Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is when the force of blood against the artery walls is too high. Causes of high blood pressure include stress, high cholesterol, being overweight, kidney disease, alcohol and tobacco use, SAD (Standard American Diet), physical inactivity, and certain medications. It is vital to exercise regularly, manage stress, minimize alcohol consumption, and eat a diet rich in whole foods. Salty, fatty, and processed foods that are common in the Standard American Diet have a direct correlation with increased blood pressure. Some of the top superfoods to help naturally lower blood pressure include flaxseeds, beets, spinach, berries, olive oil, salmon, and pistachios. Eating a diet full of fruits, vegetables, and heart healthy fats will provide your body with potassium, fiber, calcium and protein that the body needs. These nutrients naturally help to lower blood pressure by treating the root cause, instead of masking it with a medication.
The DASH Diet, Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, is a morph or the Vegetarian and Mediterranean Diets, originally developed by the U.S. National Institute of Health. The DASH Diet Action Plan has been proven to lower blood pressure without medication in as little as two weeks. The DASH diet basis is fruits and vegetables with a lot of dark leafy greens, high fiber whole grains, low fat dairy, and heart healthy fats like salmon and pistachios. The diet can be adjusted to cut out meat and dairy, as well as gluten, but the overall idea of a plant rich diet remains.
Dark leafy greens such as spinach and kale are great forms of potassium to help flush out excess sodium in the diet. Beets contain high levels of nitric oxide – it is these nitrates in beets that help to deliver oxygen to the heart and open the blood vessels. Whole grains such as oatmeal are ideal because they are high fiber, low fat, low sugar, and low sodium. Carrots are also high in potassium, as well as beta carotene, and have been proven to regulate heart and kidney function which helps to maintain normal blood pressure. Wheatgrass is a true superfood; it contains all known minerals, in addition to 17 amino acids, vitamin A, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. All of the nutrients in wheatgrass work together in the body to reduce blood pressure naturally by expanding capillaries, while the fibers help to flush bad cholesterol out of the body and stabilize blood sugar. Coconuts also have many heart healthy benefits beyond their miracle oil because the fruit itself contains generous amounts of potassium, electrolytes, fiber, and other minerals to help minimize oxidative stress in the body. Whichever way you can incorporate coconut into your diet will have a positive impact on your body! Some coconut products include powders, flakes, oil, butter, milk, and water. Cinnamon, ginger, and turmeric are also great anti-inflammatory medicinal herbs to provide the body when looking to lower blood pressure.
Overall, the best way for the body to naturally lower blood pressure or prevent hypertension whether you are strictly following DASH diet or not, is to eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, while minimizing salt and fatty foods. If you struggle to find time to prepare or shop for fresh produce as often as necessary, Yae! Organics has superfoods powders to add to any water, milk, juice, or smoothie in a pinch. Adding medicinal herbs and spices to meals and drinks will work wonders on the body internally as well. Even if you do not need to treat hypertension at the moment, it is never too early to work at preventing it!
by Erica Larson