Keep Your Diet Healthy With These Ten Tips
High blood pressure is a national epidemic. Almost a third of Americans have high blood pressure, and another third of all Americans have blood pressure that is higher than normal, just not high enough yet to officially be called “hypertension.” Whether you have hypertension , or elevated blood pressure that not does not yet meet the criteria for hypertension, you can benefit from some simple dietary changes. Studies have demonstrated that you can reduce your blood pressure by eating a healthy diet.
Foods To Eat To Lower Blood Pressure
Its estimated that 2 of 3 people with diabetes have high blood pressure. When blood pressure is elevated, your heart works harder to pump blood throughout your body. High blood pressure increases your risk of a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, and eye problems.
You have already heard about how added salt can increase blood pressure, but did you know that certain foods can help to lower blood pressure? Foods that are high in potassium, magnesium, and calcium can help to regulate blood pressure. Taking these minerals as supplements doesnt have the same effect as eating foods that contain these. Try eating some of the following foods to boost your intake of nutrients that can lower blood pressure naturally.
Nuts are a good source of plant protein and contain the amino acid L-arginine which makes nitric oxide and helps blood vessels relax. While all nuts are a healthy choice, both almonds and pistachios contain the trifecta of potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Nuts are low in carbohydrates and eating nuts has been linked to improved glucose levels.
Beets contain nitrates, which are converted to nitric oxide which helps to control blood pressure. Beetroot juice contains higher amounts of nitrates than cooked beetroot. Beetroots contain potassium. For added calcium and magnesium, eat the beet greens as well.
Red And Processed Meat
If youre looking for foods to lower blood pressure, youre not going to find yourself in the meat section of your grocery store. That doesnt mean all meat is bad, but meat is just not a top choice for a high blood pressure diet.
Meats that are highly processed and high in sodium like cold cuts and sausage are especially unhelpful if youre looking to lower your blood pressure.
The Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults study followed 5,115 young men and women over a 15-year time period and monitored them for the development of cardiovascular disease risk factors.
A CARDIA sub-study of 4304 subjects specifically focused on hypertension showed a dose-dependent inverse relationship between plant-based food consumption, including fruits, whole grains, and nuts, and blood pressure.
The research also revealed the opposite when it came to meatgreater red and processed meat intake was associated with higher blood pressure.
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High Blood Pressure Is Called The Silent Killer
Dr. Elizabeth Yurth MD, ABPMR, ABAARM, FAARM, FAARFM says, “Elevated blood pressure is often referred to as a ‘silent killer.’ This is because people can live their day-to-day lives with hypertension and never feel any symptoms. When blood pressure is elevated it puts constant stress on blood vessels. The constant stress causes damage to the inner lining of the blood vessels. Repairing this damage is an inflammatory process that leads to atherosclerosis, increasing risk for cardiovascular disease. A great supplement used to develop a protective layer to the inner lining of the blood vessels is Arterosil. Taking a total omega3 of 3g daily will also help to reduce inflammation. Additionally, managing stress through deep breathing exercises or meditation is an effective way of reducing blood pressure when in stressful scenarios.”
Comparison Of Sodium In Foods
Meats, poultry, fish, and shellfish
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh meat, 3 oz. cooked: Less than 90 mg
Shellfish, 3 oz: 100 to 325 mg
Tuna, canned, 3 oz: 300 mg
Lean ham, 3 oz.: 1,025 mg
*Whole milk, 1 cup: 120 mg
Skim or 1% milk, 1 cup: 125 mg
*Buttermilk , 1 cup: 260 mg
*Swiss cheese, 1 oz: 75 mg
*Cheddar cheese, 1 oz : 175 mg
Low-fat cheese, 1 oz.: 150 mg
*Cottage cheese , 1/2 cup: 455 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Fresh or frozen vegetables, and no-salt-added canned , 1/2 cup: Less than 70 mg
Vegetables canned or frozen , 1/2 cup: 55-470 mg
Tomato juice, canned, 3/4 cup: 660 mg
Breads, cereals, rice and pasta
Food: Milligrams sodium
Bread, 1 slice: 110-175 mg
English muffin : 130 mg
Ready-to-eat, shredded wheat, 3/4 cup: Less than 5 mg
Cooked cereal , 1/2 cup: Less than 5 mg
Instant cooked cereal, 1 packet: 180 mg
Canned soups, 1 cup: 600-1,300 mg
Food: Milligrams sodium
Canned and frozen main dishes, 8 oz: 500-1,570 mg
*These can also be high in saturated fat, unless low-fat or reduced fat options are purchased.
*High in saturated fat.
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What To Avoid Or Limit To Prevent High Blood Pressure
In addition to eating heart-healthy foods, you can further decrease your risk of developing high blood pressure by reducing consumption or eliminating the following foods and beverages:
- Red meat
- Sweets and sugar-sweetened beverages
Salt, or sodium, is probably the key item on your list of foods to limit and possibly a fairly simple one to minimize. One study found that people who followed the DASH diet and also cut down on their sodium intake had significantly lower blood pressure measurements.
To reduce your intake of sodium, eat fresh foods and avoid frozen meals since frozen meals usually have high levels of salt. Use other flavorful spices and herbs to flavor your food instead of salt. Read the labels on any packaged food item and make a note of the sodium per serving number.
Additionally, increasing your intake of potassium can counterbalance the effects of salt. So be sure to add foods high in potassium such as bananas and sweet potatoes to your list of things to eat.
For more information on how to prevent high blood pressure, call Danvers Family Doctors, P.C., in Danvers, Massachusetts, or make an appointment online.
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How To Lower Blood Pressure Within Minutes
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Eat Garlic Or Take Garlic Extract Supplements
Fresh garlic or garlic extract are both widely used to lower blood pressure.
A meta-analysis found that for people with high blood pressure, garlic supplements reduced their systolic blood pressure by up to about 5 mm Hg and reduced their diastolic blood pressure as much as 2.5 mm Hg .
According to a 2009 clinical study, a time-release garlic extract preparation may have a greater effect on blood pressure than regular garlic powder tablets .
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Limit Your Alcohol Intake
Regularly drinking too much alcohol can raise your blood pressure over time.
Staying within the recommended levels is the best way to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure:
- men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units a week
- spread your drinking over 3 days or more if you drink as much as 14 units a week
What To Eat To Prevent Or Manage High Blood Pressure
A heart-healthy diet helps prevent heart disease as well as high blood pressure, a major contributor to heart disease. What is a heart-healthy diet? Its a diet rich in:
- Whole grains
- Low-fat or nonfat dairy products
- Lean proteins
- Good fats found in products such as vegetable oils, nuts, and seeds
The DASH eating plan, which has been clinically proven to lower blood pressure, provides a framework for incorporating these heart-healthy foods into your diet. Although the name says its for people with high blood pressure, people with normal blood pressure levels who follow a DASH eating style can lower their risk of developing high blood pressure.
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All Natural Peanut Butter
All natural peanut butter is made with one ingredient, peanuts. Numerous studies have shown nut consumption is associated with a lower risk of high blood pressure.
In one study 54 men with high cholesterol lowered their risk of high cholesterol due to a reduction in blood pressure after consuming peanut supplements for four weeks 48.
Its a great source of protein and healthy fat. Peanut butter provides fatty acids, magnesium, fiber, potassium and many bioactive components which can all contribute to reducing blood pressure. Peanut butter contains high percentages of the following:
All natural peanut butter is made of peanuts, and thats it. Some all natural brands try to sneak in some ingredients other than peanuts. Read the label and make sure youre not buying one with added ingredients.
Unnatural peanut butters contain added sugar, hydrogenated oils and more sodium.
What Cold Medicine Doesnt Raise Blood Pressure
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Every Kitchen Cupboard Needs:
Wholegrain varieties of pasta, breakfast cereals and rice. Eating more wholegrains will help to lower your risk of heart disease, and they contain fibre which keeps you feeling full and aids digestion. Brown rice, wholewheat pasta and wholegrain cereals are good choices.
Nuts and seeds. These are a great source of minerals, nutrients and fibre. As they can also be high in fat, a good rule of thumb is to eat no more than handful a day. Avoid the roasted and salted types, the added will raise your blood pressure.
Canned fish, fruit, vegetables and beans. Canned products can be just as good as fresh or frozen. Choose options in water or their own juice and avoid foods tinned in oil, brine or syrup, or with added salt or sugar.
Tips For Using Diet To Control Blood Pressure
Fiddling with diet to control cholesterol makes perfect sense. After all, some of the cholesterol that ends up in arteries starts out in food. Changing your diet to control blood pressure doesn’t seem quite so straightforward. Yet food can have a direct and sometimes dramatic effect on blood pressure.
Salt certainly plays a role. But there is far more to a blood pressurefriendly diet than minimizing salt intake. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans, nuts, whole-grain carbohydrates, and unsaturated fats also have healthful effects on blood pressure.
There isn’t a single “magic” food in this list. Instead, it’s the foundation for an all-around healthful eating strategy that is good for blood pressure and so much more. Rigorous trials show that eating strategies such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, DASH variants like the OmniHeart diet, and Mediterranean-type diets lower blood pressure in people with hypertension and those headed in that direction. They also help prevent some of the feared consequences of high blood pressure.
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What Is Considered High Blood Pressure
According to the guidelines by the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association, published in May 2018 in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the criteria for high blood pressure are as follows:
- Normal Less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury
- Elevated Systolic between 120 and 129 mmHg and diastolic less than 80 mmHg
- Stage 1 Systolic between 130 and 139 mmHg or diastolic between 80 and 89 mmHg
- Stage 2 Systolic at least 140 mmHg or diastolic at least 90 mmHg
- Hypertensive Crisis Systolic over 180 mmHg or diastolic over 120 mmHg, with patients needing prompt changes in medication if there are no other indications of problems, or immediate hospitalization if there are signs of organ damage
A large study of more than 9,000 patients, published in May 2021 in The New England Journal of Medicine, found that participants who got their systolic pressures below 120 mmHg saw their incidence of heart failure, heart attack, stroke, and death drop substantially in comparison with those who followed a more standard treatment plan, where the goal was to reduce their systolic pressure to less than 140 mmHg.
Quitting Smoking And Limiting Alcohol
If youre a smoker and have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor will most likely advise you to quit. The chemicals in tobacco smoke can damage the bodys tissues and harden blood vessel walls.
If you regularly consume too much alcohol or have an alcohol dependency, seek help to reduce the amount you drink or stop altogether. Drinking alcohol in excess can raise blood pressure.
If you have risk factors for hypertension, you can take steps now to lower your risk for the condition and its complications.
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How To Stock Your Kitchen Healthily:
Download our free . It can help you make healthier choices when shopping. By scanning the barcode of a product the app will tell you how much , and it contains and find similar but healthier alternatives.
Find out more about the foods that are high in salt, sugar and fat and the healthier options available.
Get more ideas for healthy eating from our meal plan in , our members magazine.
Causes Of High Blood Pressure
Several factors can cause high blood pressure:
- Inactive lifestyle: If you dont get enough physical exercise, your blood pressure can rise because your heart isnt as efficient as it could be.
- Unhealthy Diet
- Genetics: Your genes may have a part to play in high blood pressure because some people have a naturally higher blood pressure than others.
- Overweight: People with high body mass indexes generally have higher blood pressure.
- Bad lifestyle choices:Smoking, smokeless tobacco use, and drinking alcohol all increase your blood pressure.
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