Your diet plays an important role in blood pressure regulation. While most of us know we should limit our sodium intake, we should also eat foods rich in potassium, calcium and magnesium. Eating a wide-ranging diet filled with fruits and vegetables can also help lower blood pressure by providing fiber, nitrates, and unique plant nutrients.
Bananas are packed with potassium, which has been shown to decrease the harmful effects of sodium.
Anthocyanins, the plant compounds in berries that give them their deep red, purple and blue hues, have been found to reduce the risk for high blood pressure.
Beets and beet juice contain nitrates, which help keep blood vessels healthy. Researchers believe this may be why beets have the ability to lower blood pressure.
All types of beans (including black beans, navy beans and pinto beans) are loaded with heart-healthy nutrients. The soluble fiber, magnesium and potassium in beans have been linked to improved blood pressure.
Low-fat milk and yogurt contain calcium and vitamin D that may work together to reduce blood pressure. There is also evidence that the positive effects of dairy on heart health are due to compounds such as milk peptides formed when dairy is digested. Similar results have not been found with high-fat dairy.
Nectarines (and other stone fruits such as peaches and plums) are rich in potassium, magnesium and fiber.
Spinach is rich in potassium and magnesium and low in sodium. Like beets, spinach also contains beneficial nitrates. This balance in nutrients is a key factor in reducing blood pressure.
Sweet potatoes provide calcium, magnesium and potassium. Eating the skin in addition to the flesh will boost your intake of magnesium and potassium.