Each time your heart beats – 60 to 70 times per minute – it pumps blood throughout your system within the walls of your arteries. Our blood pressure is lowest when we sleep or are at rest, and highest during our waking hours. It can rise for any number of reasons such as stress, panic and physical activity.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is present among approximately 1 in 3 Americans! It is the leading cause of heart disease and stroke in the US alone. Prehypertension is present in nearly one in three adults, a condition which describes blood pressure numbers as higher than normal, but not yet within the high blood pressure range. Only about 52% of those with high blood pressure have their condition under control! Hypertension not only leads to heart disease and stroke, but can cause vision, kidney and brain damage as well.
Underlying conditions which cause high blood pressure include a family history of the disease, thyroid problems, kidney disease, birth control pills – particularly those containing estrogen – diabetes and even pregnancy. Contributing factors to high blood pressure include excessive drinking, overweight, age (55 and over), smoking, certain medications such as NSAIDs (ibuprofen or aspirin), lack of exercise, too much salt in your diet, and even the use of illicit drugs such as cocaine.
Here’s the great news! Diet and exercise lowers blood pressure. Here are the foods richest in blood-pressure-lowering compounds:
What to Look For
First, look for foods high in vitamins C, K and B1. Vitamin B1, or thiamin, helps maintain a healthy nervous system. It’s highest in broccoli, kale, onions, summer squash, carrots and tomatoes. Vitamin K supports a healthy cardiovascular system, and is richest in broccoli, dark leafy greens and Brussels sprouts. Vitamin C also helps maintain a healthy cardiovascular function, and is especially high in berries, citrus fruit and melon.
Strawberries are rich in folic acid, an ingredient which has been shown to help lower high blood pressure. Potassium and niacin, or vitamin B3, are two other components to healthy blood pressure. Both have been used for years to help control and maintain blood pressure at proper levels. Tomatoes are a good source of both of these. Niacin is particularly helpful in maintaining a healthy cardiovascular system. Potassium plays an integral role in every single heart beat your body makes! Potassium rich foods include potatoes, tomatoes, avocados, fruits such as bananas, strawberries and oranges, cucumbers, beans and peas.
Fruits and vegetables high in nitrates such as beets, play an integral part in lowering high blood pressure.
Wheatgrass, a superfood, helps maintain healthy blood pressure and minimizing the risk of hypertension. It’s not only rich in vitamins C and K, but is also abundant in potassium, thiamin and niacin.
- 1 Tomato
- 3 Carrots
- 1/2 Cucumber
- 1 Beet
- 1 thumb of Wheatgrass
- for a smoothie add 1 cup of your favorite liquid such as oat milk, almond milk or coconut water
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 0 minutes
- Total Time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 20 oz.
Always include the peel of the carrot, cucumber, tomato and beet for extra nutrition.