Stroke Awareness Week and Blood Pressure (Part A) by Tania Logan (Dietitian)

Ilze GroblerDietetics

This week is Stroke Awareness week, and this year we want to encourage everyone to see how easy it is to fit healthy habits into their day to reduce their risk of a stroke.  The Stroke Foundation has lots of helpful information on their website at

Blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke.

Blood pressure is the pressure in the blood vessels as the heart pumps blood around the body.  If you have high blood pressure, it means your heart is working harder to pump your blood around your body.  If your blood pressure stays high it can cause serious problems like a heart attack, stroke, or kidney damage.

Changing your food choices can help lower your blood pressure.  There are a number of ways that you can change your diet to help reduce your blood pressure. In this article, I focus on the top 5 foods that help lower blood pressure.  Aim to include more of these every day.


  1. Eat more vegetables

Eating plenty of vegetables is linked to a lower blood pressure. Aim to include vegetables at least twice a day.  You can include cooked vegetables (fresh or frozen) or salad vegetables with lunch and dinner.  You could also have vegetables with breakfast.  Add mushrooms, tomato or asparagus to an egg on toast.  See my blog ( other ways to include vegetables every day.


  1. Eat fruit every day

Like vegetables, including fruit every day is also helpful to lower blood pressure. Fresh fruit is excellent, but you can also choose canned, frozen or dried fruit if that is more convenient. Choose fruit as a snack between meals or use it as a basis for your dessert.  You could also try fruit and yoghurt for breakfast.


  1. Choose wholegrains

Less refined, wholegrain cereal foods can also help lower blood pressure. Instead of processed, low fibre white bread, try wholegrain breads.  Instead of processed breakfast cereals, try rolled oats or porridge, natural, untoasted muesli, or whole wheat breakfast biscuits.


  1. Include raw, unsalted nuts and seeds

Like vegetables, fruit and wholegrains, nuts and seeds are healthy plant foods that can help lower blood pressure.  Choose raw, unsalted nuts as they are lower in salt.  Nuts are a great snack option.  They can also be used sprinkled over fruit and yoghurt for breakfast and are great in salads.


  1. Include low fat dairy products

Low fat dairy products also appear to help lower blood pressure, particularly low fat milk and yoghurt.  Low fat yoghurt can be a great snack or include fruit and yoghurt as a breakfast or dessert option.


Cheese is higher in fat and salt than milk and yoghurt, and would be better not to include every day.


If you would like help with lowering your blood pressure, or practical assistance for incorporating dietary changes, please contact me. You can find my contact details and how to book an appointment on our website at


Look out for my next article, later in the week, on the 5 foods that you should be eating less of to help reduce your blood pressure.


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