To keep your heart healthy and maintain proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, it is important to keep your blood pressure and blood cholesterol in a healthy range. It is estimated that about one-third of adults have high blood pressure and a lot of adults have high cholesterol levels. Both these conditions have few symptoms but largely increase the risk of heart diseases. Checking your diet and eating Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Lowering Foods can help you control both conditions.
5 Best Cholesterol Lowering Foods
- Whole grains especially Oats and Oat Bran – Whole grains may promote heart health and Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps in absorbing LDL (the bad cholesterol). Switch your breakfast to two servings of oats which can lower total cholesterol up to 5% and see a 7% reduction in LDL cholesterol.
- Beans – Beans are rich in soluble fiber and are really good for the heart. Research shows that including ½ a cup of beans to a meal can lower total cholesterol by up to 8%. They also take awhile for the body to digest, giving you a fuller feeling for a longer time. Try beans like navy, black and kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and more which can supply about one-third of your daily fiber needs.
- Fatty Fish – Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Eat fish twice a week to lower LDL in two ways: one, replacing LDL-boosting saturated fats found in meats with LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Two, omega-3 reduces triglyceride levels in the bloodstream and increases the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that are good for a healthy heart.
- Nuts especially Walnuts – These are very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that eating a whole walnut daily, for a month helps in lowering cholesterol by 5.4 percent and LDL cholesterol by 9.3 percent. Almonds and cashews are other good options for treating cholesterol. However, though nuts are heart healthy, they are also high in calories, so eat them in moderation.
- Avocados – Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber, two heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering nutrients along with vitamin K, C, B5, B6, E, potassium, and folate. It also has a small quantity of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin) and B3 (Niacin), protein, making it a low-carb plant food. But they are a bit high in calories and fat so control the portions that you take.
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5 Best Blood Pressure Lowering Foods
- Kale – Low in calories, it is widely considered a superfood for anyone with high blood pressure. It is rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Foods high in potassium is strongly linked to lower blood pressure levels. Also, the effect of magnesium to control blood pressure enhances when it is combined with potassium. Thus, it is effective at lowering Blood Pressure. One cup of kale, raw or cooked, provides 9% of the calcium, 6% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium which you need every day.
- Beets – These are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Researchers found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours. Drink Beetroot juice or simply cook or eat it raw. It tastes delicious when roasted or included in stir-fries and stews.
- Yogurt – Low- and no-fat dairy foods are good sources of calcium and protein, which can help maintain a healthy blood pressure. Take three servings of dairy every day. Choose skim or 1% milk, buttermilk, and low- or no-fat cheeses and yogurt.
- Pistachios – These are healthy to decrease blood pressure by reducing blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. A study found that eating one serving of pistachios a day can help reduce blood pressure. Include them in your diet by adding them to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads, or as a snack.
- Olive Oil – The cardiovascular benefits of olive oil is no secret and don’t be surprised to know it also helps in lowering blood pressure. It is the healthiest oil in the world and rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest levels of beneficial components as it is the least processed. A study shows that extra-virgin olive oil helped reduce blood pressure by 48 percent compared with sunflower oil in 23 participants with high blood pressure.
Simple Ways to Lower Cholesterol and Reduce Blood Pressure
- Losing Extra Pounds – Various research studies show reducing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your body weight can better blood pressure, lower risk for diabetes and improve cholesterol levels.
- Try D.A.S.H. Diet Plan – The primary goal of the plan is to limit sodium intake by minimizing the use of table salt and consumption of salty foods and keeping daily intake of salt at or below 1 teaspoon daily. This plan also contains recommended amounts and types of dietary fats that can help maintain your blood cholesterol level under control.
- Regularly Exercise for 30 Minutes a Day – Physical activity can help mitigate the risk of heart problems associated with being overweight. Moderate exercise (like brisk walking) can help keep your heart healthy and improve overall health.
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To summarize, a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts, or oats are good for lowering cholesterol as well as maintaining blood pressure levels. In addition, it is also good for bones, digestive system, vision and mental health and betters your entire well-being.
I finished my masters in finance and worked for the Largest Private sector banking company in India. When the time came, I moved on to something less demanding and more creative. The influence of Indian culture asks us to put satisfaction upfront and I was in search of it. Writing struck me as a possibility and soon a passion. I am not creative but I am very thorough. Technical writing is my forte and at times I do delve into the creative side, though the stint usually lasts not more than a day! I enjoy traveling, reading and shopping.