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High blood pressure is a serious and widespread problem for billions of people around the world. One in five women suffers from it, while slightly more men (one in four) will be diagnosed with it at some point in their lives. About one in eight people will die from it, and it is the main risk factor for heart and kidney disease in addition to playing a major role in the risk of stroke.
Given the seriousness of the disease, it is important to deal with thoroughly and swiftly. The traditional Western way is to prescribe medication to lower blood pressure, and this treatment method is not without its complications – like stroke, one of the very things you are trying to prevent by lowering your blood pressure. Fortunately, most people are able to control their high blood pressure fairly well through making a few simple lifestyle changes.
Diet, for example, can play a hefty role in improving quality of life for those suffering from high blood pressure – and everyone, in general. An advantage of using diet to modify blood pressure is that foods typically do not cause side effects such as those that commonly appear with the use of medication. The following article will discuss a few of the foods you can add to your diet that may lower your blood pressure naturally.
Oatmeal has been a staple food all over the world for thousands of years. As a main ingredient in classic foods including granola and porridge (otherwise known as a hot bowl of oatmeal with milk), it is filling, low in sodium and extremely high in fiber. This complex carbohydrate encourages a slower digestive process, which is better for the body.
Many studies have shown that the beta glucans found in the kernels of oats are known to lower cholesterol and blood glucose, which has beneficial effects on blood pressure. And if you add a handful of blueberries to your hot cereal, as the above picture shows, you’re going to be adding even more heart healthy benefits to your diet!
Bananas are well known for their high potassium content. This is a really versatile fruit that can be eaten in a variety of ways. You can cut it up and put it on top of your oatmeal, you can blend it into a smoothie, or you can simply peel and eat it. That’s personally my favorite way to eat bananas because you can stick the whole fruit in your purse and have a ready-made healthy snack at any time of the day.
Potassium is absorbed by the body much more efficiently through ingestion of foods than it is through supplements, so try adding bananas into your daily diet by including them in healthy desserts and snacks.
As always, health through food is about balance. Typical Western diets contain high levels of omega-6 fatty acids, but low levels of omega-3 fatty acids (mostly found in fish). That’s why it’s recommended for almost everyone to take an omega-3 fatty acid fish oil supplement every day.
One of the main causes of high blood pressure is chronic inflammation, and fish oil greatly reduces inflammation in the body, making it a powerful preventive aid for a number of serious health conditions.
Green tea has become famous worldwide for its amazing health benefits, including a wide array of antioxidants and polyphenols. The polyphenols in green tea have been found to increase blood flow and improve blood pressure.
Studies have proven that drinking just a few cups a day can widen arteries by almost 40 percent. Tea drinkers have a lower risk of heart disease than non-tea drinkers, so you might want to try a cup of green tea today.
I started drinking green tea every day several years ago (maybe over a decade – I’m getting old!), and I’ve never regretted it. One of my favorite types of green tea is the South American yerba mate, which I talk about in this post.
While the four foods listed above will get you started on the way to lower blood pressure and overall better health, if you are really serious about making some healthier diet changes you will want to check out the above guide on the DASH Diet.
The DASH diet focuses on using calcium, magnesium, and potassium rich whole foods to combat high blood pressure. It’s more than just a guide to help you lose weight (although you can very quickly on this plan, and the weight will stay off). It’s a plan for getting healthier for the rest of your life.
Do you suffer from high blood pressure? Do you know someone who does? Have you (or they) made these dietary changes, or are you (or they) still stuck using the standard pharmaceuticals? How do you think things would be different if you changed what you are eating today? Are you ready to try?