s lifestyle and preferences are different, and each of these steps is easier said than done. Therefore, DoctorHere’s healthcare team is here for you to provide a one-on-one personalized plan. If you would like to know more about DoctorHere, please visit www.doctorhere.com/membership

Related Article

  1. Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure [3 Easy Exercise Tips]

  2. What Is Normal Blood Pressure for Men & Women?

References

[1] Stone, M. S., Martyn, L., & Weaver, C. M. (2016). Potassium intake, bioavailability, hypertension, and glucose control. Nutrients, 8(7), 444.

[2] Weaver, C. M. (2013). Potassium and health. Advances in Nutrition, 4(3), 368S-377S.

[3] Va, P., Dodd, K. W., Zhao, L., Thompson-Paul, A. M., Mercado, C. I., Terry, A. L., … & Cogswell, M. E. (2019). Evaluation of measurement error in 24-hour dietary recall for assessing sodium and potassium intake among US adults—National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 2014. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 109(6), 1672-1682.

[4] Lanham-New, S. A., Lambert, H., & Frassetto, L. (2012). Potassium. Advances in nutrition, 3(6), 820-821.

[5] Strazzullo, P., & Leclercq, C. (2014). Sodium. Advances in Nutrition, 5(2), 188-190.

[6] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2021). Sodium and Food Sources. https://www.cdc.gov/salt/food.htm

[7] Wolfson, J. A., Leung, C. W., & Richardson, C. R. (2020). More frequent cooking at home is associated with higher Healthy Eating Index-2015 score. Public Health Nutrition, 23(13), 2384-2394.

[8] Mills, S., Brown, H., Wrieden, W., White, M., & Adams, J. (2017). Frequency of eating home cooked meals and potential benefits for diet and health: cross-sectional analysis of a population-based cohort study. International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, 14(1), 1-11.

[9] Farmer, N., Touchton-Leonard, K., & Ross, A. (2018). Psychosocial benefits of cooking interventions: a systematic review. Health Education & Behavior, 45(2), 167-180.

[10] Li, D., Wang, R., Huang, J., Cai, Q., Yang, C. S., Wan, X., & Xie, Z. (2019). Effects and mechanisms of tea regulating blood pressure: evidences and promises. Nutrients, 11(5), 1115.

[11] Ellis, L. R., Zulfiqar, S., Holmes, M., Marshall, L., Dye, L., & Boesch, C. (2022). A systematic review and meta-analysis of the effects of Hibiscus sabdariffa on blood pressure and cardiometabolic markers. Nutrition reviews, 80(6), 1723-1737.

[12] Hodgson, J. M., Puddey, I. B., Burke, V., Beilin, L. J., & Jordan, N. (1999). Effects on blood pressure of drinking green and black tea. Journal of Hypertension, 17(4), 457-463.

[13] Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. (2022, June 23). How Much Water Do You Need. https://www.eatright.org/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/how-much-water-do-you-need