What Is High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure, or hypertension, has 2 types, primary and secondary. Primary hypertension accounts for approximately 90 – 95% of all diagnosed cases and is defined as having no obvious medical or underlying causes. There may be genetic reasons or it may be linked to lifestyle, age and even weight. Secondary hypertension is diagnosed when a medical condition is causing high blood pressure.
Hypertension is dangerous because it can lead to heart attack, stroke, aneurism of the blood vessels, hypertensive heart disease and coronary artery disease.
A great deal of the stress and strain on the heart caused by high blood pressure can be alleviated by changing your eating habits! What you eat is perhaps one of the easiest first steps to take to get the blood pressure numbers down!
Top Nutrients that Fight High Blood Pressure
Consuming foods rich in potassium is your body’s first line of defense in reducing your blood pressure. It is essential to improved kidney function, normal blood clotting and the efficient and healthy opening of blood vessels. All of these contribute to making potassium the first and foremost element in controlling blood pressure.
Magnesium acts as a ‘vasodilator’ by helping to widen the blood vessel walls, and greatly assists in lowering blood pressure. Eating foods rich in magnesium, coupled with potassium and calcium has been shown to lower the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure.
Foods high in calcium have also been proven helpful. There are a number of ways calcium helps to lower blood pressure, but first and foremost, it helps the kidneys rid themselves of sodium and water, thus acting as a natural diuretic.
Reduced sodium and water lower blood pressure by increasing optimal blood flow in our blood vessels.
Look for veggies and fruits rich in nitrates! Nitrates are another of Mother Nature’s ingredients that maintain healthy blood vessels and help lower blood pressure. They, too, act as dilators of blood vessels, opening them wider and allowing for less constricted blood flow.
This action of nitrates from the fruits and vegetables we eat takes pressure off the heart and naturally helps lower blood pressure. One study showed that consumption of vegetables rich in nitrates reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease by their action as a vasodilator.
Get more vitamin C which helps strengthen the inner walls of our blood vessels – the endothelium layers – and adds to their elasticity, effectively assisting in lowering blood pressure.
Finally, fiber is exceedingly healthful for cardiovascular support and lowering cholesterol levels, all of which are an important part of maintaining healthy blood pressure! Recent research has shown that those who ate diets high in fiber had overall lower blood pressure, especially among those with raised numbers!
Top 5 Fruits and Vegetables To Lower Blood Pressure
- Beet greens are exceptionally rich in potassium, magnesium, calcium, vitamin C and fiber. These nutrients, taken together, make beet greens the top food for fighting high blood pressure. Throw the beet into your juice or smoothie as well – they are rich in nitrates.
- Cantaloupe is another excellent source of vitamin C, potassium and magnesium. Lab studies have shown that this fruit lowers oxidative stress that leads to hardening of the arteries and high blood pressure. This sweet, flavorful melon is also low in calories and good source of fiber, all of which taken together make cantaloupe an excellent fruit in the fight to lower blood pressure!
- Spinach is extremely rich in potassium, as well as magnesium, calcium, vitamins C, A, K and E, fiber and iron. It’s also abundant in phytonutrients that act as anti-inflammatories. All this taken together goes a long way to helping lower blood pressure.
- Brussels sprouts are high in potassium, vitamins C, K and A, as well as magnesium and calcium. This veggie is rich in fiber. Brussels sprouts are also high in B-complex compounds, manganese and iron. All in all, they’re a powerful vegetable in the fight against high blood pressure and inflammation, as well.
- Swiss chard ranks among the superfoods for its antioxidant phytonutrients and its vitamins and minerals including potassium, the number one nutrient for reducing blood pressure. But there’s so much more! An abundant wealth of vitamins, including C, A and K, and minerals including magnesium, calcium, iron and even protein are all a part of this leafy green. Swiss chard is a veritable powerhouse of heart-healthy, blood pressure-lowering contents.