Promising news for people managing high blood pressure. Three of the most nutrient-dense superfoods—avocados, blueberries and flax seeds—all have a potential bonus. Studies have shown they may help keep your blood pressure in check.
Super Seed: There may be another reason to savor nutrient-dense flaxseeds, which are already rich in fiber, omega-3 essential fatty acids and lignans, a plant hormone that mimics estrogen and may have antioxidant properties. After a review of 11 studies and 14 trials, researchers found that eating flaxseeds, also known as linseeds, may help lower blood pressure slightly, according to findings published in the Journal of Nutrition. Researchers also noted the benefits may increase when consuming whole flaxseeds over a period of more than three months. At the same time, ground flaxseeds are easier for the body to digest and absorb all the nutrients locked inside, according to the Mayo Clinic. Popular ways to enjoy the seed’s light, nutty taste is to sprinkle the ground seeds on yogurt or add to salads and soups – and a little goes a long way. Like all foods high in fiber, flaxseed should be taken with plenty of water or other fluids.
Holy Guacamole: Move over apples; it turns out avocados might be giving you a run for your money in keeping the doctor away. Not only can they help lower the bad cholesterol known as LDL, but avocados are a natural source of potassium, a key nutrient responsible for lessening the effects of sodium and lowering blood pressure. A study by the American Heart Association found that a diet rich in elements containing potassium reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure in comparison to a controlled diet the average American eats. Pass the guacamole.
Berry Healthy: Blueberries, which are bursting with antioxidants, potassium and vitamin C, may also help keep blood pressure in check. A small study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, focused on 48 post-menopausal women with borderline hypertension. Half the participants consumed a tablespoon and a half of freeze-dried blueberry powder (equal to a cup of blueberries), and after two months experienced a 5 to 6 percent drop in blood pressure compared to the women who consumed powder with no blueberries. Researchers also found the blueberry powder spiked blood nitric oxide levels by around 68 percent. Nitric oxide, which helps widen the blood vessel walls, may be at least partly responsible for the lower blood-pressure levels, researchers say.