Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan for Lowering Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is also called hypertension. It is a prevalent condition in which there is a prolonged high force of blood flowing through arteries which in turn can progress into other major health issues like chronic heart conditions and eventually stroke. There has been enough evidence to prove that high levels of inflammation in the body can lead to heart attack or stroke. On the other hand, a rise in blood pressure causes chronic inflammation of the endothelium, which, in turn, can lead to further damage of endothelium and worsening of BP control.

Certain metabolic disorders like dyslipidemia, hyperinsulinemia/insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity can cause endothelial inflammation. As a result, it may cause a rise in arterial blood pressure. Therefore, consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods may prove in preventing and fighting inflammation in the body. Apparently it helps control high blood pressure and keep the risk of cardiovascular diseases at bay. This article aims to help you with the lost of foods which can reduce inflammation.

Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan: Foods You Should Eat

Fruits

Fruits are a rich source of anti-inflammatory compounds called polyphenols, which lower blood pressure, thus reducing cardiovascular diseases. Consuming two cups of mixed fruits every day can provide many health benefits, such as boosting antioxidant activity and reducing harmful cholesterol levels in the body. There is evidence that fruits such as berries have an anti-inflammatory effect on humans. Other fruits like apples, grapes, pomegranate and oranges are high in soluble fibre and low in sugar, which helps manage cholesterol and hence blood pressure.

Nutritional value of anti- inflammatory fruits 100g:

Blueberries

  • Calories: 57 kcal
  • Protein: 0.7 g
  • Fibre: 1.5 g
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrate: 14.5 g 

Banana

  • Calories: 89kcal
  • Protein: 1 g
  • Fibre: 2.6g
  • Fat: 0.3 g
  • Carbohydrates: 22.8g

Vegetables

An anti-inflammatory diet must include peppers, carrots, leafy greens such as spinach, kale, and beans. They have significantly fewer calories, the high amount of soluble and insoluble fibre.

Evidence suggests that stress can increase blood pressure and harmful cholesterol levels by initiating chronic inflammation. On the other hand, High fiber in vegetables can help to reduce cholesterol, also vegetables or vegetable fats do not contain cholesterol as such.  Therefore, you may consume five or more servings per day to promote your cardiovascular health.

Nutritional value of some vegetables per 100g:

Tomatoes

  • Energy: 18 kcal
  • Protein: 0.8 g
  • Total fat: 0.2 g
  • Carbohydrate: 3.8 g
  • Total dietary fibre: 1.2 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg 

Kale

  • Energy: 35 kcal
  • Protein: 2.9 g
  • Total fat: 1.4 g
  • Carbohydrate: 4.4 g
  • Total dietary fibre: 4.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 142 mg

Beetroot

  • Calories: 43 kcal
  • Protein: 1.6 g
  • Carbohydrate: 9.5 g
  • Total dietary fibre: 2.8 g
  • Fat: 0.1 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 g

Olive Oil

Olive oil has various health benefits and has anti-inflammatory properties. Antioxidants present in it mediate the anti-inflammatory effects. In addition, they offer protection from risks such as cardiovascular diseases, atherosclerosis, stroke, brain dysfunction, and cancer. Furthermore, olive oil can help reduce the risk of cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease and helps prevent inflammation, oxidative stress, and insulin resistance. 

Nutritional value of extra virgin olive oil per 100 ml:

  • Energy: 800 kcal
  • Protein: 0 g
  • Total fat: 93.3 g
  • Carbohydrate: 0 g
  • Total dietary fibre: 0 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Nuts and Seeds

Nuts are nutrient-dense, rich in heart-healthy unsaturated fatty acids, high-quality plant protein, dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. They are associated with reducing the risk of diabetes, promoting weight loss and fighting inflammation. In addition, a study revealed that consuming nuts frequently decreases inflammatory markers. Hence, they can cut the risk of coronary heart disease and other heart conditions linked to cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Given below is the nutritional value of some nuts. Please note that the nutritional values below are for 100 grams of the respective nuts and seeds. However, one should only cosnume nuts in moderation.

Flaxseeds

  • Water: 6.9 g
  • Calories: 534 kcal
  • Protein: 18.3 g
  • Fat: 42.2 g
  • Carbohydrate: 28.9 g
  • Fibre: 27.3 g

Almonds

  • Energy: 579 kcal
  • Protein: 29.3 g
  • Total fat: 50 g
  • Carbohydrate: 20 g
  • Total dietary fibre: 21.6 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg 

Whole Grain Oats

Whole grain oats have an anti-inflammatory effect that helps protect the blood vessels from the damage of Oats have a functional group called beta-glucan and a high amount of insoluble fibers which helps to reduce bad cholesterol. In addition, they contain high antioxidants that improve blood flow and lower blood pressure. It is also a prebiotic food that increases the growth rate of gut bacteria and can contribute to a healthy gut. 

The nutritional value of oats per 100g:

  • Energy: 375 kcal
  • Protein: 12.5 g
  • Total fat: 6.2 g
  • Carbohydrate: 67.5 g
  • Total dietary fibre: 10 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan: Foods to Avoid

Refined Carbohydrates

Refined grains are devoid of essential nutrients as they do not contain bran, fibre, important vitamins and minerals. Therefore, foods made from refined grains can trigger your bodies to generate inflammatory compounds such as free radicals and cytokines. In addition, the presence of allergens like gluten can alter your gut bacteria and reduce the function of the gut barrier, leading to inflammatory responses. However, evidence suggests that whole grains have the reverse effect. Therefore, eating them more can help reduce inflammation. 

Sweet and Sugary Foods

Sugary foods such as cookies, cakes and doughnuts have butter high in saturated fat and cholesterol. As a result, they increase the blood sugar level, directly related to increased blood pressure. High sugar and saturated fatty acid content induce free radicals and cytokines, giving rise to inflammation. They also increase blood triglycerides which can be a risk factor for coronary heart disease. Sugars obtained from fruits are much healthier since they are a combination of complex and simple sugars. 

Processed Meat

Processed meats are smoked, salted, canned, dried or preserved to increase their shelf life and have very little nutritional value. Bacon, sausage and hot dogs are usually made from fatty cuts of beef or pork and have high levels of saturated fatty acids. Excess saturated fat intake can cause free radical formation in cells, triggering an inflammatory immune response. In addition, excess processed meat consumption can sometimes cause colorectal and stomach cancer. Hence, doctors advise limiting their intake.

Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan for Blood Pressure: A Reference Plan

Vegetarian Diet: Food Options

A strategically planned anti-inflammatory vegetarian diet reduces high blood pressure and improves overall health.

Moreover, vegetarian foods are low in total fat and saturated fat and high in fibre. Therefore, it can help reduce the risk of chronic health conditions such as obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes. 

Breakfast

  • Corn flakes with berries and bananas
  • Flaxseeds and almond smoothie bowl
  • Soybean chunks/scrambled with milk
  • Beet smoothie bowl
  • Avocado toast with a blueberry smoothie
  • Peanut butter on multigrain bread
  • Carrot juice with fruit bowl
  • Oats

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Blueberry yoghurt and walnuts
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Apple slices with almond butter
  • Dark chocolate and chia energy balls
  • One whole pear

Lunch

  • Lettuce salad made with olive oil
  • Quinoa and sprouts salad
  • Stir-fried beans with chapatti
  • Brown rice with beetroot salad
  • Spinach whole grain pasta
  • Corn and spinach sandwich made from multigrain bread
  • Two omelettes and boiled broccoli
  • Lentil, beetroot and beans salad
  • Oven-roasted cauliflower with tofu and tomatoes

Evening Snacks

  • Sprouts 
  • Green tea
  • Lemon and ginger tea
  • Roasted chickpeas
  • A fistful of assorted nuts
  • Energy bars

Dinner

  • Vegetable soup with brown rice
  • Garlic sautéed vegetables
  • Stuffed sweet potato with hummus dressing
  • Vegetables and tofu sandwich
  • Beans, tomato, mushroom, cucumber and basil salad
  • Ginger garlic stir-fried vegetables with yoghurt
  • Whole grain pesto pasta
  • Stuffed potatoes with salsa and beans
  • Whole grain tortilla wraps

Non-Vegetarian Diet: Food Options

An effective non-vegetarian diet combines various fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein. Moreover, non-vegetarians can derive their omega-3-fatty acids mainly from fatty fish such as tuna. These fishes can help fight inflammation and improve some common health conditions symptoms. 

Breakfast

  • Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs
  • Avocado egg toast 
  • Flavoured milk and omelette
  • Spinach scrambled eggs with raspberries
  • Mango and chia seeds smoothie
  • Tofu salad with boiled eggs
  • Avocado and smoked salmon omelette 

Mid-Morning Snack

  • Energy bars
  • Boiled eggs
  • Nuts bowl
  • Dark chocolates

Lunch

  • Lemon tuna salad
  • Brown rice with shredded grilled chicken
  • Salmon and avocado bowl
  • Egg fried rice with beans and lentils
  • Baked tuna with vegetables and sesame-turmeric sauce
  • Salmon with lettuce and broccoli
  • Scrambled eggs with multigrain bread

Evening Snack

  • Mango and date
  • Turmeric ginger tea
  • Sprouts with lemon juice
  • One whole orange
  • Green tea
  • Salmon and avocado toast

Dinner

  • Grilled salmon and green veggies salad
  • Lemon chicken with spinach
  • Egg and vegetable curry
  • Chicken, kale and jalapeno salad
  • Stir-fried broccoli, tuna and beans
  • Brown rice with chicken stew
  • Roasted salmon and chicken

Lifestyle Changes with Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan

You can manage inflammation by avoiding factors that activate your body’s inflammatory response. You can treat it on your own by adopting a healthy lifestyle and staying consistent. Not only does it help decrease inflammation, but it also reduces bad cholesterol and high blood sugar and lower blood pressure.

  • medication should only be taken if advised by your doctor, in many cases if the inflammation is not too high only lifestyle changes can work. But be sure to talk to your dietitian and doctor about the right approach to deal with the inflammation. Besides consuming a healthy, balanced diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods, regular exercise and lifestyle changes play a crucial role in controlling blood pressure.
  • Regular exercise is essential to burn calories and strengthen all the body muscles, including heart muscles. Weak heart muscles can also lead to various cardiovascular diseases. Therefore, exercising the heart by practising cardiovascular exercises can be beneficial for the body in controlling blood pressure.
  • Early morning walks and going for a stroll in the garden or exercising for 30 minutes are good options to keep your blood pressure at an average rate.
  • Other lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, reducing the frequency of alcohol intake, avoiding oily and fatty foods and consuming a low sodium diet are also helpful in controlling blood pressure.

Diet alone cannot be a cure for lowering blood pressure. Exercising and lifestyle changes are extremely important to attain a healthy body.

Conclusion

You cannot avoid the onset of lifestyle diseases like high blood pressure. However, you can keep track of your blood pressure and take specific steps to control it. You can also understand the causes and ensure it doesn’t pass on to your loved ones. Normal blood pressure for a healthy person is 120/80 mmHg. In the case of hypertension, blood pressure is above 140/90 mmHg and it is considered severe when it reaches 180/120 mmHg. 

The rise in blood pressure causes chronic inflammation inside the body and vice versa. Therefore, consuming foods with anti-inflammatory properties becomes essential to control and prevent high blood pressure. These include tomatoes, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, flaxseeds, yoghurt, peas, and lentils. Besides consuming a balanced diet, having foods rich in anti-inflammatory properties, regular exercise, and lifestyle changes like low sodium intake, quitting smoking, and reduced alcohol consumption is essential to keep your blood pressure in control.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q. Is an anti-inflammatory diet good for high blood pressure?

A. Yes, an anti-inflammatory diet is suitable for high blood pressure. Inflammation in the body can cause constriction in the blood vessels, resulting in increased blood pressure. Hence, reducing the inflammation will have a calming effect on the blood vessels.

Q. How can I reduce inflammation and high blood pressure?

A. You can reduce inflammation by consuming a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods and antioxidants. These include fruits, green vegetables, nuts, seeds and olive oil. However, in addition to this, lifestyle changes like quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, consuming low sodium food and regular exercise are significant to maintaining healthy blood pressure.

Q. Is chicken an anti-inflammatory food?

A. No, chicken is not considered an anti-inflammatory food. However, you should eat it in moderation. Rather it is a high protein food one should maintain it’s portion size by calculating the total amount of protein in over all diet plan.

Q. What kind of tea reduces inflammation?

A. Green tea has effective anti-inflammatory properties as they contain a powerful range of antioxidants called catechins, which reduce inflammation. Other teas also benefit you but are not as effective as green tea. 

Q. What can I drink to reduce inflammation?

A. You can make several anti-inflammatory drinks. For example, green tea, avocado kale smoothie, ginger turmeric tea and blueberry have effective anti-inflammatory properties. You can also go for baking soda and water and functional food smoothies. 

Q. How do you use ginger for inflammation?

A. Consuming up to 4 g of ginger a day is considered safe and can help manage pain and inflammation in the body. It has medicinal properties. You can crush it and use it as a food ingredient or in drinks like herbal teas.