Superfoods to reduce high blood pressure

Superfoods to reduce high blood pressure

apples - superfoods to reduce high blood pressure

Apple photo by Illusive Photography on flickr.com

Superfoods get a lot of press these days. But you might have a few questions. What is a so-called “superfood”? Are there superfoods to reduce high blood pressure? And if so, what are they?

You might also have noticed that superfoods which get a lot of media attention tend to be quite exotic. Or certainly not foods you grew up with. So further questions might be: Where on earth can I get that superfood? And how can I afford it?!

 

What are superfoods?

Basically, “superfoods” are foods which are particularly high in certain nutrients. As a result, they have certain properties which are highly beneficial for your health.

Regarding blood pressure, superfoods to reduce high blood pressure are often foods which are high in the vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which are known to have blood pressure-lowering qualities.

Some of these are fairly exotic foods which you probably don’t grow in your garden and won’t find in your local grocers. For example, acai berries, which are harvested in the Amazon, have had plenty of media attention over the years. And they are indeed an excellent superfood to reduce high blood pressure (more on acai berries below). However, thankfully there are plenty of very ordinary foods which are similarly beneficial. Phew!

 

Ordinary superfoods to reduce high blood pressure

You might even have some superfoods in your kitchen cupboards already. Here are a few everyday foods which you’ll either have or already or which are easy to get which can help you lower your blood pressure.

Blueberries and other berries

Blueberries are blue because of pigments called anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are now known to confer various health benefits including lower blood pressure, more flexible arteries and lower risk of heart attack.

It’s not just blueberries either. Other deep-coloured berries are equally anthocyanin-rich: bilberries, blackberries (brambles), blackcurrants, cherries, cranberries, raspberries, strawberries. Researchers suggest that even one or two servings of berries a day can be enough to improve your cardiovascular health and blood pressure! Super.

Tomatoes

red food good for blood pressureRed foods such as tomatoes also contain a helpful pigment: lycopene. Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant. Antioxidants are good for your arteries and cholesterol levels, hence good for reducing blood pressure.

It’s also now thought that tomato products may help reduce inflammation, which is now thought be a significant factor in high blood pressure.

And tomatoes are also high in potassium which is important for blood pressure through counteracting the effects of salt.

Indeed, several studies now show that eating tomato products or taking tomato extracts can result in lower blood pressure.

More about tomatoes and other red foods here: How is red food good for blood pressure?

Apples

An apple a day keeps heart disease away and maybe high blood pressure too. As well as being high in antioxidants, apples are also one of the fruits highest in soluble fibre – good for keeping healthy cholesterol and blood sugar levels. More info: Apples for high blood pressure

Bananas

Bananas are high in potassium and very low in sodium so are extremely helpful in balancing the effects of sodium on blood pressure. They also have good amounts of other important vitamins and minerals and soluble fibre.

In the US, bananas are officially considered to “reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke”. However, keep in mind that they are very high in sugar. The amount of fibre they contain partly offsets the effect of their high sugar content on blood sugar levels but it’s best to eat them in moderation. Go bananas: Bananas and high blood pressure

Avocados

Avocados have loads of potassium, a lot of magnesium, and are full of monounsaturated fats which are good for the heart.

Nuts and seeds

In the past, nuts had an unhealthy reputation because of their high fat content. It’s true that nuts and seeds contain a lot of oils. However, they contain mostly unsaturated fats, the kind which are healthiest for the body.

Indeed, many nuts and seeds, especially almonds, walnuts and flax seeds, are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Omega 3s can lower blood pressure and improve the health of the heart and blood vessels. As plant foods, nuts and seeds contain no cholesterol and can actually help lower cholesterol levels in your body. This is because they contain ‘phytosterols’ – plant compounds which have a similar structure to cholesterol and which inhibit the unhealthy forms of cholesterol from being absorbed in your body.

A review of 25 studies found that eating the equivalent of a couple of handfuls of nuts a day could lower cholesterol levels by over 7%. Good news for your arteries!

Nuts are also very rich in antioxidants, B vitamins and vitamin E as well as potassium, magnesium and various other minerals, which we are often not getting enough of. They are an excellent source of protein and many nuts contain a protein component – L-Arginine – which helps lower blood pressure.

Note: Nut and seed allergies are quite common and can be severe so keep this in mind if you’re preparing food for others, even if you’re not allergic yourself.

Garlic

As well as warding off vampires, garlic can also protect you from high blood pressure. A substance called ‘allicin’ has taken much of the credit for this, but the sulphuric compounds which give garlic its distinctive smell, are now thought to contribute to its beneficial effects.

These benefits include protecting the lining of the arteries, relaxing blood vessels, and thinning the blood (so it can flow more easily, with less risk of clotting). Garlic may also help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Studies show eating garlic or garlic supplements can lower blood pressure by 7-8%!

Oats

delicious ways to eat oatsAnd last but not least, the humble oat.

Who knew that eating porridge could lower your blood pressure? And reduce your risk of heart disease? And lower your cholesterol levels (levels of ‘bad’ HDL cholesterol)?

Not a very glamorous superfood but a superfood nonetheless.

More on oats and blood pressure here: Can oatmeal help lower blood pressure?

Let’s not forget the (not so) humble acai berry

Now, acai berries may not be the cheapest or most locally available berries. However, they are still effective as a superfood to reduce high blood pressure. So let’s not ignore them completely.

Acai berries are extremely high in antioxidants (especially anthocyanins) and have anti-inflammatory properties. They’re also rich in monounsaturated fats, calcium, fiber, and vitamin A. All of these are known to be good for your health and blood pressure. However, there’s little research yet on the direct effects of acai berry on blood pressure.

Personally, I would spend my money on the cheaper superfoods!

 

Superdrinks to reduce high blood pressure?

With all these superfoods to reduce high blood pressure, you might be wondering if there are any superdrinks to reduce high blood pressure? The answer is, yes there are! And I’m working on a post about them right now… Watch this space.

To your good health,

Alison

Lower your blood pressure naturally (for less cost)

It’s not just berries, tomatoes, nuts, seeds, avocados, and oats which can lower your blood pressure. There are actually a huge range of affordable superfoods to reduce high blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affect your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains simple and proven strategies for lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.



Foods Which Lower High Blood Pressure

foods which lower high blood pressure

Photo by apionid on flickr.com

“Are there really foods which lower high blood pressure?” you might be asking yourself.

Or maybe you’re thinking, “sure, there are foods which lower high blood pressure but they’re all exotic expensive things like acai berries, or weird things you can only get in a health food shop…”

Well, actually there are many foods which help lower high blood pressure and most of them are neither exotic nor expensive. Most of them are ordinary foods which you might already eat occasionally. Foods which you can find in your local grocery store and which won’t be hard on your wallet either.

 

Eat your greens – and your reds, and your purples, and your oranges, yellows, whites

Many of the foods which lower high blood pressure are fruits and vegetables. In fact, most fruits and vegetables contain nutrients which are good for your circulatory system and blood pressure, as well as your general health.

Some of these get a lot of press and get called “superfruits” and suchlike. Berries such as blueberries have got a lot of hype in this regard, and blueberries are extremely good for your blood pressure – the hype is not just hot air! However, other berries are similarly beneficial – blackberries (brambles), strawberries, raspberries, etc.

Bananas are also often recommended for high blood pressure sufferers. They contain a lot of potassium which is essential to balance sodium levels in the body, and thus help regulate blood volume and thus blood pressure. They’re also high in soluble fibre which helps regulate cholesterol levels – again, good for blood pressure. And contain many useful vitamins.

lower blood pressure with garlicTomatoes have also been in the media, and are one of the few fruits which are as nutritious cooked as they are raw. Like bananas, they’re rich in potassium and also contain powerful antioxidants which are important for healthy blood pressure.

Beets or beetroots (depending on which side of the pond you’re on) are another excellent food which lowers high blood pressure. The powerful effects of beet juice are most well-known but of course eating beets is even better. They’re great roasted with garlic – also very good for the circulatory system and blood pressure!

Last but not least, you’ll have had it drummed into you since childhood about the importance of eating your greens. And, unsurprisingly, green vegetables are fantastically good for blood pressure. Leafy green vegetables are rich in valuable minerals like magnesium, amongst other things. And avocados are full of healthy fatty acids. So get stuck into some guacamole!

A rainbow of fruit (and vegetable) flavours

The best rule of thumb for eating fruits and veggies for lower blood pressure is to try to eat a wide range of colours each day. Anyone remember the Skittles ad – “a rainbow of fruit flavours”? Well, forget sugary Skittle sweets and apply that slogan to real fruits and vegetables. This is because the pigments which gives fruits and vegetables their colour have properties which can help reduce blood pressure.

Each pigment is made up of different nutrients (click here to read about the benefits of red coloured foods). So by eating a range of colours in each meal, or at least through the course of a day, you can ensure you’re getting the maximum benefits. (The Japanese have been onto this mealtime principles for centuries now so it’s about time we did too.)

 

Eat less fatty and sugary foods? It depends…

You’ll have heard plenty no doubt about how important it is to eat low-fat foods. However, you may or may not have heard that this dietary advice is coming seriously under question. In fact, it appears that it’s fine to have plenty fat in our diets. What’s more important is that it’s the healthy fats more than the unhealthy ones.

Some oily/fatty foods which lower high blood pressure

The plant fats, such as those in avocados and olive oil, are actually very good for us. And very good for blood pressure. These are ‘unsaturated’ fats and they’re also found in nuts and seeds. So forget all that about nuts being too fattening. They’re fats that you need! Stay away from salted nuts obviously. And eat raw ones where possible since roasting reduces their health benefits.

Fatty or oily fish are also rich in excellent fats (omega 3 fatty acids). Go for salmon, trout, mackerel, herring, etc. (Don’t eat a lot of tuna though because although it’s good for you in theory, in practice tuna often contains pollutants such as heavy metals, including mercury.)

Saturated and trans fats – good or bad?

Even the saturated fat found naturally in meat and dairy products is not as bad for you as was once thought. What is very bad is ‘trans fats’ which are mainly found in processed foods, such as pastries, desserts, cakes, fried foods, pizzas, etc. So avoid these.

Avoid foods with added sugars – so almost all processed foods!

Seriously. These processed foods also all tend to contain added sugars too. And if there’s one thing you can do to lower your blood pressure it’s to cut down on processed sugary foods. Sugar is extremely bad for your blood pressure and pretty much every aspect of your health.

In connection with this, eating low-fat foods is not such a great idea either. This is because many low-fat foods contain a lot of added sugar to make up for the lack of fat. These added sugars are far worse for you and your blood pressure than the fat would have been. So eat full-fat cheese, etc. Just don’t eat so much of it you get overweight…!

 

Eat whole grains rather than white flour-based products

Now, eating foods which lower high blood pressure does not have to be a life of denial. While some processed foods are off the agenda, you can often find or make your own healthier versions. If you love cake, make your own, using at least half wholewheat flour and honey or maple syrup instead of sugar.

Whole grain products are far better for blood pressure than refined grain products – i.e., those made with white flour. So replace white bread with proper wholegrain bread – and check the label to make sure it is properly 100%  whole grain and not mostly white with a little whole grain flour, or just coloured brown (yes, it does happen). Eat wholewheat pasta instead of regular pasta, etc. You can also experiment with other grains – spelt, kamut, buckwheat make tasty breads, buns and pasta and are generally better for you than wheat products. You can find them in health food shops.

 

Eat chocolate!

And last but certainly not least – chocolate!!! Yes, chocolate is a food which can lower high blood pressure. There is a catch though – it has to be good quality dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa. Most of the milk chocolate sold is more sugar and fat than cocoa and it’s the cocoa which contains the helpful antioxidants. Eating proper dark chocolate can also lower your blood sugar levels, which is crucial for getting your blood pressure down. And it contains happy hormones which will cheer you up!

 

What else?

Eating more foods which lower high blood pressure can be a big part of bringing your blood pressure down to healthy levels. Drinks too are important – briefly, sugary drinks, sodas, pop etc are bad. Seriously bad. Coconut water, beet juice, and just plain old water are good! Alcohol can be good as long as you’re not drinking too much of it (but not sugary alcopops).

The other ‘lifestyle factors’ which can have a major impact on high blood pressure are exercise and relaxation. Being regularly physically active is vital to a healthy heart and circulatory system. And not being constantly stressed is also crucial.

So, all in all, there is an awful lot you can do in your day-to-day life which can lower your blood pressure.

For an easy way to do this, check out our guide:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

info on foods which lower high blood pressure and how to lower it naturallyAs the (imaginative!) title suggests, this is a complete guide to everything you need to know about how to lower your blood pressure through natural methods. It’s laid out in nine easy-to-follow steps. Each step covers different aspects of lowering blood pressure. You can go through each step at your own pace. Or pick and choose which steps you want to follow.

Many of the steps focus on changes you can make to your diet – so there’s a lot of clearly explained information about which foods and drinks to get more of and which to cut down on or avoid. (There are many more foods which lower high blood pressure than mentioned in this article!) These are accompanied by helpful suggestions of how you can incorporate more of the good stuff into your life in a fairly seamless manner.

Exercise is also discussed – what kinds of exercises are good for blood pressure and why, and how you can be more active in your daily life without having to set aside time for the gym or aerobics (unless you want to, of course). There are even exercises you can do from the comfort of your sofa!

Relaxation or stress reduction is the other main aspect and the guide devotes a whole step to different techniques and practices you can do to radically reduce your stress levels. Slow breathing is one of the best methods, actually. And with the guide you also get a set of guided slow breathing audio tracks to assist with stress and blood pressure reduction. Slow breathing’s great for anxiety and sleep as well, so a good thing to be practicing regularly anyway!

 

I hope this article has been helpful for you. Eating more foods which lower high blood pressure certainly worked for me. (Click here to read a bit more about my experience of lowering my extremely high blood pressure.) I’m sure it can work for you too!



High Blood Pressure Diets – An Overview

Which are the best high blood pressure diets?

If you’ve done any reading online (or in the real world) about high blood pressure diets, you’ll know that different health associations and gurus recommend slightly different types of diet. You also might have noticed that the high blood pressure diets which are recommended change over the years.

For example, a low-fat high-whole grain diet (such as the DASH diet, promoted by the US health authorities) used to be considered the best high blood pressure diet. However, research now is showing that eating too many carbs and not enough fats can actually be bad for you and your blood pressure.

 

The Mediterranean Diet

mediterranean high blood pressure dietAnother diet that was promoted for high blood pressure was the so-called ‘Mediterranean diet’. In other words, eating similar foods to those commonly eating in the European countries bordering the Mediterranean sea, such as France, Italy and Greece.

You can read more here about the Mediterranean diet for high blood pressure. Broadly speaking, it consists of eating plenty plant foods – vegetables, fruits, nuts, beans, legumes, whole grains, olive oil; with a bit of fish and seafood, eggs, dairy, and occasionally poultry and red meat. All washed down with a glass of good red wine of course 😉

This is still considered to be a healthy high blood pressure diet because it is varied and balanced. You get all the basic nutrients you need – vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats and carbohydrates. However, perhaps most crucially, the Mediterranean diet is based on fresh food, not processed food.

 

The real food diet

You see if there’s one thing you can do to improve your blood pressure through diet, it’s by ditching processed foods and going back to basics. This doesn’t just mean avoiding the obvious ones like ready-made pizza and doughnuts. Actually, loads of things contain added sugars and salt (and other less-than-healthy ingredients). And many of these you wouldn’t expect. For example, most pasta sauces contain added sugar and salt. Make your own from fresh (or even canned tomatoes which don’t contain sodium) and vegetables, good quality meat, herbs.

Also avoid low-fat foods. I don’t mean foods that are naturally low in fats, but foods which are naturally fatty but have “low-fat” versions. These are usually worse than the full-fat versions since they tend to contain added sugars to make up for the lack of fat. Most low-fat mayonnaises, for example, are really high in sugar.

And completely avoid fizzy drinks / pop / soft drinks / sodas / whatever you call them. They contain artificial sugars which are particularly bad for your blood pressure, and pretty much every other aspect of your health. And the low/no sugar versions contain weird chemical sugar substitutes, some of which are possibly carcinogenic. Try smoothies or juices or teas. And coconut water is a great hydrator after exercise or in hot weather.

High blood pressure diets – a comprehensive overview

These are just a few examples of ways you can alter your diet to make it better for your blood pressure. If you’re serious about following a healthy high blood pressure diet, then you can browse this website for more articles on specific aspects of high blood pressure diets. (We have a lot of posts on different kinds of food and drink).

You could also have a look at our book: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

lower your blood pressure naturally with diet, exercise and relaxation - and garlicThis is an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide which covers everything you need to know about lowering your blood pressure naturally.

The guide goes through the many different foods and drinks you could be eating more or less of to improve your blood pressure. It looks at the different activities you could be doing to boost your circulatory health. And it outlines the various techniques and habits you can practice to lower your stress levels and generally live a more relaxed life.

High blood pressure diets are not the only answer – being active and relaxed are also vital! Seriously. Even watching comedy videos can help your blood pressure. Have a laugh!

Just click on the pic for more information.

 

Start your day the way you mean to go on

To give you a specific example of how I’ve implemented a healthy diet for my blood pressure, here’s how I start my days. Mornings play an important part of the diet which has helped me to lower my blood pressure and keep it low.

Here’s how it goes:

Drinking

I start with a glass of water as soon as I rise from bed. I prefer the carbonated water available in bottles from the store. But that’s just the kid in me. As far as I am aware carbonated water has no greater health benefits than still water.

After my first glass is consumed I pour myself another but with this one I add a squirt (25 – 30 drops) of Hawthorn tincture. It adds a subtle and refreshing taste to the water but it’s not the taste I’m after. Hawthorn flowers and berries act as a vasodilator – they relax and widen blood vessels. One shot in the morning for me is plenty although for bad cases of high blood pressure some three shots a day is recommended. (I make my own Hawthorn tincture as Hawthorn grows strong and potent up here on the Welsh mountainsides – but I’ll leave the details for another post if anyone is interested.)

So after my two glasses of water I’ll sometimes move to a cup of freshly brewed coffee. Not the decaffeinated variety but coffee straight from the bean – as nature intended. I say ‘sometimes’ because I used to drink coffee every morning as a rule – and lots of it. Now it’s a matter of choice – not habit or compulsion.

Coffee does raise blood pressure, mind you, so I keep it to one cup. Some people might find they need to avoid coffee altogether. In this case tea (normal black tea or green tea) is a good alternative. It does contain enough caffeine to give you a boost but not as much as a cup of coffee and tea contains loads of antioxidants which can help reduce blood pressure.

Eating

high blood pressure diets - oatsLater in the morning as hunger begins to rise its head I prepare a bowl of oatmeal. As far as I am concerned, oats are the best health food anywhere – not just for high blood pressure but for all around good health. This traditional staple of the Scots.

Why is oatmeal so effective in reducing hypertension?

In a nutshell, oatmeal (or even better, oat bran) contains beta-glucan which helps to moderate our blood sugar and insulin levels. It keeps your body in balance avoiding blood sugar spikes. In turn, this helps avoid insulin insensitivity, enabling your body to better store magnesium, which aids in the relaxing and expansion of your blood vessels. The results is lower blood pressure. I’m not a trained biologist but that’s how it was explained to me.

With my bowl of oatmeal I take some vitamin supplements. Currently these are one multi-vitamin pill (containing magnesium, calcium and vitamin D) and one vitamin C pill. I also take some cod liver oil (rich in Omega-3 fatty acids) in gelatin capsules for general well-being as well as lowering blood pressure.

The outcome of this morning diet is another enjoyable day with improved blood pressure and general well-being. And better prepared to deal with all the muck that life sometimes throws at you.

This works for me. What works for you?



Lower blood pressure with garlic, fish oil, and CoQ10

lower blood pressure with garlic

Image by Francis Storr (flickr.com)

Yes, garlic can help to lower blood pressure. Which is a good thing because I love garlic and use it all the time in salad dressings and pasta sauces.

(More on how to lower blood pressure with garlic below.)

If garlic really isn’t your ‘cup of tea’ it’s available in a convenient supplement form. You can get garlic capsules that come with the benefits of natural garlic but without the delicious taste and aroma that some don’t care for.

Coenzyme Q10 – a useful supplement

Coenzyme Q10, or CoQ10, is a supplement that is getting popular lately as a supplement that can help reduce blood pressure levels.  It’s a powerful antioxidant and can help with migraine headaches too. Sometimes it is combined with hawthorn to increase its effectiveness.

I take hawthorn tincture every morning but haven’t tried CoQ10 yet. If anyone has noticed good results from Coenzyme please leave a comment.

Fish oils for lower blood pressure

Then there’s fish oil which is good for reversing high cholesterol or lowering blood pressure.  Fish oil helps to lower levels of the ‘bad’ kind of cholesterol (high density lipoprotein), which is good. Fish oil also contains DHA which helps the brain function properly, as well as lowering blood pressure. I take two capsules of cod liver oil (1100 mg in total) every morning.

Key vitamins and minerals for lower blood pressure

Calcium, magnesium, and potassium also help lower high blood pressure and unhealthy cholesterol levels.  Calcium also strengthens bones and teeth, while magnesium (they say) helps maintain your sense of calm and well-being.  Keeping adequate potassium levels in your blood is essential to balance the salt levels and keep your blood pressure down.

Folic acid (a B vitamin) is also important to help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and good cholesterol levels.  As well as helping to lower blood pressure, folic acid reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke. It can also promote better memory function. I can remember all this because I usually take a folic acid supplement at least one a week.

And of course – exercise…

On top of this healthy lifestyle of good food and supplements be sure to get some exercise. Go for a walk, stretch those muscles, smell the roses, say hi to your neighbors.

Here’s a little secret: Often I feel lazy. I don’t feel like exercising. But I force myself to get out there for a walk anyway. And you know what? Once I’m out there I really enjoy it and am glad I’m out.

Don’t let the thought of exercise put you off. Do it anyway and you’ll be happy you did. You feel better, more relaxed, and your blood pressure will only come down because of it.

Take care all,
Simon

Lowering your blood pressure with garlic – and many other easy home remedies

Update 2016: I’ve now produced a book, with my partner Alison, to guide you through the process of lowering your blood pressure naturally. We decided to create this book in order to make lowering your blood pressure simple – no more trawling the internet for bits and pieces of information – now everything you need to know is laid out for you in one place.

lower your blood pressure naturally with diet, exercise and relaxation - and garlic

Click on this pic for more information and/or to order

The book is in the format of nine steps, each of which is laid out in a straightforward easy-to-follow manner. You can take each step at your own pace – one a week, one a month – and improve your health to lower your blood pressure gradually and effectively.

There are so many things you can do to help lower your blood pressure without medications. As well as garlic, there are numerous other natural foods and drinks which affect blood pressure, and these are discussed in the guide.

The guide also covers the many different kinds of activities you can do which are also very effective for healthy blood pressure. These don’t involve being a yoga freak or gym warrior. In fact, one kind of exercise can even be done from the comfort of your couch!

And last, but certainly not least, the guide looks at the range of practices and techniques you can start to keep your stress levels down and relax more deeply – and lower your blood pressure this way too 🙂

Here’s a short excerpt from the guide on how to lower your blood pressure with garlic:

As well as warding off vampires, garlic can also protect you from high blood pressure. A substance called ‘allicin’ has taken much of the credit for this, but the sulphuric compounds which give garlic its distinctive smell, are now thought to contribute to its beneficial effects.

These benefits include protecting the lining of the arteries, relaxing blood vessels, and thinning the blood (so it can flow more easily, with less risk of clotting). Garlic may also help lower ‘bad’ cholesterol levels.

Studies show eating garlic or garlic supplements can lower blood pressure by 7-8%. Garlic has been used in various medicine systems through the ages. It’s antiseptic and strengthens the immune system and has found to be helpful in preventing and recovering from colds, and protecting against some cancers.

Aim to use at least a couple of cloves a day – more if you can.

Garlic works well with onions, as well as on its own and can also be used in a huge variety of dishes. Eating garlic raw is even better for you and you can use it in salads, salsas, salad dressings, dips, or even pickle it!

Garlic has to be chopped or crushed to activate many of its beneficial compounds, but these degrade quite quickly, especially with heat, so wait till the last minute before chopping/mincing the garlic.

There are also some delicious garlic-based recipes – but you’ll have to buy the book to read these!

Click here for more information (you can also download a sample chapter): Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

 

Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Guidelines

cholesterol and blood pressure guidelinesFor decades, government health authorities have been telling us to eat less cholesterol. The reason for this is that higher levels of certain kinds of cholesterol in the body are associated with higher risk of heart disease and cardiovascular problems, like atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

These kinds of conditions are also linked with high blood pressure, hence the frequent advice to eat less cholesterol to lower your blood pressure.

But is this true? What’s the relationship between cholesterol and blood pressure? Does eating less cholesterol really lower your blood pressure? In fact, does eating less cholesterol even lower your cholesterol levels?

 

Cholesterol and blood pressure guidelines – the latest

Cholesterol is found in foods like red meat, eggs, and dairy products but it’s also produced by your body and used to make hormones, vitamin D, digestive secretions, and cell membranes. (It’s not actually a fat but a form of steroid.)

In 2015 the US government issued an updated set of “dietary guidelines” for the American populace and for the first time in decades it did not include an upper limit on the amount of cholesterol it advises you to get.

The dietary guidelines still recommend keeping cholesterol intake low. However, they’ve dropped the recommendation that had been in place since 2010 about keeping your cholesterol intake under 300mg a day – even eating two medium-sized eggs a day would put you over that.

The reason is that there simply isn’t enough scientific evidence showing that having a low-cholesterol diet is better for your heart and blood vessels, or general health.

How are high cholesterol and blood pressure related? How does cholesterol affect blood pressure?

There are two different kinds of cholesterol. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is often called “bad cholesterol”. This is because LDL cholesterol, along with some other kinds of fats, is thought to build up on the walls of the arteries, causing them to thicken and harden. Stiffer and narrower blood vessels means higher blood pressure, and also puts you more at risk of stroke and heart attack.

High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is “good cholesterol” as it actually helps draw bad cholesterol out of your blood, taking it to your liver, where it begins to be processed and removed from your body. HDL cholesterol therefore actually prevents LDL cholesterol accumulating in your blood.

There is evidence that high levels of LDL cholesterol in the body are linked to higher risk of cardiovascular disease and high blood pressure – although it should be noticed that some scientists dispute this.

 

Does eating less cholesterol lower blood pressure?

Well, this is why the US government has changed its dietary advice about cholesterol: the amount cholesterol you eat does not necessarily increase the amount of cholesterol in your body.

As US Dietary Guidelines state:

“More research is needed regarding the dose-response relationship between dietary cholesterol and blood cholesterol levels. Adequate evidence is not available for a quantitative limit for dietary cholesterol specific to the Dietary Guidelines.”
US Dietary Guidelines 2015, Chapter 1
(see link at bottom for full publication/website)

Many studies now show that the body largely compensates for changes in cholesterol intake to keep blood cholesterol levels constant. What happens is your liver produces cholesterol and it regulates how much it produces in relation to how much cholesterol is in your blood. In other words, the more cholesterol you eat, the less your liver produces, and the less cholesterol you eat, the more your liver produces.

What’s more, research suggests that other things you eat affect your cholesterol levels more than eating cholesterol itself does. For example trans fats raise levels of LDL cholesterol, and sugary and starchy foods can too.

What can I do to lower my cholesterol levels and blood pressure?

First off, don’t worry about the cholesterol you might be eating. If you’re concerned about your cholesterol levels, there are two things you can do.

FIrstly, focus on eating more of the things which can help lower cholesterol levels.

These include oats which contain a fibre called beta-glucan which absorbs cholesterol from the blood (more on this here: can oats help lower blood pressure?)

Also, eating plenty unsaturated fats can also lower cholesterol levels. These are mainly plant fats, found in nuts, seeds, avocados, some oils (olive oil, sesame seed oil are healthy oils) and also in fatty fish like salmon, mackerel and herring.

Secondly, eat less of the things that do cause your cholesterol levels to increase, mainly trans fats and sugary and starchy foods. Yes, it might sound odd, but eating foods which are high in cholesterol is unlikely to raise your cholesterol levels as much as eating foods which contain little or no cholesterol but which are high in trans fats or sugars and starches. Getting too much sugar is far worse for your blood pressure than getting lots of cholesterol! (Click here to read more on sugar and high blood pressure.)

 

What about saturated fats and high blood pressure? Do I have to eat less of these?

The US government dietary guidelines of 2015 still recommend keeping your saturated fat intake to less than 10% of the total calories you consume in a day. Even if you wanted to calculate this and figure it all out, it’s unnecessary as many scientists and nutritionists point out that US government advice is still dated in this regard.

There are numerous studies piling up showing that eating saturated fat doesn’t increase your risk of heart disease or high blood pressure, and that the original research the government advice was based on was flawed.

You can read more about this here: saturated fat and blood pressure

The only type of fat you really want to steer clear of is trans fat. These are artificially added to many processed foods – – frozen pizza, cakes, cookies, pies, pastries and other baked goods, margarines and spreads, coffee creams and ice cream… Trans fats are also found in many fried foods and take-out foods.

There’s loads of other nonsense in processed foods (added salt, added sugar, or horrible chemical sugar substitutes). In general, it’ll only do you good to ditch processed foods as much as you can – for your blood pressure and general health. Enough said.

But this isn’t so bad now you know you can safely eat eggs, steak, butter…

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally

As well as eating to keep your cholesterol levels healthy, there are many many other things you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally.

There’s actually a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure – fruits, vegetables, grains, meats and drinks as well as herbs and spices – all of which are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) which affect your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

To help with this, we’ve put togerther an easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains simple and proven strategies for lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

Based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters, each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information (you can also download a free sample section):

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

 

Post by Alison

Image credit: eggs by Matthew Murdoch on flickr.com
A few references:

It’s Official! Cholesterol Limit Removed From Government Guidelines

https://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/chapter-1/a-closer-look-inside-healthy-eating-patterns/

https://authoritynutrition.com/how-many-eggs-should-you-eat/

Can I Lower My Blood Pressure With Beetroot Juice?

Beetroot juice for high blood pressure?

lower blood pressure with beet juiceBeetroot juice. Not the first thing you think of when pondering how to quench your thirst. Probably also not the first thing you think of when wondering how to lower your blood pressure. Yet medical studies are showing that drinking beet juice for lower blood pressure could be a very good idea.

 

Beet juice for lower blood pressure: the evidence

Several recent studies have found that drinking beet (or beetroot) juice lowers blood pressure.

For example, researchers at Queen Mary University in London (UK) conducted a couple of studies with men and women with high blood pressure. The most recent study involved 64 men and women with high blood pressure. Half of them were given one cup (about 250ml or 8 ounces) of beet juice a day for four weeks while the other half got a placebo drink.

Those drinking the beet juice had their blood pressure lowered by an average of 8/4 mmHg (systolic/diastolic). It was also found that their blood vessels were able to dilate (expand) more readily and became less stiff compared to the other 32 people in the study who just got the placebo drink.

Rresearchers at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia found a cup of beetroot juice lowered systolic blood pressure by 4-5 mmHg in healthy men within a few hours of their drinking it. So drinking beet juice regularly may be good for preventing high blood pressure developing as well as for reducing high blood pressure once you have it.

 

How are beets good for blood pressure?

Beets, or beetroots, are full of naturally occurring nitrates which are converted by your body into nitric oxide. Nitric oxide is well known to lower blood pressure in a couple of different ways. Firstly, it relaxes the smooth muscle which lines the walls of your blood vessels. This allows the cavity in your blood vessels to expand, enabling blood to flow more easily.

Nitric oxide also seems to help control inflammation in the blood vessels, inhibiting the release of platelets (which enable clotting) and thus reducing the tendency of your blood to thicken and clot, again with the effect of improving blood flow.

(Obscure fact: Nitric oxide was named “molecule of the year” in 1992.)

The size of the blood pressure-lowering effect of beetroot is similar to that of blood pressure medications. And, unlike blood pressure drugs, drinking beet juice isn’t known to have difficult side-effects!

As Dr Ahluwalia, lead author of the London study, said, “This research has proven that a daily inorganic nitrate dose can be as effective as medical intervention in reducing blood pressure and the best part is we can get it from beetroot and other leafy green vegetables.”

 

Other good things in beets

beetroot juice lowers blood pressureBeets also contain “betaine” – a nutrient which helps protect cells from stress and toxins (e.g., caused by pollution) and which reduces inflammation (inflammation is now thought to be a key factor in high blood pressure, and indeed many common modern diseases).

Beetroots are also rich in vitamin C and other antioxidants (like those which give them their deep colour) and potassium – all of which are helpful in lowering blood pressure.

 

Other benefits of beets

Because of all these goodies, drinking beetroot juice regularly will boost your immune system and may also help limit some cancers. Drinking beet juice also seems to boost stamina during exercise, with one study finding folk who drank beetroot juice before exercising were able to keep going about 16% longer.

 

How much beet juice to lower blood pressure?

The researchers point out that more studies are needed into beet juice for lower blood pressure to discover how long-term these effects can be.

In the studies mentioned above, the blood pressure-lowering effect of the beet juice was the strongest a few hours after drinking it, but seemed to linger for up to a day, when people just had a single drink.

In the London study where they drank beet juice daily for four weeks the beneficial effects seem to wear off about two weeks after the study ended.

So it looks like need to keep drinking beetroot juice, or eating beets, regularly to keep up the beneficial effects on blood pressure. However, you don’t need to drink a huge amount of beetroot juice – a little often should do it.

Indeed, commenting on an earlier study, Dr Ahluwalia said “We were surprised by how little nitrate was needed to see such a large effect […] This study shows that, compared to individuals with healthy blood pressure, much less nitrate is needed to produce the kinds of decreases in blood pressure that might provide clinical benefits in people who need to lower their blood pressure.”

 

Where can I get beetroot juice for lower blood pressure?

Beet juice isn’t mainstream yet – though its healthy properties are becoming more widely known – so you’re best bet is to look in health food stores and high-end supermarkets.

Beet juice on its own is quite strong – it’s an acquired taste, you could say. So you can mix it with a little apple or orange juice to sweeten it a little.

You can also make your own – if you have (or get) a juicer or blender. A classic juice recipe is to blend beetroots with root ginger, carrots and apples. It’s unbelievably good for you and with enough of a zing to perk you up!

If you’re interested in making juices and smoothies, there’s more info in our article here: juices and smoothies for lower blood pressure

Or you can always buy it on Amazon as a last resort: Organic beet juice (amazon.com)

Do I have to drink beet juice? Can’t I just eat beets/beetroots?

beet juice for lower blood pressureNo you don’t have to drink beet juice for lower blood pressure. You can get the same beet benefits by eating beetroot and/or by eating other foods which are rich in nitrates, such as leafy greens like kale, cabbage, spinach, lettuce, and leeks, string beans, carrots…

The amount of nitrate in the beetroot juice in the London study was about the same amount as that contained in two beetroots or a big bowl of lettuce.

 

Some ideas for eating beetroots/beets for lower blood pressure

Raw beets in salad

Raw beets are really good grated up in salads, with just a little olive oil, a dash of apple cider vinegar and herbs.

Slow-roasted vegetables

Or slow roast some beet(roots) along with other root vegetables for a delicious winter warmer. Some nutrients are lost in the cooking process but nitrates isn’t one of them, so cooked beetroots will give you as many nitrates as raw beets, though heating beetroots will mean you’ll lose some of their vitamin C and antioxidants.

Eat the beet greens

And eat the greens too – the beetroot leaves – as these are possibly even more nutritious than the beet roots. They’re nice sauteed gently with other leafy greens like spinach or chard (a tip from Dr Mercola – more info here: cooking beet greens).

Beetroot soup

Or make borscht – a delicious Russian beet soup.

 

One last thing – don’t be alarmed when you go to the toilet and everything’s pink… that’s just the beets coming through.

 

More ways to lower your blood pressure naturally

Eating or drinking beets is one thing you can do to help lower your blood pressure naturally, but if you’re blood pressure is high, then you’re probably going to need to do a bit more.

There are many many delicious things you can eat more of to bring down your blood pressure and improve your health in general, and there’s also a lot you can do activity-wise, from different kinds of exercise to techniques to reduce stress and relax more.

It’s not hard to make any of these changes, but it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to start, which is why we’ve put together a book: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide.

high blood pressure - the genetic linkAs the title states, it’s a step-by-step guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally, through making simple changes in what you eat and drink, how you go about your day, and how you unwind and relax (and if you don’t, then it’s time to start).

You can do each step at your own pace – one a week, one a month – or use it as a handbook to dip in and out of – whatever suits.

It’s a fully up-to-date and thoroughly comprehensive guide, giving you everything you need to know about reducing blood pressure without drugs in a straightforward easy-to-follow format.

Click on the picture for more details, and you’ll also be able to download a free sample.

And good luck with it all!

 

Post by Alison.

Image credits: Schadenfreude Iola, Food Thinkers, UGA College of Ag & Environment all via Flickr.com

 

Some references:

https://www.qmul.ac.uk/media/news/items/smd/146262.html

https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/news/20121212/beetroot-juice-blood-pressure

https://newsroom.heart.org/news/drinking-cup-of-beetroot-juice-daily-may-help-lower-blood-pressure

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/01/25/beets-health-benefits.aspx

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23231777

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nitric_oxide

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/Press_releases/2003/10_17_03.html



Sugar and High Blood Pressure

sugar and high blood pressureYou might have seen the headlines in the papers a week or so ago: “quickest way to lower blood pressure”, shouts the Daily Express (UK) and so on.

So what’s the secret? Well, it’s simple. It’s sugar.

Or rather it’s avoiding sugar that’s key to lowering your blood pressure – at least if you’re getting too much sugar which most of us are.

 

Sugar and high blood pressure: the evidence

Since when has there been a link between sugar and high blood pressure? you might ask. Surely salt’s the one to cut down on. Well, many studies are now showing that sugar is far worse for your blood pressure – and pretty much every other aspect of your health – than salt. Which is not to say don’t be careful with salt but be very very careful with sugar.

Easier said than done though, but we’ll come to that shortly. First of all, what’s the evidence relating to sugar and high blood pressure?

The study that recent newspaper headlines (including the one picture above) have been reporting was conducted in San Francisco on obese children. 43 obese kids with high blood pressure were put on a different diet which contained much less sugar but the same amount overall of calories, fat, protein, and carbohydrates (sugar was replaced with starch products).

The researchers found that the kids’ blood pressure dropped, their weight dropped, their cholesterol levels dropped, their blood sugar levels dropped; in fact all kinds of unhealthy ‘levels’ fell – in just nine days – !

This is quite stunning stuff. Not only for the size of the results (blood pressure dropped on average by 5 points, comparable with the effects of blood pressure medications) but for the speed at which they occurred; and for the fact that this proves that it’s the reduction in sugar itself which was responsible.

 

Why is there a link between sugar and high blood pressure?

Up until now, we’ve tended to think that sugar can be bad for our health and blood pressure because it’s high-calorie and therefore can lead to weight gain, which is known to be bad for blood pressure.

However, scientists have lately been unpicking the effects of sugar and discovering that sugar is the problem directly – not indirectly via weight gain.

““This study definitively shows that sugar is metabolically harmful not because of its calories or its effects on weight; rather sugar is metabolically harmful because it’s sugar,” said lead author Robert Lustig, MD, at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco.

It’s not just that one study though. Many studies have now found a significant association between sugar and high blood pressure – the more sugar you have, the higher your blood pressure.

Scientists now think that sugar can cause an increase in heart rate and blood vessel constriction, increasing blood pressure. Too much sugar in your system also leads to a condition called ‘insulin resistance’ which – through various processes – increases blood pressure (and which often also develops into type 2 diabetes).

Recent research also indicates that high sugar consumption does more to increase bad cholesterol levels (and reduce good cholesterol) than saturated fats! So there are many, many reasons to seriously reduce the amount of sugar you’re getting.

 

How to reduce sugar and high blood pressure

hidden sugar and high blood pressureSo what to do about it? You don’t have to cut out sugar completely.  As with salt, this is an issue of scale and amount. Our bodies need some sugar – our cells basically run on it – but almost all of us are getting too much, more than our bodies can healthily process.

The reason is that most of the sugar most of us consume is ‘hidden’ – added as a preservative or flavour enhancer to almost all the processed food we buy, which means we’re eating and drinking far more sugar than we realise.

Even if you don’t actually eat a lot of sweet things you might be surprised by how much sugar your diet contains.

Even so-called healthy products may contain added sugar, e.g., some yoghurts, most breakfast cereals, many sauces and dressings.

Added sugar is also often found in low-fat products, for example, low-fat mayonnaise usually contains hefty amounts of added sugar.

(The healthiness of a low-fat diet is in doubt now anyway – see this post for details – but what’s now very clear is that it’s far more important to reduce sugar than to reduce fat.)

As a result, it’s not so much the sugar you might add to your tea or coffee that’s bumping up your sugar intake – although you’d be wise to cut that down – but the sugar you’re getting without realising.

Coincidentally, it’s also these added sugars which are the worst for you, such as added fructose (including ‘high fructose corn syrup’). Natural sugars, such as those found in fruit, don’t have nearly such bad effects.

 

Tips on cutting down on sugar

First of all, if you’re finding it hard to eat less sugar-containing foods, don’t give up. Studies show that whatever reductions you make will make a difference to your blood pressure and your health in general.

And don’t give yourself a hard time either. Sugar has been found to be more addictive than cocaine in rats and probably in humans too (watch out for those white crystals!) so it’s okay if you need to ‘come off it’ gradually.

To avoid sugar in processed food, you have to read the labels, and even then it’s not always easy to spot added sugar as it goes by many different names. One clue is that many of them end in ‘ose’ (glucose, fructose, sucrose, maltose, etc.), and anything calling itself ‘syrup’ is sugar.

However, the simplest way is to eat less processed food altogether and make more of your meals from scratch with fresh ingredients as far as possible.

Think about what you drink too. One thing you should absolutely avoid is soft drinks and sodas – they contain huge amounts of the worst added sugar of all and are exceptionally bad for your blood pressure and general health.

Don’t bother with ‘low-sugar’ / ‘no-sugar’ substitutes either as many of these are really bad for you (aspartame is linked with cancer, for example). Instead, if you really need some sweetness, go for naturally sweet foods – honey, maple syrup, blackstrap molasses, fruit and dried fruit. They contain other nutrients which balance the effects of the sugar so are less harmful.

 

One other thing – exercise

One other thing to keep in mind is that getting too much sugar is not just an issue of diet, It’s also an issue of lifestyle because, however much sugar we eat, if we’re not exercising enough to use it up effectively then it’s still ‘too much’ for our body.

Exercise is hugely beneficial for lowering blood pressure anyway – so do yourself a favour and get moving more.

 

Sugar and high blood pressure: conclusion

There’s a lot more I could say about sugar and high blood pressure, including a lot more tips on how to reduce the amount of added sugars you’re getting and how to make your favourite foods and drinks with less sugar.

If you want to know more, then have a look at our book: Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide.

lower your blood pressure naturallyIt is – as the title suggests – a nine-step guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally. Each step looks at different aspects of your lifestyle: what you eat and drink, how active you are, and your habits and tendencies to do with stress and relaxation.

Step 8 looks in detail at sugar and high blood pressure. However, there are many things you can do to help lower your blood pressure without resorting to blood pressure-lowering medications.

For example, there are different ways you can exercise without ever going to a gym or aerobics class, there are different ways you can change your daily routine to make your life more relaxing and less stressed, and there are a huge variety of good, tasty foods and drinks you can indulge in for super health benefits.

Lowering your blood pressure doesn’t have to be about denial. It can be about genuinely improving your life to better suit you, and our step-by-step guide enjoyably leads you through the process.

Click here for more details (and for a free sample chapter): Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally.

 

Post by Alison.

Image credits: Mike Mozart, Steve Rotman, tomates and friends, Tharrin, yaybiscuits123 on Flickr.com

Some references:

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/lifestyle/wellbeing/diet/9160114/The-bitter-truth-about-sugar.html
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286795.php
https://www.express.co.uk/life-style/health/615097/sugar-calories-research-health
https://www.ucsf.edu/news/2015/10/136676/obese-childrens-health-rapidly-improves-sugar-reduction-unrelated-calories
https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2015/02/25/sugar-blood-pressure.aspx

Hidden salt and high blood pressure

The link between excessive salt (or sodium) intake and high blood pressure has been firmly established. In response a lot of people will sprinkle less salt on their meals or stop using salt altogether. Yet the high blood pressure remains. Why?

First of all, it’s important to point out that high blood pressure has a lot of causes such as stress, genetics, high cholesterol, genetics, etc. If too much salt is the main cause of your hypertension then cutting down on salt should lower your blood pressure. But for many of us it’s simply not enough. we need to incorporate a range of healthy measures into our daily lives.

Secondly, salt affects people and their blood pressure differently. Some people display a high ‘sodium intolerance’ which means that their bodies can not tolerate the same salt levels as others without developing negative symptoms such as elevated blood pressure. However, the majority of us do not suffer from sodium intolerance – but that’s not the same things as saying we can consume all the salt we want with no ill effects. Moderation is always the key when it comes to salt.

The recommended intake of sodium a day per adult is below 2.3 grams – although 1.5 or less grams is considered safer. By the way, there is approximately 2.3 grams of sodium in 1 teaspoon of table salt.

However, probably very few of us sprinkle more than this a day on our meals with a salt shaker. I would suspect that very few of us would even reach 1 gram a day with the shaker. Even 1 gram is a lot of shaking.

 

Hidden salt and high blood pressure

We overdose on salt not with the shaker but with the salt content hidden in a lot of food we buy. There’s a strong link between hidden salt and high blood pressure. I’m not just talking about fast food, restaurant food, or highly processed ‘treats’ like crisps / chips. Take your everyday white sliced bread for example. On average there is 0.17 grams of sodium in each slice (that’s about 12% of the 1.5 grams already). Have a few slices, with salted butter and a preserve and you are soon exceeding your daily recommended salt intake – without ever touching the salt shaker.

Many breakfast cereals are also another high salt food meal that we normally would consider healthy. So what’s one to do?

 

How to avoid hidden salt – and high blood pressure

First, shop for food wisely and choose the ‘low salt/sodium’ variety over the standard one. Secondly go back to basics and prepare more meals yourself from simple unprocessed food. Learn to bake bread and control the amount salt, if any, you care to put in.

If you do this you can get out the old salt shaker and start using it again. After all it’s good to have some salt in your diet. if you lived solely on a diet of raw food prepared by yourself you could suffer salt deprivation.

sel de guerande harvesting - hidden salt and high blood pressure

Harvesting salt in Brittany

Personally I like salt, good salt that is, genuine harvested sea salt from the shores of Brittany – Sel de Guerande. Unlike the bleached chemical sodium available in stores, genuine sea salt is a light grayish color, full of all the trace elements and nutrients from the sea. It cost more, (around $14 for a 1,000 grams), but a kilogram should last me for many years.

So there you have it. Don’t be a victim of overconsumption of hidden salt in common foods. It’s easy to stop being a victim of hidden salt and high blood pressure. Choose low salt varieties or prepare food yourself. You’ll then be able to enjoy salt on your food again in much smaller and healthier quantities.

Look for Sel de Guerande in your local health food shops, or you can buy it from Amazon online.

Sel de Guerande – Amazon.com

Sel de Guerande – Amazon.co.uk

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally

Lowering your blood pressure isn’t just about avoiding so-called ‘bad foods’ but is a lot about including more ‘good foods’ which can actually lower your blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affects your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.

lower your blood pressure naturallyThe guide contains simple and proven strategies for lowering your blood pressure and keeping it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

Why you should eat chocolate

chocolate for lower blood pressureYou should eat chocolate because you like it. You should eat chocolate because it can improve your cholesterol levels. You should eat chocolate because it puts you in a better mood. You should eat chocolate for lower blood pressure.

All this is true! Depending on the kind of chocolate you eat…

 

Eat chocolate for lower blood pressure?

The good news first of all.

Many studies now show that those who regularly eat products containing cocoa, such as chocolate, have a lower risk of developing cardiovascular problems, and often have lower blood pressure.

Cchocolate is good for lower blood pressure because cocoa contains a lot of antioxidants (including resveratrol, the type found in red wine). These antioxidants help improve blood vessel functioning and lower blood pressure, and have a number of other beneficial and protective effects on the heart and arteries, including improving cholesterol levels, slowing blood clotting, and countering inflammation.

Eating cocoa/chocolate has also been shown to lower blood sugar levels (which is very helpful in lowering blood pressure) and it’s thought its antioxidants may improve the way the body processes sugar.

And of course, cocoa is also known to affect the chemicals in our brain which affect our mood, and this is why eating chocolate can make you feel good, directly, not just because you’re enjoying the taste, the smoothness, the melting in the mouth…

(Image credits: Ainhoa I. via Flickr.com, Lee McCoy via Flickr.com )

 

Which kind of chocolate for lower blood pressure?

The bad news is that most commercial chocolate bars (and chocolate drinks) don’t have these beneficial effects because they don’t contain a lot of these good ingredients. So you can’t eat just any chocolate for lower blood pressure.

This is firstly because a lot of chocolate products don’t actually contain much cocoa at all.

Milk chocolate may contain as little as 10% cocoa (the minimum requirement for it to be called ‘chocolate’ in the US), which is not enough to give you any blood pressure benefits.

White chocolate contains no cocoa at all and is just fat and sugar.

So the best kind of chocolate for lower blood pressure is dark chocolate – it’s the highest in cocoa content and the richest in antioxidants and also contains the least added sugar and fat.

However, you need to pay attention to which kind of dark chocolate you buy – in the US ‘dark’ chocolate can contain as little as 15% cocoa! Choose one that’s at least 60% cocoa – the higher the percentage the better.

 

Raw chocolate best for lower blood pressure

The other thing you need to be aware of is that most cocoa/chocolate products on the market have been made from cocoa beans which have been fermented and roasted, processes which reduce their antioxidant content.

So for the full unadulterated benefits of chocolate for lower blood pressure, you need to go for raw cocoa products. Many health food stores stock raw cacao dark chocolate or raw cocoa powder.

You can also easily buy it online, here:

Righteously Raw Chocolate (US)

The Raw Chocolate Company (UK)

Raw chocolate on Amazon.com

 

What about hot chocolate?

Drinking hot chocolate with milk is not beneficial unfortunately, as the milk interferes with your body’s absorption of the antioxidants – another reason milk chocolate is not healthy. Still, you can make hot chocolate with cocoa and water, or add cocoa to other hot drinks, like coffee.

 

How much dark chocolate to lower blood pressure?

Research results are somewhat mixed as to how much dark chocolate you should eat to lower blood pressure, as different studies have used different amounts of chocolate to demonstrate its health benefits.

Most recommendations are to have about one ounce (28g) of dark chocolate per day. Although one German study which found significant blood pressure-lowering effects, used just over 6g of dark chocolate a day – a quarter of an ounce.

Keep in mind that cocoa contains caffeine though, which may increase blood pressure in some people. So consider any chocolate products you eat if you’re monitoring your caffeine intake.

 

More ways to eat dark chocolate…

There are plenty ways you can add chocolate to your snacks and meals, as well as just eating it straight.

You can find tips on more ways to eat dark chocolate in our new ebook – see below. And if you’re not so keen on dark chocolate, you might still find some of these useful for getting its benefits without its strong taste.

… and more ways to lower your blood pressure naturally (the easy way)

lower your blood pressure naturallyIn addition to chocolate, there is  a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure.

Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) that affects your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broad approach, using natural home-based remedies to cover all possible causes.

This guide will help you do that. It contains a simple and proven strategies to lower your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

It guides you through these in nine easy-to-follow steps. These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.

Diet and high blood pressure

Diet and high blood pressure – how good is internet advice?

diet and high blood pressure

image: herr_hartmann on flickr.com

food for high blood pressure

Simon Foster

On the topic of diet and high blood pressure, let’s take a look at of some of the common advice you will see around the Internet.

While much of it is sound advice, some of it has limited usefulness. And some is now outdated and considered wrong, based on more recent research. So it’s good to be a little discerning with whose advice you follow. (I am aware of the irony of what I have just said…)

The never-ending list…

For example, many health websites give advice in the form of long lists of foods which you should and shouldn’t have. This might be helpful if you’re just looking to change a few things. But it’s a bit bewildering if you’re really starting from scratch and trying to figure out how to change your eating patterns more fundamentally. At least that’s what I find.

The expensive ‘superfoods’

Other articles focus on so-called exotic ‘superfoods’ which will magically transform your health if only you eat enough of them. Again, this is fine if you have a well-stocked health food shop nearby. And a large wallet to buy specialist foods. But it’s not so helpful for the rest of us.

berry berry good for your blood pressureThere are of course ‘superfoods’ (various berries, for example) which aren’t exotic and can be found at any grocery store. Or even picked wild near your house.

I’m lucky to have huge bramble (blackberry) patches behind my house in south Wales. A few good blueberry bushes are further up the hill, as are several hawthorn trees (you can eat the flowers and make tincture from the berries).

As such, I’m able to eat well for my blood pressure in a simple way. Other local foods are also beneficial for blood pressure, such as oatmeal, laverbread (locally harvested dark green/black seaweed in South Wales), mackerel…

Okay, I digress. The point is that there are plenty of ordinary foods which have particular properties which mean eating them can help lower your blood pressure. You don’t have to buy expensive specialty foods or exotic foreign foods. Unless you want to, of course. (Personally, I’m finding it increasingly untenable to eat food shipped and trucked from halfway round the world anyway.)

Outdated advice

With regards to ‘Foods to Avoid’, recent research has shown that a lot of foods previously though to be ‘bad’ can actually be good for you in moderation. For example, dairy products and red meats, as long as they’re unprocessed. (The bad news is that bacon is still considered to be quite bad for blood pressure if you eat it regularly.)

It turns out that saturated fat, found in dairy and red meat, is not necessarily bad for you. You can read more about that here: Saturated fat and high blood pressure

Other diet advice has changed too. Nuts were also once touted as being too fatty and therefore bad for you. As were avocados (all that fat!). However, medical researchers have found that the fats in many nuts and avocados (omega 3 fatty acids) are actually extremely healthy. They’re now saying that we need to be getting more of them not less!

To see how more of the old advice about diet and blood pressure has been turned over and improved, you can take a look at our new book:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide

The guide contains simple and proven strategies to lower your blood pressure and keep it low through easy, effective and enjoyable changes in lifestyle.

These include alterations you can make in your diet and also your daily activities –  things you can do to be more active, and to relax and release stress.

diet and high blood pressureAs the title suggests, the guide is laid out in nine easy to follow chapters. You can work through each one at whatever pace suits you. These progressive steps are based on the principle that positive incremental change is always best in health matters.

Each chapter will take you further along the road of greater vigour and peace of mind (and a healthy blood pressure).

Click on the link below for more information:

Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally Guide

 

P.S. This guide shows you how to lower your blood pressure permanently and naturally without side-effects or complications.

Follow each step to get your blood pressure back in balance.

Choose between a wide range of delicious foods that reduce your blood pressure. Include a number of mental and physical exercises in your schedule for both relaxation and invigoration.

Following this guide will reduce, and in time, eliminate your need for blood pressure lowering medications.

This is a guide for good healthy living and will be beneficial for all – even if you don’t currently suffer from high blood pressure.

To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.



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