Control your blood pressure naturally with these low-glycemic foods
(Natural News) High blood pressure (hypertension) is no small matter – it’s one of the key risk factors for cardiovascular health problems. If you are hypertensive, or know someone who is, studies suggest that a natural, drug-less way to lower blood pressure is by following a low-glycemic diet.
Unlike foods with moderate or high scores on the glycemic index (GI), low-GI foods are slower in raising a person’s blood sugar levels. Having high blood sugar can damage nerves and blood vessels, which can lead to high blood pressure.
The GI, which is a scale from 1 to 100, indicates how fast carbohydrate-containing foods can increase blood sugar levels compared to pure glucose. Each food item has a GI score – the lower the score, the longer it takes for that food item to increase a person’s blood sugar. Foods that have a GI score below 55 are considered low-glycemic. Medium-GI foods have scores ranging from 55 to 70, while high-GI foods have scores above 70.
Low-glycemic foods to add to your diet
While there are many low-GI foods, the ones listed below are some of the best foods to add to an anti-hypertensive diet.
1. Kidney beans
Kidney beans have a GI score of 24. These beans are loaded with fiber and protein. They also offer potassium and are very low in fat.
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are a low-GI legume, having a 28 GI score. They also contain good amounts of protein and fiber, as well as key nutrients like calcium, potassium, and vitamin B9 (folate). Chickpeas can be a substitute for potatoes or white rice, which both have high GI scores. You can also make a quick and easy snack by roasting chickpeas. Chickpeas are also made into hummus, a popular Middle Eastern dip.
With a GI score of 32, lentils are a great addition to healthful meals. They are rich in protein and fiber. You can also get good amounts of phosphorus and potassium from lentils.
Carrots have a GI score of 39. They contain beta-carotene, which is good for your eyes. Carrots also provide high amounts of antioxidants, which prevent free radical damage in cells. You may enjoy carrots by dipping them into hummus or boiling or steaming them as a side dish.
Oats have a GI score of 55. They contain beta-glucan, a type of fiber that has numerous health benefits. A 2014 meta-analysis reported that the beta-glucan fiber in porridge oats may improve blood cholesterol levels. This type of fiber may also help a person feel full for longer.
Steel-cut and rolled oats have the best health benefits and the most favorable GI score. Choose these types over quick and instant oats, which are highly processed and have a higher GI score.
For people following a low-GI diet, muesli containing steel-cut or rolled oats can be a good option. However, the GI scores can vary significantly among brands.
One way to add oats to your diet is to make porridge. Simply add oats and milk to a pan. While heating, stir until the oats have absorbed the milk and the mixture has thickened.