Studies have shown that dietary changes, along with medications and other lifestyle modifications, can help reduce high blood pressure. Certain foods have been proven to help manage blood pressure and among these foods are some African foods.
What African foods can help one manage blood pressure? There are a handful of African foods that help reduce high blood pressure—they include:
- Misir Wat
- Chermoula Tempeh
- Black beans
- Sweet Potato, etc.
In this article, we’ll discuss more on these African foods that lower high blood pressure as well as other vital aspects of the subject matter—how foods can help lower blood pressure.
What Can I Eat to Lower My Blood Pressure Immediately?
High blood pressure can be life-threatening, and when people are faced with such situations, they tend to look for the fastest means to get a cure or manage the conditions. While there may not be any means of reducing high blood pressure immediately, eating foods that contain the following nutrients can help.
Eat Foods with Less Sodium and More Potassium
Reducing your intake of sodium can lower blood pressure to 5 or 6 mm Hg (millimeters of mercury). However, the effects of sodium on people vary, for most adults, sodium intake of 1,500 mg a day or less is ideal. Potassium, on the other hand, helps in decreasing high blood pressure and excreting sodium from your body.
Also, try reducing your intake of salt. Use spices or herbs instead.
For women–during pregnancy, increased blood volume can cause high blood pressure. Folic acid can save the day. Some of the foods that lower blood pressure are beans, cereals, and spinach, which are also a great source of folic acid.
Opt for diets that have high unsaturated fats because they help in reducing unwanted cholesterol levels.
Polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats can be found in olive oil, rapeseed oil, and sunflower oil. Though these fats don’t raise cholesterol levels, you’d gain weight if you consume them in excess.
Milk is rich in calcium, which is one of its primary nutrients alongside potassium and magnesium. These nutrients help to reduce high blood pressure quickly.
10 African Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
As you have read above, you need to eat foods with the right nutrients to help reduce high blood pressure. The following African foods contain the required nutrients that can help you manage high blood pressure.
This marshland plant contains phytochemicals known as phthalides, which makes the muscle tissue in the artery walls relax. The relaxation enables an increase in the flow of blood, which in turn lowers the blood pressure. When next you’re making salads, you may want to add celery.
2. Coldwater Fish
Coldwater fishes like tilapia and sardine are rich in essential fatty acids and Omega-3 fatty acids that help in thinning blood, to make it easier for the heart to pump blood. The thinner the blood is, the less likely it will form clots in arteries and veins. You can add these fishes to other foods.
Adding honey to your meals can help in reducing blood pressure. Honey soothes the blood vessels, and this can help to lower the blood pressure from the heart. If you want to consume honey alone, then try taking at least two teaspoons in a day, especially in the morning before breakfast.
4. Black Beans
Black beans have a high amount of protein and have been proven to help lower blood pressure. The beans contain magnesium and fiber that aids healthy blood pressure levels. It also contains folate, which relaxes blood vessels and improves blood flow.
5. Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium. Consuming this food in large quantities, or along with potassium-rich fruits, will increase potassium intake, which will make you excrete more sodium to lower your blood pressure.
This food is also rich in vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin A, and manganese.
This is one of the best leafy green foods that lower blood pressure. It is rich in nutrients like potassium, magnesium, and folate, which are necessary ingredients in managing blood pressure levels. It’s also high in fiber and low in calories.
7. Mushrooms (Shiitake mushrooms)
Shiitake mushrooms are much preferable to enoki, oysters, and porcini due to its superior nutritional value. Shiitake mushrooms are a rich source of eritadenine, which blocks the constriction of blood vessels. It widens the blood vessels instead and makes blood pressure to remain at a normal level.
ALSO READ: 10 African Foods To Eat During Pregnancy
To reduce fluid retention, extracts of shiitake stimulate the removal of excess sodium through the kidney. It’s also a rich source of vitamins B1, B2, B12, C and D, and essential amino acids. Shiitake mushrooms are one of those edible foods that lower blood pressure, you should try them out.
8. Misir Wat
Misir Wat is a tasty Ethiopian vegetarian meal made from lentils. And lentils are a great source of certain antioxidants and soluble fiber. It can reverse declines in blood vessel health and lower blood pressure.
9. Chermoula Tempeh
Chermoula Tempeh is a North Africa herb-filled sauce that is made with tempeh, a soy product that contains protein, iron, dietary fiber, calcium, potassium, and phytochemicals. This soy product helps to lower blood pressure. It’s also a well-known source for easing specific menopausal symptoms and also reduces the risk of diabetes.
10. Red Cabbage
Red cabbage contains potassium, which helps in excreting excess sodium and in turn regulates blood pressure. It also relaxes the blood vessel walls. Several African diets that have red cabbage as an ingredient. .
ALSO READ: 10 African Foods that Help You Gain Weight
Which Fruit Is Good for High BP?
Fruits can also help lower blood pressure. If you’re one that loves fruits, try to eat any of these fruits frequently:
Potassium-rich fruits help a great deal in lowering blood levels. Banana is a very rich source of this nutrient.
Strawberries and blackberries contain a type of flavonoid, which is an antioxidant compound called anthocyanins. This type of flavonoid helps in reducing the risk of high blood pressure. You can consume these berries as a treat or an addition to any of the listed foods that lower blood pressure.
Watermelon contains citrulline—an amino acid that helps reduce blood pressure. This amino acid helps in the production of nitric oxide that helps in relaxing blood vessels and also improving flexibility in the arteries. The nitric oxide also aids blood flow and helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure.
This fruit is rich in potassium. It contains high milligrams of potassium. It’s very effective in reducing the risk of high blood pressure.
Blackcurrant: Blackcurrant is also high in potassium and GLA, which helps in resisting cell damage in the heart. It also slows down the clumping of platelet in your blood vessels.
What Can I Eat for Breakfast If I Have High Blood Pressure?
- Oats: Oats are one of the best breakfast foods that lower blood pressure. They are also a great source of fiber, which gives you a feeling of fullness. However, you should avoid instant oats brands due to the high sugar they contain; instead, go for rolled oats.
- Milk with nuts: The mixture of milk with nuts like cashew and Walnut gives you a potassium-rich breakfast. It’s easy and fast to prepare. You can make use of yogurt in the absence of milk.
As you can see, there are a variety of African foods that can help lower high blood pressure. But do you have to consume all these foods? Of course, no! You can make a diet that has most of these foods as ingredients, or you may decide to consume them individually at different times. You may also want to consult an expert to help you plan meals that incorporate these foods.
Though we’d carry out extensive research to provide our readers with up-to-date information—we make no claims of being a medical organization. Therefore, our articles are mainly for information purposes and shouldn’t be relied on in making decisions that concern your health. Always consult with your doctor for reliable health advice.