High blood pressure happens when the force of blood pushing against a person’s artery walls is consistently too high. Overtime this can increase the risk of cardiovascular complications. Fortunately, simple dietary tweaks can lower a person’s reading. The following breakfast options can help lower the risk of high blood pressure.
As a general rule, people should stick to a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, protein and reduced saturated and total fats to keep blood pressure in check, according to Cheryl Lythgoe, Head Matron of Benenden Health.
As she explained: “Certain minerals and nitrites in the foods we eat can lower blood pressure as they act as natural vasodilators – the relaxing of smooth muscle therefore widens the blood vessels.
“Those foods which have the most positive effect are those that are high in potassium, magnesium, nitrates and calcium, further beneficial properties are found in foods that include omega fish oils, flavonoids, phytochemicals and antioxidants.”
It is therefore imperative to incorporate these foods into the daily breakfast routine, advised Lythgoe.
Lythgoe recommends the following four breakfast recipes:
Overnight oats with seeds and berries
Recipe: Combine 50g of porridge oats with 100ml of skimmed milk or water and leave to soak overnight. The following morning add a handful of mixed berries and enjoy.
As she explained: “The porridge oats provide fibre and magnesium which have been found to reduce the progression of artherosclerosis (those fatty plaques that clog up our arteries).
The berries contain anthocyanins, polyphenols and additional antioxidants, whilst also topping up the fibre content, noted Lythgoe.
“These are amazing foods that offer us a surfeit of vitamins and minerals (vitamin C & E with potassium),” she added.
Sardines or mackerel on a bed of spinach
Recipe: Sardine/Mackerel fillet (hot or cold) on a bed of wilted spinach – dash of pepper.
According to Lythgoe: “Cold water fish is rich in Omega 3 which acts as a blood thinner reducing the incidence of dangerous clots, this makes pumping easier for our hard working heart.
The spinach is a rich source of potassium, magnesium and calcium which are important minerals for aiding stability within blood levels, she said.
“Improved potassium helps to keep sodium at a healthy level, explained Lythgoe.
Scrambled Egg whites with Rainbow Veg
Recipe: 2 egg whites, dash of skimmed milk, tomatoes and spinach – mix together and pop into the microwave for a few mins.
Skimmed milk provides a healthy dose of magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamin D, explained Lythgoe.
She said: “Through using skimmed milk the calcium in the dairy is easier for the body to absorb – bioavailability (this is relevant for the majority of low fat dairy products).
“Egg whites contain certain groups of amino acids which lower the blood pressure but they also delivery healthy proteins which aids the body’s building blocks – omitting the yolks decreases the fat content.”
Supplementing egg whited with vegetables boosts the mineral and vitamin intake, she said.
Beetroot and Celery smoothie
Recipe: Combine – 1 carrot, ½ cucumber, 2 celery stalks, ½ beetroot, 1 orange peeled and 50 ml apple juice – blend until smooth.
As Lythgoe explained: “Celery contains phytochemicals which relax the muscle tissue in our arteries walls.
“Beetroot is a nitrogen rich food (nitrogen is a part of all living cells and an essential element found in amino acids and proteins).”
Nitrogen rich foods are a natural vasodilator, she said.
Find out about the symptoms of high blood pressure here.