Foods that Lower Blood Pressure
Most of us heard that having a high blood pressure is bad. However, most of us also have a hard time understanding how the blood pressure works, what encourages its rise, and how to reduce it. So what is high blood pressure?
When we talk about blood pressure, some of us may start imagining gardening hose. Once the pressure rises, the hose explodes, unless the valve is opened. It would be extremely easy to control the blood pressure if that was a case. However, unfortunately for us, the whole circulatory system is much more complicated.
Our circulatory system is more like a major water network with multiple locks and gates. It moves the blood into areas where it’s needed.
Gravity is one of the first factors affecting blood pressure just like it affects the whole body. When you get up from bed, gravity wants to drag your blood downwards to your feet. However, your brain, which is up top, needs blood to be able to do its work – thinking.
As the result, arteries in lower body narrow down at the same time as heart increases its pumping capacity. Therefore, blood pressure rises allowing the blood to reach the brain.
Our circulatory system is an intelligent system, but one that is extremely easy to screw up. When you add a few extra kilograms of fat around your belly, your heart is forced to pump harder consistently so the blood could reach all that new fatty tissue. When you regularly snack on salty snacks and in general consume large amounts of sodium, your body preserves large amounts of water in your body so it could dilute all that excess salt, resulting in higher blood volume.
Also, too many fat results in plaque forming in your arteries, narrowing them down and making the blood flow less efficient. Thus, the situation we have now is: we eat too much bad food (too many carbohydrates), gaining new fatty tissue and higher blood volume, while plaque forms in our arteries, narrowing them down. As the result, higher blood volume now has to move through newly narrowed vessels.
In addition, when you bring your piled stress of the day into the night, your brain unleashes stress hormones, making your heart to pump harder as well, providing additional pressure on your blood vessels.
Therefore, it’s becoming obvious that bad diets and too much stress create extremely dangerous situation, especially when it lasts for a longer period of time.
Understanding High Blood Pressure
Like it was mentioned above, letting some blood out will not do any good for anything. Your heart is still pumping the blood while your blood vessels are expanding and contracting to ensure blood’s transportation to needed areas.
When such situation persists for many years, thin-walled vessels in the brain can rupture under extremely high pressure. As the result, brain cells die in what is called hemorrhagic stroke. Or high blood pressure could cause plaque to pile up in of the brain’s arteries, cutting off the blood flow to the brain. Plaque accumulations can also cause such things as kidney failure and heart attacks as well.
If none of the above happened at some point, the simple wear and tear can lead to death. Over long time, extra work brought upon your entire body by high blood pressure causes heart walls to stiffen and thicken, reducing heart’s efficiency to pump the blood out. Eventually, too much blood flows in, and not enough is pumped out. As the result, blood backs up and the heart gives out – congestive heart failure.
Ideal blood pressure should be 120/80 or lower. What is that mean?
The first number, in this case 120, is systolic pressure. It’s the pressure generated when the heart beats.
The second number, in this case 80, is called diastolic pressure. It’s the pressure in between the beats, when your heart is resting.
The higher blood pressure numbers can be broken down into 3 categories: Prehypertension, Hypertension Stage I and Hypertension Stage II:
People with blood pressure up to 140/90 should start worrying. This stage is not overly dangerous, but if left untreated, it may easily advance to the next stage. Focusing on diet and exercise tips will help to stabilize it to normal levels. Drugs and doctor care is usually unnecessary.
Hypertension Stage I: 140-160/90-100
For people within this range, diet and exercise alterations are not enough. Doctors should be visited regularly for drug therapy. The risks of stroke and heart attack are increased.
Hypertension Stage II: 160+/100+
This is very serious and dangerous condition. Advanced drug therapy is often needed while under constant doctor supervision.
So, do you know what is your blood pressure? Maybe you suspect that your blood pressure is a bit higher than it should be and you would like to do something about it?
Just one thing first. In order to truly keep your blood pressure balanced, a well-rounded diet and a full body exercise routine are a must to achieve that. However, following these simple tips will get you of the right foot until you develop the right kind of eating and exercising habits.
12 Foods that Lower Blood Pressure Fast
Eat more potassium
Add a banana (422 milligrams) into your porridge or cereal. Toss in a sweet potato (952 mg) as a side to your meat, or try a guacamole (1 avocado – 1068 mg). According to studies, failing to consume 2,000 milligrams of potassium per day can increase your blood pressure. Researchers found, that prehypertensive patients knocked off 2.5 points of systolic and 1.6 point diastolic pressures by simply adding more potassium to their diets. Potassium helps to get rid of excess sodium causing blood vessels to expand.
Enjoy the tea
According to a study conducted in the US, men who enjoyed two or more cups of tea daily had a 25% less chance of dying of heart disease than those who never drank it. Flavonoids found in the tea relax blood vessels and thin the blood, reducing clogging and thus the blood pressure.
If you love your toast with jelly, then at least switch it to blackcurrant jelly. It is a good source of quercetin, a flavonol that is believed to improve heart health by preventing the free radicals from building up that damage arterial walls.
People who eat apples frequently have 20% less of a chance to develop a heart disease compared to people who do not eat apples often.
Devour fresh berries
When its berry season in your home, make sure you get plenty of those. Raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and other berries are loaded with salicylic acid, a hearth disease fighter.
Eat more fish
Omega-3 fatty acids are crucial component to a healthy and strong heart. If you don’t feel like buying supplements, add few fish dishes a week to ensure you get enough of Omega-3 fatty acids. They will make your heart stronger, lower the blood pressure and prevent your blood vessels from clogging. Flaxseeds are another good source of Omega-3.
A grapefruit a day
Simply by eating one grapefruit per day every day can diminish the arterial narrowing by nearly half and reduce bad cholesterol and blood pressure levels significantly.
Higher levels of calcium intakes can play major part in lowering your blood pressure. Make sure you buy calcium-fortified yogurts, orange juice and milk to achieve the minimum daily requirements of calcium.
Pumpkin seeds and magnesium
Insufficient amounts of magnesium have been linked to key risk factors for heart disease including high blood pressure, increased cholesterol levels and higher plaque build-up in arteries. 30 grams of pumpkin seeds contain 151 milligrams of magnesium, 35% of your recommended daily intake. Don’t like pumpkin seeds? Then add brown rice, chickpeas, cashews, artichokes and halibut to your diet.
Replacing corn and vegetable oil with monounsaturated fats found in olive and sesame oils will reduce your blood pressure substantially in as short as 60 days.
Reduce sodium intake
The lunchmeat like sliced ham is filled with sodium. One slice of ham contains as much as 240 milligrams of sodium. If food comes canned or jarred, it’s most likely filled with sodium, and should be avoided. A study of prehypertensive people found, that reducing sodium intake from 3,300 to 1,500 milligrams per day reduced systolic and diastolic pressures by 6 and 3 points respectively.
Two alcohol drinks
According to a study conducted by New England Journal of Medicine, one or two alcohol drinks actually diminished the blood pressure slightly. However, the third drink increased the blood pressure substantially, thus should be avoided at any cost. According to a study, a type of alcohol did not matter.