Lower Blood Pressure with Diet
There any many natural and easy ways to lower your blood pressure, and control it, by changing your diet.
What is high blood pressure?
If you have continuous blood pressure above 120mmHg/80mmHG, you would be diagnosed as having high blood pressure. The risks of high blood pressure are heart attack, stroke, and kidney failure. Some studies also indicate a link between high blood pressure and dementia.
Research shows that generally vegans/vegetarians have lower blood pressure as their diet tends to include more fiber and less animal fat, which helps to regulate blood pressure.
There are many simple and relatively easy dietary changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure. Below are some examples and the reasons why these changes can help you.
When it comes to high blood pressure, the number one culprit is salt. Salt, or sodium, increases blood pressure by causing your kidneys to hold on to water instead of eliminating it in your urine. This results in extra fluid in your blood vessels and, therefore, an increase in pressure on your delicate vessel walls.
Most of the excessive salt we consume comes from processed foods and junk foods. More of our salt intake comes from these processed foods than from our own salt shaker. The simple, but more time consuming, solution is to cook your own meals from whole foods whenever possible. It’s also important to check nutrition labels carefully to monitor your sodium intake.
Avoid Meat, Dairy, and Eggs
Red meats, eggs, and full fat dairy are high in saturated fats and cholesterol. These foods increase your blood pressure by blocking and narrowing your arteries.
The easiest way to prevent animal products from raising your blood pressure is to avoid consuming them.
Increase Vegetables and Fruits
Green, leafy vegetables are high in potassium. Potassium helps your body to get rid of more sodium (salt) in your urine, and thus helps to lower your blood pressure. Other fruits and vegetables are also effective at lowering blood pressure due to their potassium content. The minerals, vitamins, and fiber in plant based foods also help to lower blood pressure and reduce inflammation in the blood vessels.
Eat More Whole Grains and Pulses
Whole grains are high in fiber and are not as processed as refined grains. Brown rice, whole wheatl bread, quinoa, buckwheat, and barley are all good examples of whole grains. Pulses are a good source of protein, are low in saturated fats, and high in fiber. Some examples of healthy pulses are unsalted beans, lentils, chickpeas, tofu, and black-eyed peas.
Studies have shown that drinking in moderation, which is one drink a day for women and two drinks a day for men, can lower your blood pressure. However, any more than this has an adverse effect and can raise your blood pressure.
Overall research is showing that a healthy diet full of fresh vegetables, fruits and whole grains is the best way to lower blood pressure. Start by making small changes, and then as time goes on continue to make changes to improve your blood pressure. If you have concerns about your blood pressure, seek advice from your doctor before making any lifestyle or medication changes.
- by Russell Simmons
- November 1, 2018