High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious and common condition that can lead to life threatening diseases such as heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney failure, and more.
According to the Center for disease control and prevention, 67 million American adults (31%) have high blood pressure, that is one in every 3 American adults. However, this condition only affects 3% or less of hunter-gatherer populations which suggests that hypertension is a disease associated with poor lifestyle choices and one that can be treated/prevented by incorporating simple diet and lifestyle changes.
Diet and exercise play a major role in keeping blood pressure at normal levels.
Here are two steps to help you get your blood pressure under control…
Step One: Incorporate nutrient rich food into your diet
1.) Increase your intake of minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium. This is more beneficial than just focusing on reducing sodium intake.
2.) Eat more dark leafy greens– For example; spinach is high in fiber, packed with heart, healthy nutrients like potassium, folate and magnesium. These are key ingredients for lowering and maintaining blood pressure levels.
Please note: It is important to mix up your dark leafy greens. Try mixing them in salads, smoothies, as a side with eggs and/ or sandwiches.
3.) Start juicing– For instance, a glass of beet juice a day can help keep the heart doctor away. Beets contain high levels of nitrate, which the body converts to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide helps improve blood flow.
Tara Liz Beet Juice Recipe
2 medium Granny Smith Apples ,1 Beet Root 3 stalk celery, large 1 cucumber 1/2 thumb of ginger root
4.) Eat celery– Celery calms the nerves because of the high calcium content and helps aid in controlling blood pressure. Raw celery or celery juice should be eaten to reduce blood pressure.
5.) Start your day with a glass of lemon water– Drinking lemon juice or adding lemon to water is helpful for people suffering with heart problems as it contains potassium. It controls high blood pressure, dizziness, nausea as provides relaxation to mind and body. It reduces mental stress and depression.
6.) Bananas– are loaded with potassium. This is a great option for an on the go snack or the perfect addition to a smoothie.
7.) Omega 3’s– Incorporate fatty fish such as salmon, sardines, halibut and/or mackerel are rich in omega three’s. Flax-seeds are also loaded with omega three’s and are easy to incorporate into most meals. Add 1 -2 tablespoons of flax-seeds to smoothies, chicken dishes, vegetables, sweet potato fries, oatmeal… etc.
8.) Dark Chocolate– According to the Journal of the America Medical Association, eating about 30 calories a day of dark chocolate ( one tiny square) is shown to lower blood pressure after 18 weeks without weight gain or other adverse effects. Buy cacao nibs and add them to your smoothies. Make sure it is 70 percent cocoa powder and be careful not to eat too much!
9.) Sweet Potatoes– are rich in both magnesium and potassium. Slice up the Sweet potato and make sweet potato fries. Add some coconut oil, pepper and nutritional yeast for a tasty addition to any meal.
10.) Watermelon– is not only refreshing and satisfying but it is also known as the richest edible source of L- citrulline, a type of amino acid that helps promote and regulate healthy blood pressure.
* As a reminder, always consult your doctor before adding in new food to your diet. *
Step 2– Exercise
1.) Go for a walk– Whether you are walking outside or on a treadmill studies have proven that getting your heart pumping is a proven way to lower blood pressure. New studies have show that you don’t have to go all out. A 2013 study compared 48,000 people in the National Runners’ and National Walkers’ health studies and found that walking 30-60 minutes a day led to a 19% reduction in hypertension risk- the same result as those who ran 15-30 minutes.
2.) Warm up and Cool Down- Warming up and cooling down are important for people with high blood pressure. These exercises let your heart rate increase and decrease gradually. Try warming up and cooling down by walking on a treadmill or riding the stationary bike for 5-10 minutes.
3.) Hit the Gym– Joining a gym is a good way to get motivated about working out. Work out with a trainer who can show you how to use equipment and recommend proper machines and workouts for you.
4.) Strength train to strengthen your heart– Resistance exercise such as with free weights, weight machines, exercise bands, toning exercises… etc. help reduce body fat, increase muscle mass, and boost metabolic rate. Losing as little as ten pounds can reduce or prevent high blood pressure in many overweight individuals.
Please note: It is important to check with your doctor before starting a new weight training program.
5.) Go for a swim– Swimming for 30 minutes a day reduces the amount of circulating adrenaline in the body and relaxes blood vessels. Swimming can help lower your blood pressure and your pulse rate.
6.) Yoga– is known to reduce blood pressure and decrease stress. Take a class or buy a dvd, it will improve your overall well-being.
* If you don’t have time for yoga, find time to breathe. Practice controlled breathing by placing one hand on your belly and inhaling deeply, breathing in until your lower belly rises. Then breathe out slowly. Repeat until 30 seconds is over.* Much love, health and happiness.