Hypertension or high blood pressure is when the pressure with which your blood is pumped into your artery walls is high. As you age, your arteries undergo damage due to various factors including obesity, stress, unhealthy food and habits like smoking and alcohol consumption. When this pressure is high, it could lead to various other disorders like stroke, coronary heart diseases, kidney damage, vision loss and other complications and disabilities. According to the World Health Organisation, high blood pressure claims about 7.5 million deaths worldwide. Besides exercise and major lifestyle changes, doctors recommend dietary changes as some of the best ways to deal with hypertension. When you have high blood pressure, you must have a healthy and balanced meal every day which should include 2-3 varieties of fruits and 3-4 servings of vegetables. Here are some foods that are excellent for your heart and blood pressure:

Berries: Flavonoid-rich berries especially, blueberries, raspberries and strawberries, have abundant minerals like potassium and anthocyanin that have been found to exhibit anti-inflammatory effects on the arterial walls.

Radish: Radish leaves are famed for their antihypertensive properties because they contain ethyl acetate which controls blood pressure.

Beetroot: Nitrate and potassium in beetroot can help control your blood pressure levels. In fact, a research has found that a glass of beetroot can lower blood pressure within 24 hours of consumption.

Garlic: Garlic extracts have been found to relax the muscles of the arteries. This helps reduce both the diastolic as well as the systolic blood pressure.

Whole grains: It is important to include lots of fibre in your diet. In fibre-rich whole grains, the compounds help break down the cholesterol deposited in the arteries. This could help make the blood pressure normal.  You can include whole grains in your rotis every day.

Milk and milk products: These are rich in calcium which can affect blood pressure. Calcium is responsible for normal and smooth muscle contraction that helps blood vessels transport blood efficiently.

Dark chocolate: According to a report published in  BMC Medicine, dark chocolate has flavanols which can reduce blood pressure. Flavanols help with the formation of nitric oxide that helps keep blood pressure in check. Even though dark chocolate is healthy, you must make sure you do not overindulge. Stick to 1-2 pieces daily.

Indian Gooseberry: Amla is commonly used in Ayurvedic formulations for heart disorders. Amla has been found to reduce bad cholesterol levels in the blood. Vitamin C-rich amla can also help widen the blood vessels and thus reducing blood pressure.