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Vegetables for Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Control

by
author image Sylvie Tremblay, MSc
Sylvie Tremblay holds a Master of Science in molecular and cellular biology and has years of experience as a cancer researcher and neuroscientist. Based in Ontario, Canada, Tremblay is an experienced journalist and blogger specializing in nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, health and biotechnology, as well as real estate, agriculture and clean tech.
Vegetables for Blood Pressure & Blood Sugar Control
A large head of chopped cabbage. Photo Credit Svetl/iStock/Getty Images

Overview

Blood sugar and blood pressure are both tightly regulated to stay within an optimal range in the body. Chronically low blood pressure or blood sugar can have adverse effects such as fatigue, while chronically high blood pressure and sugar can lead to heart disease and diabetes, respectively. Both blood pressure and blood sugar levels respond to dietary factors. According to Harvard University, maintaining a diet rich in vegetables and low in processed carbohydrates prevents or lowers high blood sugar, and properties of specific vegetables can help lower your blood pressure.

Garlic

One vegetable that can help lower blood pressure is garlic. Bulbs of garlic taken from the root of the plant provide a rich source of nutrients, such as antioxidants--chemicals that protect your cells from damage. The University of Maryland Medical Center explains that garlic has been used as an alternative medicine for years, and is used today as a medication to prevent or treat cardiovascular disease. Specifically, garlic can help prevent high cholesterol and atherosclerosis--a narrowing of the blood vessels that can increase blood pressure. Garlic also acts as a flavor enhancer for foods, limiting the need for seasonings like salt, which can raise blood pressure. Incorporate garlic into low-sodium sauces, soups or casseroles, or consider garlic supplements to help lower your blood pressure.

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Spinach

Another vegetable that can have beneficial effects on blood pressure and blood sugar is spinach. Spinach has a relatively low sugar content, so it will not cause blood sugar spikes like processed carbohydrates. In addition, spinach provides a source of potassium, which is found to lower blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Potassium helps lower blood pressure by protecting against salt sensitivity, so consuming salt in your diet will have a milder effect on increasing your blood pressure. Spinach makes for a healthy salad base, and also works well in stir fries and low-sodium soups.

Cabbage

Cabbage can also help control blood sugar and lower blood pressure. Like many vegetables, cabbage provides a source of complex carbohydrates, allowing only a slow release of sugar into the bloodstream during digestion, thus preventing potentially harmful blood sugar spikes. The University of Wisconsin explains that cabbage also contains potassium, and therefore also helps lower blood pressure. You can add cabbage to your diet as an additive to low-sodium soups or salads to help control your blood pressure and blood sugar.

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References

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