High blood pressure is known as the silent killer because most people do not experience any symptoms.
Do you have high blood pressure? It’s easier than you might think to improve your blood pressure naturally.
Approximately one-third of American adults have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is greater than 130/85, you have a 2½ times greater risk of suffering a heart attack than if your blood pressure was 120/80. It occurs when the pressure on the arteries and blood vessels becomes too high, and the artery wall becomes distorted. This creates extra stress on the heart, and over a long period can increase the risk of stroke, heart attack and diabetes.
You might not be surprised that a sedentary lifestyle and a poor diet are two huge contributors to high blood pressure.
Caution: The following information is not intended to replace your physician or blood pressure medication and is for informational purposes only.
To decrease your blood pressure, it’s essential to not just increase your daily movement but also increase your mineral intake – especially calcium, magnesium and potassium. Foods rich in these minerals lower blood pressure by helping your arteries to dilate, relax and become more flexible.
Add the following suggested foods into your meal plan, while working to decrease your sodium intake from processed and packaged food:
High Calcium Foods: Beyond dairy, dark, leafy vegetables are high in calcium, including kale, turnip greens, broccoli, Brussel sprouts and cabbage. In addition, canned fish (with bones) such as salmon, sardines and mackerel are also good choices.High Magnesium Foods: Magnesium is a mineral that most of us are deficient in.Most of us are deficient in magnesium, and foods such as green leafy vegetables (e.g., spinach, kale, arugula), Swiss chard, lentils, white and black beans, almonds, cashews, pumpkin seeds, Brazil nuts, barley and quinoa are all good sources. A magnesium supplement may also be a beneficial addition to your diet, but make sure to supplement zinc as well.
High Potassium Foods: Fruits rich in potassium include bananas, apricots, prunes, dates, cantaloupe, watermelon and strawberries. Foods such as salmon, beans, turkey and fish also contain potassium, as do peas, spinach and tomatoes. If you are consuming three of these items a day, you are probably getting enough potassium and do not need to add a supplement. Potassium alert! – If you have kidney or heart disease, your potassium intake must be monitored by your doctor.
You don’t have to be perfect to get benefits and lower your blood pressure naturally. However, the more consistently you feed your body foods high in minerals, get exercise and reduce salt intake, the better your results will be. If you are not sure where to begin, start by moving your body daily for at least 20 minutes.
Next, reduce the processed foods you eat and increase your intake of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Fran Sutherlin is a local registered dietitian, health coach, speaker and owner of Sustainable Nutrition in Bayfield. She can be reached at 444-2122 or firstname.lastname@example.org.