The foods that are included or limited in the diet can influence the health of your heart. Doctors point out that good nutrition and a healthy heart go hand in hand and can help lower blood pressure or reduce the risk of hypertension.
The American Heart Association (AHA) notes that treating high blood pressure can help reduce the risk of stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney failure.
How to follow a heart-healthy diet and reduce the risk of high blood pressure
1. Eat enough fruits and vegetables.
Adults should consume the equivalent of 1.5 to 2 cups of fruit and 2 to 3 cups of vegetables daily.
A study published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation reveals that participants who ate five servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a 12% lower risk of death from cardiovascular diseases, including heart disease and stroke.
Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, as well as fruit juices are not associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes or specific chronic diseases.
2. Eat whole grains.
The Harvard Nutrition Source explains that whole grains offer a “full package” of health benefits, unlike refined grains, which have valuable nutrients removed in the refining process.
“Fiber helps lower cholesterol and move waste through the digestive tract… It also can help prevent the formation of small blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes,” notes Harvard.
3. Choose low-fat dairy products.
Dairy products can have saturated fat, so the Cleveland Clinic recommends opting for low-fat or fat-free versions, such as 1% or skim milk, 1% or fat-free yogurt or cottage cheese, and low-fat cheeses.
4. Opt for healthy proteins like fish, poultry and legumes.
5. Consume non-tropical vegetable oilsolive oil, and avocado oil are heart-healthy alternatives.
6. Foods rich in vitamin C.
Foods rich in vitamin C can protect against oxidative stress, which causes inflammation. Among the foods richest in vitamin C are red peppers, kiwis, oranges, strawberries and broccoli.
7. Eat foods rich in potassium.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Potassium helps lower blood pressure by relaxing blood vessel walls and helping the body get rid of excess sodium.
Limit: sodium, sweets, saturated fats, sugary drinks, alcoholic beverages and red meat.
AHA experts also recommend reaching and maintaining a healthy weight; doing physical activity; be more physically active; don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke; take the drug as prescribed; Know what your blood pressure is and work to keep it there, as prescribed by your doctor.