Thrive/Strive

8 Foods That Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Don't Worry, You Won't Have to Eat Sprouts

When I think about blood pressure I think about those free blood pressure machines you find at pharmacies. I always sit down and let them squeeze the hell out of my arms until some random numbers flash up on the screen.

I used to never know what those numbers meant. I just knew that each had to be below a certain level and if they were then I was the healthiest person on the planet.

Of course, that isn’t true, but that’s how the machine makes me feel.

Your blood pressure is typically recorded as two numbers that are written in a ratio like this: 177/76.

This is read as “117 over 76”. If you really want to get medical it is technically read as “117 over 76 millimeters of mercury”. That makes it sound much scarier than it really is.

So what are these numbers and what do they represent?

  • Systolic: The top number, which should always be the higher number of the two (if not go see the grim reaper), measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats.
  • Diastolic: The bottom number measures the pressure in the arteries between heartbeats.

Make sense? When your heart beats it pumps blood through your arteries causing them to expand and therefore the pressure rises.

What Is the Recommendation for Healthy Blood Pressure?

This blood pressure table reflects categories defined by the American Heart Association so if you have a problem with them, then take it up with them. Don’t shoot the messenger!

Blood Pressure Category Systolic (Upper #) Diastolic (Lower #)
Normal < 120 < 80
Prehypertension 120-139 80-89
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1 140-159 90-99
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2 160-180

100-110
Hypertensive Crisis (Go to hospital now) > 180 > 110

A single higher blood pressure reading doesn’t necessarily mean that you have high blood pressure. You could’ve just climbed Mt. Everest so it’s important to do multiple readings over time. If they all show consistent readings of high blood pressure then you will need to work on lowering your blood pressure.

Here are 8 foods that will help to lower your blood pressure naturally.

1. Bananas

banana

This fruit contains a lot of potassium. Potassium is known to decrease the harmful effects of sodium. Potassium helps sodium pass through your body in your urine. The more potassium you consume, the faster sodium will leave your body.

Potassium also naturally opens up your blood vessels allowing your blood pressure to decrease.

2. Berries

berries

Berries have pigments called anthocyanins. These are the pigments that give berries their color. It has been said that these pigments help lower blood pressure. These antioxidants also help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.

Anthocyanins can also be found in dark chocolates and red wines, which have been said to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease as well.

3. Beets

The nitrates in beets and beet juice help keep your blood vessels clean. Your vessels will have less gunk in them. When you have clean blood vessels, your blood pressure is going to be more regular.

4. Beans

beans

Beans contain multiple nutrients that aid in the reduction and regulation of blood pressure.

All beans contain soluble fiber, potassium, and magnesium. The combination of these nutrients allows your body to pass sodium faster, cleans your blood vessels, and keeps your bowel movements regular.

5. Low-Fat Dairy

Compared to high-fat dairies, low-fat dairies contain calcium and vitamin D which have been known to help reduce blood pressure. They also form milk peptides, which help aid in heart health, when they are digested.

6. Nectarines

Nectarines have a high quantity of potassium and magnesium. They are low in sodium as well. By this time, you know exactly how each of these nutrients will be able to effect your blood pressure.

7. Spinach

spinach

Spinach also has a high quantity of potassium and is low in sodium. They contain a lot of nitrates as well. You can think of spinach as having the benefits of both beets and bananas.

8. Sweet Potato

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium are the key nutrients in sweet potatoes. A lot of people avoid eating the skin of the potato, but if you are trying to look out for your health, then you should really consider eating the skin. The skin will give you that extra boost of nutrients without overdoing it.

Other Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Of course eating these foods alone might not help you get to the blood pressure readings that you want. You’ll have to add in some other things to help with lowering your blood pressure.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

This is the most important step in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Losing excessive weight is important for lowering blood pressure.

How can you do that?

Exercise Regularly

Nobody is saying you have to hit the gym, although that will help. Incorporate daily walks into your routine. These are helpful for lowering stress and dropping your blood pressure.

If you want to take it further than daily walks then you can start with yoga or Pilates. By stretching your muscles regularly, you will improve circulation, alleviate pain in the muscles, improve your posture, and take a major step in helping to reduce hypertension.

Manage Stress

Stress can have a temporary effect on increasing blood pressure.

If you can keep your stress low then that’s just another way to maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Exercising is a great way to lower stress. You can also try meditation and deep breathing.

Live Longer

Living a healthy style also means that you are making the right choices for your blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure means a better outlook on life.

Live longer. Live happier.

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