There are many factors that can cause raised blood pressure (hypertension). These include family history, being overweight, and smoking. Thankfully there are some foods that we can include more of in our diet to help reduce blood pressure. Studies that have shown that eating a balanced diet that includes foods high in potassium, magnesium, calcium and fibre helps to lower blood pressure.
Fruit and vegetables are rich in potassium, magnesium and fibre. Aim to eat 5-7 portions per day. Fresh, frozen, dried, juiced and tins all count. If you are using tinned foods, look for those lower in salt and sugar.
Dairy foods are good sources of calcium. Some can be high in saturated fat, so opt for reduced fat versions such as semi skimmed milk, low-fat yoghurts and low-fat cheese. Include at least three servings per day.
Try to include plenty of wholegrain foods such as wholegrain breakfast cereals and breads, brown pasta and rice and oats which are are high in fibre, potassium and magnesium. Aim at least three servings per day.
Oily fish are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. These have been shown to have some effect on lowering blood pressure. Try to to have one portion of these fish per week. Examples include salmon, pilchards, sardines, mackerel, herring and trout.