7 Amazing Ways to Treat High Blood Pressure with Diet
Blood pressure refers to the force of blood flowing through the vessels of your body at a constant rate. If you have high blood pressure or hypertension, the force of blood through the arteries is consistently too high, making the heart work harder to pump blood through the body.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, one in three people in the U.S. has high blood pressure. That’s an estimated 75 million individuals, a little over half of whom are not properly managing this condition with diet, medication, or a number of other lifestyle modifications. This puts these individuals at high risk of heart disease or stroke.
If you, like millions of other people, aren’t controlling your blood pressure, you need to ask yourself why? Do you think changing your diet will be difficult? Are you overwhelmed by all the lifestyle changes your doctors want you to make? Do you, perhaps, think that having high blood pressure is not that big of a deal? Well, you might want to rethink that.
High blood pressure dangers
High blood pressure occurs when the pressure of blood moving through your arteries from your heart increases. If this increased pressure becomes chronic, it wears down your arteries, increasing your risk of stroke, coronary artery disease, heart attack, and diabetes. It can even damage your kidneys.
The Centers for Disease Control refers to high blood pressure as “the silent killer” because there are usually no symptoms. Your blood pressure could be rising and rising and rising without your body alerting you that anything is wrong. Then, suddenly, you could have a heart attack or stroke.
There are many reasons why you may have developed high blood pressure. Some of the risk factors include:
- Genetics: Having a family history of high blood pressure increases your risk of developing it, too.
- Age: Like most other medical conditions and diseases, the risk of having high blood pressure increases with age.
- Diabetes: This disease causes sugar to build up in the blood, increasing blood pressure. (An estimated 60 percent of diabetics also have high blood pressure.)
- Unhealthy Diet: A diet that is too high in salt and too low in potassium increases your risk of high blood pressure. As salt is in almost all processed foods, and studies show the majority of the average American’s calories come from highly-processed foods, it is not surprising that so many Americans have high blood pressure.
- Obesity: Having too much body fat has been proven to cause or contribute to high blood pressure.
- Being Sedentary: Not getting enough physical activity can contribute to the development of obesity, a known risk factor for high blood pressure.
- Cigarette Smoking: Nicotine raises blood pressure, and cigarette smoking can damage your heart and blood vessels.
Although you cannot do anything about genetics or your age, you can do something – a lot, actually – about your diet that will lower your high blood pressure.
Here are seven easy ways to treat high blood pressure with diet.
Eat a SANE, high-quality diet to lower blood pressure naturally
Eating a minimum of 10 servings a day of non-starchy vegetables is the most important change you can make in your diet. Vegetables are chock-full of antioxidants, which protect your cells from free radical damage. (Research indicates free radical damage to be the cause of many diseases, including arteriosclerosis and cancer.)
Vegetables also contain vitamins and electrolytes. Plus, they are loaded with fiber, which has been found to lower high blood pressure. Although you should eat a variety of non-starchy vegetables in a variety of colors, be sure to include plenty of green, leafy vegetables in your diet. Spinach, collard greens, kale, and similar leafy green vegetables contain healthy amounts of potassium, which has been shown to lower high blood pressure.
If you’re not really a veggie eater – particularly not a green, leafy veggie eater – you have options. The best way to handle this situation is to make green smoothies. Simply put two or three handfuls of spinach or other leafy green vegetables in a high-speed blender, add a low-fructose fruit (see below) and water, and blend. Though the drink will be green, you won’t taste the spinach.
Fruits are also great sources of fiber, which is a great treatment for high blood pressure. However, they can still contain a lot of sugar – in the form of fructose – which can cause inflammation that makes high blood pressure worse. The solution? Opt for berries and citrus, which are low-fructose fruits. Stay away from high sugar fruits such as apples and bananas.
Like vegetables, fruits also have potassium, vitamins, and antioxidants. Eating up to three servings a day of low-fructose fruits will help treat or prevent high blood pressure.
Studies have shown that eating protein fills you up fast and keeps you full for a longer period. It also stabilizes your blood sugar, is inefficient at being stored as fat, and tastes delicious. What more could you ask for?
Your best choices are wild-caught salmon, halibut, and other fatty fish because they have high amounts of anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids, which are great for your arteries. Grass-fed beef and cage-free eggs are also great, as are plain nonfat Greek yogurt and cottage cheese. Eating 30-60 ounces of nutrient-dense protein with every meal with help lower your high blood pressure and help you maintain proper muscle mass.
Like protein, whole-food fats are important for satiety. They help balance your blood sugar levels so that you stay full longer. Coconut, avocado, flax seeds, macadamia nuts, and olives are excellent whole-food fats.
Be sure to eat the whole food and not just the oil. Whole food contains fiber and all the other nutrients that make whole-food fats the SANE choice.
To treat high blood pressure and for your health in general, it is important that you drink plenty of water. Being well-hydrated balances your fluids, prevents dehydration and improves your mood. Have several glasses of water a day, and don’t be tempted to replace this water with a sugary soda. Besides causing inflammation, sugar inhibits proper hydration.
If the thought of drinking glasses and glasses of plain old boring water depresses you, there are some tasty SANE options here, too. Squeeze a lemon or orange and add the juice to your water. Or put water and a few berries in your blender and – voila – instant flavored water! You can also replace much of your water intake with fat-burning green tea, just be sure to use a natural sweetener like Stevia.
Eat a diet of unprocessed foods as much as possible. Almost all processed foods have high amounts of salt – which is very bad for high blood pressure. Do most of your shopping on the perimeter of the grocery stores. That’s where the produce and the meat departments are. All the packaged and processed foods are in the middle of the store.
Try to choose foods that are as close to their natural state as possible. For instance, are the vegetables you want to purchase ones you could pick and eat raw if you wanted to? Non-starchy vegetables are in this category, and you can purchase them fresh at the supermarket or farmers market or frozen. Try to stay away from canned vegetables, as they are overly processed and loaded with sodium.
Lower your setpoint weight.
If you eat a diet of primarily non-starchy vegetables, nutrient-dense protein, whole-food fats, and low-fructose fruits, you will lower your setpoint weight. This is yet another way to lower high blood pressure.
When you lower your setpoint weight, you will remove the hormonal clog that has been preventing your metabolism from operating at its optimum performance. If you are overweight or obese, you will also start effortlessly losing weight. (Losing weight has been shown to lower high blood pressure.) What’s more, the weight you lose will stay lost for a change. That means no yo-yo dieting and no re-occurrence of obesity-related high blood pressure.
BONUS: These 4 superfoods should be part of your High blood pressure lowering diet
Spinach: Studies have shown the antioxidants spinach contains lower blood pressure.
Dark Chocolate: Eating dark chocolate is a yummy way to lower your blood pressure, and research proves that it is, indeed, effective. Just make sure to purchase the type that isn’t loaded with sugar. Also, you need to eat the type with a high amount of flavonols, which act like antioxidants. To find the right type of dark chocolate, shop around for organic chocolate that lists around 80 percent cocoa solids on its label.
Flax Seed: This tiny seed has shown big results in lowering blood pressure. Flaxseed contains a high amount of omega-3 fatty acids, which probably accounts for its positive effect on blood pressure. If you want to see if flax seed will treat your high blood pressure, consume it regularly for more than 12 weeks. Studies have shown that this time showed the most impressive results.
Tomatoes: Research has shown tomatoes to be highly effective at lowering high blood pressure. In fact, in some cases, tomatoes took the place of drugs in treating high blood pressure. By the way…the likely nutrient responsible for this benefit is lycopene, which is essential for heart health.
Only a few changes in diet are needed for now.
If you are becoming anxious, wondering how you’ll ever be able to make all these changes in your diet, calm down and take a deep breath.
Okay. The truth is, you don’t need to make all these changes at once. All you need to do is start making substitutions here and there. Instead of having your regular pancakes and syrup for breakfast one morning, make a tasty omelet.
Keep making these substitutions, and celebrate your progress with each one. Know that each action is having a positive effect on lowering your high blood pressure. It’s all good!
Other tips for lowering blood pressure
Besides diet, there are a few other things you can do to lower blood pressure. Here are a few of them.
Though there is no proof that stress causes long-term high blood pressure, it is known to contribute to such high blood pressure risk factors as poor diet. It is important, therefore, that you make an effort to manage stress.
Try a few of these tips to manage stress:
- Take a walk in the park.
- Sign up for an art class.
- Practice mindfulness.
- Go hiking.
- Practice yoga.
- Play a board game with a group of friends.
- Rent a funny movie, the kind that makes you laugh out loud all the way through it.
- Practice non-resistance to whatever is happening in the present moment. Just flow with it and see where it takes you.
Get plenty of sleep
Getting enough sleep enables you to handle stress better. You’ll feel better, too. Try to get 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep a night and see how great you’ll feel.
Increase your potassium intake.
Potassium is important for lowering your high blood pressure. Several studies have shown that a low-potassium diet raises blood pressure and increases the risk of stroke. Conversely, it has been shown that eating a diet with adequate amounts of potassium can lower high blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables are excellent sources of potassium, and they provide many other vitamins and minerals.
Lower the sodium in your diet
Eating a diet high in sodium has been proven to cause high blood pressure. That’s because sodium is one of three electrolytes – the others being potassium and magnesium – that needs to be balanced by the other two. The typical American diet, however, consists of far too much salt and far too little potassium and magnesium. The result is an electrolyte imbalance, which causes high blood pressure.
The American Heart Association recommends that we consume less than 1,500 mg of sodium per day, up to a maximum of 2,300 mg. The average intake of sodium is around 3,400 mg, and it’s not coming from salt shakers at home. Rather, most of our sodium intake comes from processed foods.
So, if you want to lower your high blood pressure, you need to eat SANEly and avoid these foods:
- Lunch meats, sausage, bacon, etc.
- Deli meats
- Canned soups
- Chips, pretzels, popcorn
This way to have SANEr blood pressure
Eating a SANE diet is one of the best ways to treat high blood pressure. You’ll eat plenty of tasty foods that contain nutrients that lower high blood pressure. Fiber. Potassium. Omega-3 fatty acids. You’ll be satisfied after every meal. No hunger! And you’ll have more energy than you ever thought possible.
Are you ready to lower your high blood pressure with SANE?
Next step: Treat high blood pressure with diet by joining SANE
There is much more to the SANE lifestyle. Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a night, reducing stress, staying hydrated, and performing eccentric exercises are other important factors in lowering your setpoint.
Ready to finally break free from the yo-yo dieting rollercoaster that can lead to diabesity? By balancing your hormones and lowering your body’s set-point weight, SANE is the solution you’ve been dreaming of.
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