50 Indian Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
Restrict the intake of salt to ¼ tsp – 1½ tsp per day depending on the severity of high blood pressure. Here is a list of Indian foods that will help you maintain your blood pressure or even better to reduce your blood pressure.
Reasons why these Indian foods lower blood pressure.
1. Bajra : Not high on sodium count and being a good source of fiber, bajra helps to manage blood pressure well.
2. Barley : The soluble fiber in barley is known to reduce cholesterol levels, blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. Whole wheat : Whole wheat is a good source of potassium and thus a welcome addition in a diet for hypertension.
4. Jowar : Packed with plenty of potassium, phosphorus and magnesium, jowar keeps blood pressure under check.
5. Wheat flour : Always prefer wheat flour over maida, as wheat flour has more fiber which will keep you satiated for more time.
6. Ragi : Also known as ‘Finger millet’ it’s a boon for hypertensives aiming to lose weight due to its high fiber content.
7. Brown rice : Brown rice has slightly more fiber than white rice so it is preferred. But use it in restricted amounts only.
8. Rice flakes : Rice flakes has a good potassium count which is beneficial for hypertension. But those also suffering from diabetes along with hypertension must avoid poha because of its high glycemic index.
9. Bulgur wheat : Bulgur wheat fairs well on magnesium count, this helps to relax the muscles and control high blood pressure.
10. Oats : The soluble fiber ‘beta glucagon’ in oats is known to accomplish blood pressure control.
11. Quinoa : Quinoa is one of the best sources of protein. Its high potassium and magnesium levels helps knock down excessive blood pressure and cholesterol both.
12. Buckwheat : Though buckwheat may not have direct impact on blood pressure, but its high fiber count is beneficial to maintain heart health.
13. Urad dal : The high fiber, potassium and magnesium qualifies urad dal in the list of allowed foods for high blood pressure.
14. Chawli : Low sodium and high potassium levels, has made chawli (cow peas) beneficial for hypertension.
15. Moong : Most commonly eaten in every household, they are best when sprouted. Its potassium count and low glycemic index (29) makes it a wise choice for hypertensives suffering from heart disease and diabetes both.
16. Moong dal : Moong dal has similar benefits as moong, as it is the split version of moong.
17. Masoor dal : Masoor is also a good source of phosphorus and magnesium, both of which help in maintaining normal heartbeat. Potassium maintains heart rhythm and blood pressure both.
18. Matki : Also called as ‘moth beans’ they show low on sodium count and thus suitable for managing high blood pressure. The fiber in matki further gives a helping hand in losing weight too.
19. Dry green peas : Dried green peas are rich in soluble and low in fat. The help keep heart in good health while maintaining blood pressure.
20. Rajma : The magnesium, potassium, fiber and protein from rajma is beneficial in managing blood pressure.
21. Ladies finger : Bhindi is fiber rich vegetable which helps to prevent cholesterol accumulation and clogging of arteries. This, in turn, helps to maintain normal blood flow and pressure.
22. Brinjal : Brinjal contains negligible amounts of sodium and will not lead to hike in blood pressure. Further its low glycemic index and high antioxidant count helps to scavenge free radicals and reduce inflammation, thus protecting heart.
23. Onion : The sulfur in onions act as a blood thinner and prevents blood clotting too. This in turn would maintain blood pressure and reduce the chances of heart attack.
24. Bottle gourd : This water-filled low sodium vegetable helps to regulate blood pressure and ensures a proper blood flow to all parts of the body.
25. Pumpkin : The low sodium (7 mg / cup) and high potassium count (241.2 mg / cup) have emerged as a means to manage blood pressure and thus reduce the risk of strokes.
26. Tomato : The antioxidant lycopene in tomato bags the credit here. It helps to maintain blood pressure while protecting heart health. A glass of unsalted tomato juice is often suggested to hypertensives to keep blood pressure at bay.
27. Bitter gourd (karela) : Bitter gourd is a vegetable which has fair amounts of potassium and almost nil sodium. Moreover its low glycemic index makes it high suitable of diabetic hypertensives.
28. Green peas : Green peas being loaded with fiber without much sodium, which makes them a clever choice to manage high blood pressure. They are cholesterol-lowering as well. So those looking for a healthy veggie to lose weight and manage blood pressure can go for it.
29. Cucumber : Cucumber is a water-filled vegetable which helps flush out toxin. The fair amounts of potassium facilitate blood pressure management.
30. French beans : French beans provide very minimal amounts of calories and because of its fair amounts of potassium, it can safely be added to a hypertensive along with a weight loss diet.
31. Mushrooms : A low sodium vegetable is always suggested for hypertension. Mushrooms are one such classic example. Go ahead and explore its versatility.
32. Garlic : The active ingredient ‘allicin’ in garlic helps to control blood pressure. The best move is to chew on chopped garlic, but you can also use it in cooking. Only remember to cook it minimal.
33. Cluster beans : It’s one of the highest source of fiber with minimal calories in vegetable category. Offering just 16 calories in a cup, this vegetable should be on top of the list for those on weight loss target while coping with hypertension.
34. Celery : The phytochemicals in celery helps relax the arteries and reduce blood pressure. Include them in salads or make a hot bowl of soup out of it.
35. Apple : Soluble fiber and antioxidants in apple has shown to protect the blood vessels and boost their elasticity thus maintaining proper blood flow.
36. Orange : Some recent studies have proven a positive relation between vitamin C and blood pressure control. It helps to remove excess fluid from the body.
37. Banana : Banana is known for its potassium value it holds. This in controlled amounts may prove beneficial to hypertensive, but those aiming to lose weight or have diabetes should avoid it.
38. Berries : You can go in for strawberries, blueberries and cranberries, but fresh ones and not canned. The flavonoids in berries will help to lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels both. This is a key to healthy heart and a healthy you.
39. Amla : A shot of amla juice has been proven to control and prevent high blood pressure. The vitamin C in amla is known to be key beneficial nutrient.
40. Pear : Pear are fiber brimming with negligible sodium and fair amounts of potassium. They perfectly fit a hypertensive menu also aiming to lose weight and stay healthy.
41. Plum : The anthocyanins present in the red-purple coloured plum is the base for controlling blood pressure. Besides their zero sodium level is an added benefit for those with high blood pressure.
42. Sweet lime : Flavourful citrus fruit sweet lime also is a rich source of vitamin C, which helps to manage hypertension. Though not very high in magnesium, its potassium count is good.
43. Peach : Not very high in calories, fats or carbs peach can be enjoyed by obese hypertensive people. Just remember to avoid the canned peach as that will contain excess sodium and that would counter-effect the high potassium content of this fruit.
44. Chickoo : The magnesium in chickoo maintains the elasticity of the blood vessels and its potassium count is favorable for those with high blood pressure too. However its glycemic index is high and should be avoided by diabetic hypertensives.
45. Watermelon : Watermelon is yet another fruit with fair amounts of vitamin C and potassium – both the nutrients which are important to manage high blood pressure. But due to its high glycemic load, it should be restricted if you have diabetes along with high BP.
46. Papaya : Papaya being a low sodium fruit can be enjoyed by those with high blood pressure. Cut it, chop it and enjoy it!
47. Guava : Full of fiber and antioxidant, guava is known for controlling cholesterol count, maintaining heart health and keeping blood pressure under check.
48. Curd : Curd is a probiotic and a very good source of vegetarian protein. Prefer curd made with buffalo’s milk of which the fat layer has been trimmed after boiling. This is because buffalo’s milk is low in sodium as compared to low-fat milk and cow’s milk.
49. Buttermilk : Enjoy a glass of buttermilk made with curd as mentioned above, to have a feeling of satiety and avoid unhealthy eating which could otherwise lead to weight gain and further increased blood pressure.
50. Paneer : Paneer is yet another dairy product which can be enjoyed by hypertensives. It is high in protein and a very good choice for vegetarians especially. The phosphorus and potassium in it can together benefits manage hypertension.
Causes and Types of Blood Pressure
In 90-95% of high Blood Pressure (B.P) cases, the cause remains unknown. In fact, you can have high blood pressure for years without being aware of it. Regularly maintaining a strict and healthy diet pattern is thus a good idea for everyone. High blood pressure or hypertension can be classified on the basis of cause as follows:
1. Primary High B.P is the most common. Among the uncontrollable factors whose combined effects dispose one to this type of hypertension are:
• Heredity: If your parents or other close blood relatives have high blood pressure, you're more likely to develop it.
• Age and sex: High B.P usually occurs in people over the age of 35. Men are at a higher risk and seem to develop it most often between the age of 35 and 55. For women, pregnancy (temporary hypertension which disappears after delivery) and menopause can be the disposing factors.
2. Secondary High B.P is caused by a specific abnormality in one of the organs or systems of the body. Factors causing secondary hypertension can be controlled to maintain blood pressure levels. These include:
• Obesity: Excessive fat deposition around the blood vessels, and blood clots result in narrowing of the arteries, blocking the blood flow to the heart and leading to high blood pressure. In obese people, the heart has to exert more to supply blood to the various parts of the body, which then leads to increased B.P.
• Excess salt (sodium) intake: Sodium plays a major role in regulating blood pressure by maintaining the fluid and electrolyte balance in our body. Too much sodium (through intake of salt or sodium-rich foods, however increases the volume of blood, and the heart has to work harder to pump this increased volume of blood to all the tissues in the body. This causes high B.P. Excess sodium also leads to contraction of the smaller blood vessels, which normally regulate blood flow and blood pressure. This lessens the volume of blood that is returned to the heart causing B.P to rise.
• Excessive alcohol intake and smoking: Alcohol and smoking damages the blood vessels and thus causes high B.P.
• Lack of physical activity: A sedentary lifestyle increases the likelihood of being overweight and can lead to high B.P.
• Stress: Too much stress also damages the blood vessels and can cause high B.P.
• Drugs: Women taking oral contraceptives have a greater risk of developing high B.P. The side effects of certain medications can also elevate B.P.
7 Signs and Symptons of Blood Pressure
High Blood Pressure usually presents no clear symptoms and has been labelled ‘the silent killer’. In other words, the disease can progress without symptoms (silently) to finally develop one or more of its several potentially fatal complications such as heart attack, kidney diseases, stroke, etc. However, a few common warning signs and symptoms of high blood pressure are:
3. Impaired vision
4. Shortness of breath
5. Pain over the heart
6. Unexplained tiredness
The presence of any of these symptoms may indicate the beginning of high B.P and a person experiencing them must consult a doctor for appropriate medication.
Diagnosis of High Blood Pressure
The easiest and most reliable way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have your B.P checked regularly. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). The average ideal B.P levels are 120/80 for young people, and 140/90 for older people. Levels equal to or higher than these indicate that you may be suffering from mild, moderate or severe B.P. It is very important to initiate the right treatment once you discover what level of high B.P you suffer from.
*Consume in moderate quantities occasionally.
**To make low-fat milk at home, boil buffalo’s milk, cool it for 3 to 4 hours and remove the top layer of cream. Repeat this procedure 2 to 3 times and use the milk as required or use it to make its products like curds, buttermilk and paneer. These can be consumed in restricted amounts daily.
8 Tricks to cut Sodium Levels for controlling Blood Pressure
1. Lose weight if overweight.
2. Always cook food with measure amount of salt.
3. Restrict the intake of salt to ¼ tsp – 1½ tsp per day depending on the severity of high blood pressure.
4. Use low sodium substitutes like spices, herbs and garlic to add flavor to your food.
5. Make so called ‘fruits and vegetables’ (from the allowed list) your meal friends. They contain calcium and potassium, which help to regulate high blood pressure.
6. Add a dose of fibre to your diet by including a bowl of sprouts daily. This helps to remove excessive fat and cholesterol from our body.
7. Be physically active. Exercise for at least ½ an hour daily.
8. Have your medication in prescribed amounts daily.