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Tasty Plant-based Foods to Tame High Blood Pressure

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A review article from the journal Current Hypertension Reports states there is accumulating data on the relationship between plant-based diets and lower blood pressure. The review highlights two major studies, Epic-Oxford and the Adventist Health Study-2, both finding that vegans tend to have reduced blood pressure compared to animal-people meat-eaters. There are also studies like the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults suggesting that eating more plant-based foods can help keep your blood pressure in check.

Before we embark on this fruitful journey, it's worth delving into the scientific realm, where clinical studies highlight the pivotal role of vitamin C in restoring endothelial function among those grappling with coronary artery disease. Ascorbic acid, or vitamin C, can be of great help, stimulating the synthesis of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. This molecule orchestrates a symphony of vascular health benefits, including helping blood vessels relax, preventing blood clotting, reducing inflammation, acting as an antioxidant, and keeping certain cell types in check and healthy.

A 2021 study analyzed a decade's worth of data on fruit consumption and its impact on blood pressure management, revealing compelling findings. Consuming approximately 530 to 600 grams of fruit per day – roughly four oranges' worth – resulted in notable improvements in blood pressure control. Other foods that play a role in promoting the production of nitric oxide include nuts and seeds, such as pumpkin, flax, and chia seeds, pistachios, walnuts, and almonds.

Leafy greens like kale and brussels sprouts are rich in vitamin C that spurs vasodilation and blood flow. Swiss chard and spinach also stand out as excellent choices among such greens that contribute to maintaining healthy blood pressure. Moreover, spinach is particularly abundant in nitrate, a compound associated with blood pressure reduction as it changes into nitric oxide in the body.

A study published in The Journals of Gerontology in 2019 suggests that daily consumption of 200 grams of blueberries may have positive effects on blood pressure. The investigation involved 40 healthy men who were given either a blueberry drink or a similar-looking and tasting control drink daily for a month. The study found that the group consuming blueberries showed better blood vessel function; the blood vessels in the participants' arms exhibited a 2% improvement in their ability to widen within two hours of consumption. Concurrently, there was a sustained decrease in systolic blood pressure by an average of 5 millimeters of mercury.

Did you ever think the phrase “eat your carrots” had more than just parental wisdom behind it? Turns out, carrots, with their potassium-packed goodness, might just be a marvel in blood pressure management. According to a study, for every 100 grams of carrots consumed daily, the likelihood of high blood pressure decreased by 10%.
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