High blood pressure increases your risk for heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease. Blood pressure management is critical if you have diabetes since it also increases your risk for diabetes complications. In addition to maintaining a healthy weight and limiting alcohol intake, a healthy diet can improve your blood pressure levels and your overall health, according to the American Heart Association. For best results, seek specified guidance from a qualified health care professional.
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Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables provide rich amounts of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fiber. Fruits and vegetables also have a mellowing effect on blood sugar levels and can help lower blood pressure, according to the Harvard School of Public Health. Consume a variety of fresh, colorful fruits and vegetable regularly for broadest dietary benefits. Since fruit and starchy vegetables contain carbohydrates, consume appropriate portion sizes and daily amounts, as recommended by your doctor or diabetes specialist. Examples of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables include citrus fruits, berries, apples, pears, plums, kiwi, cantaloupe, tomatoes, avocado, spinach, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, red and green bell peppers, carrots and peas. Nutritious starchy vegetables include squash, sweet potatoes, baked potatoes and pumpkin.
Whole grains also provide rich amounts of nutrients and fiber. As low-glycemic carbohydrate sources, whole grains can support healthy blood sugar levels and keep you fuller longer between meals. Consume a variety of whole grain foods as part of a balanced, healthy diet for best results. Foods rich in whole grain nutrition include whole grain breads, tortillas, pasta and cereals, brown rice, quinoa, wild rice, air-popped popcorn and pearled barley. When purchasing whole grain foods, examine food packaging to ensure that whole grains account for primary ingredients. Opt for products low in added sugars for further benefits.
Lean Protein-Rich Foods
While high-fat protein sources, such as red meat, whole milk and poultry skin can exacerbate blood pressure levels, lean sources can enhance blood sugar balance, fullness between meals and heart health. Choose chicken or turkey breasts over dark meat poultry and remove visible fat and skin to reduce fat and calorie intake. The DASH (Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension) encourages two to three servings of dairy products and a maximum of six servings of lean meat, poultry or fish for people consuming a 2,000 calorie diet. Choose low-fat cooking methods, such as steaming, baking and grilling in light amounts of olive or canola oil most often.