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

Foods Good for High Blood Pressure

There is no single answer for the question  what causes high blood pressure and high pulse rate. In the majority of cases it remain unknown and is put down to genetics. It certainly seems to run in families.

Regardless of causes, you can reduce your blood pressure permanently through diet and exercise. (I speak from direct experience – not something I read somewhere.)

It’s not as hard as it might sound because there are plenty foods good for high blood pressure, drinks too (including alcohol so you don’t have to try to be a saint).
foods good for high blood pressure
So here are some of my favorite foods good for high blood pressure:

  • bananas (full of potassium)
  • apples (loaded with vitamins)
  • extra virgin olive oil (healthy fat)
  • apple cider vinegar
  • oatmeal and oat bran (stabilizes blood sugar)
  • red wine (a glass a day)
  • dark chocolate (min 70% cocoa)
  • whole grain cereals
  • nuts (rich in essential omega 3 fats)
  • chamomile tea
  • salads (with olive oil, apple cider vinegar and garlic dressing)

The list could of course go on but the list above include things I eat regularly if not daily. Chamomile tea works on relaxing your nervous system (like slow breathing exercises) while other foods listed above have substances that directly affect your circulatory system in a positive way – repairing and expanding your artery walls and strengthening your heart.

Lower your blood pressure naturally (for less cost)

To get the full picture on foods, including their history, interesting facts, and how and why they work, I’d recommend Kevin Riley’s Get Natural! Drop Your Blood Pressure. Of everything I have read so far on foods good for high blood pressure this guide has been the most informative and enjoyable to read.

UPDATE: Get Natural! is no longer available so my partner and I have put together our own guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally. It’s full of the latest research and tips on foods good for high blood pressure and shows you how to alter your diet easily and simply – and enjoy it.

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.

 

(Image credit: apionid via flickr.com)

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

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

While much of it is sound advice, some advice 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.

For example, many heallth websites give advice in the form of long lists of foods which you should and shouldn’t have, such as this excerpt from www.organicsandyou.com:

FOODS THAT BALANCE BLOOD PRESSURE

Legumes: mung bean sprouts, soy bean sprouts, tofu, tempeh, peas, Adzuki Beans, Black Beans, Black-eyed peas, Broad Beans (Fava Beans), Butter Beans, Calico Beans, Cannellini Beans, Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans), Edamame, Great Northern Beans, Italian Beans, Kidney Beans, Lentils, Lima Beans, Mung Beans, Navy Beans, Pinto Beans, Soy Beans, including black soy beans, Split Peas, White Beans

Grains: (whole grains, ½ cup for all grains) sprouted wheat – hard red winter wheat, Amaranth, Barley, pearled, Buckwheat (kasha), Bulgar, Oats, whole kernel, Rice, brown, Rice, wild, Rye, whole kernel, Quinoa, Wheat, whole kernel, All Bran with Extra Fiber, Bran Buds, Fiber One, Kashi, Go Lean, Shredded Wheat, Shredded Wheat and Bran, Buckwheat Groats, Oat Bran, Old Fashioned Oatmeal, Steel-Cut Oats

Vegetables: (Pungent) radish, horseradish, hot peppers, onion family (garlic, onion, leek, scallion, shallot, chive), Leafy greens (cabbage, spinach, carrot greens, mint leaf, nasturtium leaf, dandelion greens, kale, wheat greens, barley greens, broccoli, parsley), asparagus, bell peper, rose hip, tomato, celery

Mushrooms: Honey Mushroom, Brown Stew Fungus, The Miller, Shaggy Ink Cap, Green Russula, Russula integra, Weeping Milk-Cap, Saffron Milk-Cap, Hedgehog Fungus, Man on Horseback, Wood Blewit, Chantarelle, Funnel Chantarelle, Horn of Plenty, Yellow-Crack Bolete, Slippery Jack, Brown Birch Bolete, King Bolete, Sheep Polypore, Pestle Puffball

Fruit: (citrus) Clementine, Kumquat, Minneola, Mandarin, Orange, Satsuma, Tangarine, Tangelo, Lemon, Rough Lemon, Lime, Leech Lime, Grapefruit, Pummelo, Sweety, Ugli, banana, persimmon

Nuts & Seeds: Almonds, hazlenuts (filbert), flax seed, chia seed, pumpkin seed (lightly roasted to remove surface E coli), poppy seed, walnut, sunflower sprouts

Animal products: fish: sardine, salmon, mackerel, Cold water fish (LAKE TROUT, RAINBOW TROUT, BROOK TROUT, BROWN TROUT, ARCTIC GRAYLING, ARCTIC CHAR, SPLAKE, etc.) raw honey, bee pollen

Herbs: hawthorn berry, dandelion root, burdock root, chaparral, peppermint (palpitations), cayenne pepper, ginger, rhubarb root (constipation), yarrow, chamomile, motherwort, valerian

FOODS TO AVOID (worsen high blood pressure)

Sugar, or foods with added sugars,

Processed grains, or foods containing them (except as listed on the Grains List e.g. packaged cereals, even whole grain cereals, are usually processed, verify),

Refined grains (which don’t say “whole” in front of each grain on the label) or foods containing them,

“Wheat” or “wheat flour” without the word “whole” is usually a code word for “white” (includes white rice,

“Flour” listed alone is always white flour), Potatoes, Cakes, cookies, muffins, etc.

Crackers, unless whole grain,

Cereals, unless whole grain and at least 8 grams of fiber per serving,

Chips,Ice cream,Jams and Jellies, Maple Syrup, Regular Soda and other sweetened beverages,

Juices, Oils except for extra virgin olive oil, nut oils, and canola oil,

Mayonnaise,

Creamy salad dressings,

Butter, Magarine, Dairy products that are not fat-free, including cheese, cream cheese, milk, etc.,

Fatty meats such as bacon or sausage,

Anything with hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fats in it.

 

food for high blood pressure

Simon Foster

That’s a huge list of foods to help lower blood pressure (and that’s with me editg out the thirty kinds of seaweed listed). Kinda boggles the brain!

My favorites from this list (that I eat regularly) include: oatmeal, oat bran, spinach, laverbread (locally harvested dark green/black seaweed in South Wales), bananas, mackerel, sardines, and hawthorn flowers freshly picked locally (in my back yard).

With regards to the list of ‘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, such as 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.)

Basically, it turns out that saturated fat, found in 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 touted as being too fatty and therefore bad for you, along with avocados, but now medical researchers have found that the fats in many nuts and avocados (omega 3 fatty acids) are actually extremely healthy and 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 which you can work through at whatever pace suits youo. 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.

Whole grains for high blood pressure

Whole grains have been a staple part of the human diets since humans started to cultivate cereal crops in the Middle East ten thousand years ago.

The grains (seeds) of cereal grasses were ground to make flours, but it was only in 350 BC that the larger civilizations, like those of the Greeks and Romans, began to grind grains more finely to make ‘white’ flour.

These have since become wildly popular, yet refined grains and flours are far more meagre in nutrients and fibre than their whole grain equivalents.

The tide is slowly turning though, as more and more people become aware of the benefits of eating whole grains for high blood pressure – and a variety of other health reasons.

 

So what exactly are whole grains?

whole grains for high blood pressureThe kernel of a grain, wheat for instance, is made up of four parts:
The ‘germ’ is the innermost part, the embryo of the plant, which would germinate and grow if the grain was planted; this is where most of the nutrients are concentrated, so its rich in vitamins and minerals and oils the ‘endosperm’ is the starchy part that makes up most of the grain the ‘bran’ is the layer which surrounds the endosperm, which is rich in fibre and nutrients the ‘husk’ is the harder outermost covering, which is inedible.

The husk is always removed during the process of milling the grain, but with refined grains, the bran and germ parts are removed too. This just leaves the endosperm, which is full of starchy carbohydrate but not much else.

Whole grains on the other hand still have the germ and bran parts, and so are full of all the original nutrients and fibre.

Refining grains extends the shelf life of the grain, and of course, gives it a finer texture, but is this really worth it, when most of the original nutrients of the plant are lost?

This loss of nutrition is compounded by the practices of mass agriculture, which means that many grains today, even if not refined, are less nutritious than in the past. All the more reason to switch to whole grains to get as much natural goodness as you can.

 

Why whole grains are better

Compared to refined grains, whole grains are rich in nutrients, high in fibre, and don’t raise blood sugar levels as much – all of which means it’s helpful to eat whole grains for blood pressure.

Eating whole grains regularly can reduce your risk of heart disease, protect against metabolic syndrome – which is linked to heart disease and stroke, and be helpful in losing/controlling weight.

 

Adding whole grains to your meals

So it’s a good idea to replace any refined grain products you eat with whole grain products.

You can do this gradually – by changing just one product at a time. This is easier on your body anyway, especially if you’re not used to eating much fibre. Try to make “half your grains whole”, as the US Dietary Guidelines suggest.

Have whole grain bread instead of white bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice. And eat whole grain oats for breakfast!

Most processed or ready-made food you buy – like crackers, pastries, cookies etc – will be made from refined white flour. So look for whole grain versions, e.g., in health food shops, or make it yourself with whole grain flour (or even just half whole grain flour, half regular flour).

 

How to eat more whole grains

There are many opportunities to switch to whole grains – it’s not restricted to pure grain products like bread, pasta or rice. Any product containing grains or flours, you can find a whole grain alternative – bagels, muffins, crackers.

The same goes for cooking and baking – you can use whole grain flours and grains in all kinds of recipes, not only the main ingredient in baked goods, but also as fillers and thickeners in soups and stews.

You can mix and match too – mix whole grain and regular pasta for example (you may need to cook them separately though, as they make take different times to cook). And if you aren’t keen on some particular whole grain alternative, try a new grain altogether: quinoa is a great substitute for couscous or white rice; spelt pasta, bread or flour is a good replacement for wheat.

 

Buying whole grain products

When you’re switching to whole grain products, do yourself a favour, and give a little attention to making sure you’re getting a good quality whole grain product.

When buying bread for example, go for freshly baked whole grain bread when you can, rather than a pre-packaged bread, which probably won’t taste as good and will be full of additives and possibly sugars that you don’t need.

If you’re going to make a difference, then make it count.

As always, it’s important to always read labels when you’re buying food, to make sure you’re getting what you think you are. However, this is particularly important for whole grains, as their labelling can be slightly misleading. Many names and phrases are used which are designed to sound wholesome and healthy, but when you read the list of ingredients you might still find the main one to be wheat flour or some other refined grain.

Look for foods labelled as ‘whole grain’ (or ‘whole wheat’, ‘whole oats’ etc), and preferably labelled ‘100% whole grain/wheat/whatever’. Look at the list of ingredients too – and make sure that ‘whole grain’ appears among the first few ingredients.

And enjoy eating whole grains whole-heartedly – good for your overall health including your heart and blood pressure.

 

Lower your blood pressure naturally

In addition to whole grains there is a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, 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 a simple and proven strategy to lowering your blood pressure and keep 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.

 

(Image credits: Chiot’s Run, Meal Makeover Moms, MellowFood on Flickr.com)

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