Diet and high blood pressure

  1. Specific foods which can lower blood pressure.

    1. Chocolate. 40-100g per day (but be careful of the sugar content or the effects may be negated!). Dark chocolate is probably best, but not proven. Hot cocoa (not hot chocolate) with a dash of sugar is a good way of consuming the cocoa.
    2. Curry leaves (pictured above – can be bought at Indian stores). Use in cooking or raw. 11 leaves per day seems to be optimum dose. (The leaves keep well in the freezer)
    3. Celery – 4 stalks per day. Consider eating with a dash of nut butter.
    4. Green leafy vegetables, tomatoes, bananas – high in potassium and magnesium which helps lower blood pressure as well as high in fibre.
    5. Black beans – high in folate which reduces BP.
    6. Dandelion tea, dandelion leaves in salad. They act as a mild diuretic as well as increasing potassium.
    7. Oats – up to ¾ cup wholegrain oats per day. But avoid this if you are intolerant of gluten.
    8. Berries – fresh or frozen, up to 1 cup per day. High in fibre, potassium and magnesium.
  1. Salt and foods which raise blood pressure

    1. Many people with hypertension are salt sensitive, although it is hard to prove. Salt should be reduced as much as possible and this usually involves avoiding pre-made food – either in packets from the supermarket or in cafes/restaurants as salt is our commonest flavour enhancer and preservative.
    2. Avoid pre-packaged drinks – these often contain hidden salt.
    3. You can use a little salt on food if you wish as you can monitor the amount. Consider using ‘lo-salt’ which is a mostly potassium salt.
    4. Liquorice, ginger, aniseed, rosemary can all raise BP a little. Avoid if possible.
    5. Sugar raises blood pressure and promotes inflammation.
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