Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally: Step 6
This webpage is a companion to Step 6 of our book:
Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide
Step 6 discusses vegetables that lower blood pressure – which ones are the best and how to get enough of them. Legumes are excellent for blood pressure and are covered here too. To make it easy, Step 6 also gives delicious and novel meal and snack ideas involving vegetables – no, you don’t need to eat more carrot and celery sticks!
Click here for more information on the book: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
Veggie Heaven: Vegetables that lower blood pressure
Benefits of vegetables for blood pressure
Nutrient content of vegetables (and other foods)
Antioxidants are discussed a lot but what are they really?
Antioxidants explained (Healthline.com)
How to Eat More Vegetables
The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) has a good website that gives basic information on the main types of foods, and tips on how to eat more of them. You can also download these as pdfs (click on the ‘print’ icon right at the bottom of each page).
USDA Choose My Plate
The UK National Health Service has useful tips on eating vegetables and fruits:
UK NHS Five a Day
Even better is the website of ‘Fruits and Veggies – More Matters’: info and tips on fruits and vegetables, nutrition content, how to eat more of them, meal planning, storing…
Fruits and Veggies – More Matters
Best vegetables for blood pressure
This is a great article on cooking leafy greens – to make them more delicious than you ever imagined:
Web MD – leafy greens
Sea vegetables / seaweed
Seaweed is an amazing source of nutrients, but if you’re not sure how to prepare and eat it, check out these articles:
Best Health Mag – Seaweed
Quick and Dirty Tips – Seaweed
Pickling garlic gives it a mellower flavour it’s not as hot to taste and doesn’t make your breath smell. Read about how to pickle and ferment garlic:
How to pickle garlic (Tablespoon.com)
Pickled garlic (The Healthy Home Economist)
You’re best to eat real garlic, but if you really don’t want to eat it for whatever reason, then try supplements.
Kwai garlic supplements were used in many of the clinical studies into the effects of garlic.
Kwai garlic heartcare supplements (Amazon.com)
Kyolic aged garlic supplements have also been used in clinical studies are also popular – aged garlic can be more potent. They even do a formulation specifically for blood pressure:
Kyolic garlic blood pressure supplements (Amazon.com)
More details on the healthiest ways to cook vegetables:
How to cook vegetables (Womens Health Mag)
Which is best – raw or cooked vegetables? To some extent, it depends on the type of vegetable.More details here:
Raw versus cooked vegetables (Food Revolution)
Raw goodness (recipes)
For more fresh salsa recipes and ideas, see this site:
All Recipes.com – salsa
For more chilled soup recipes, see this webpage:
All Recipes.com – cold summer soups
Several companies now make dried extracts of green vegetables, often with herbs, algae and other ‘super-greens’ too. You can mix these powders into a drink to make a super-green smoothie and get a load of green nutrients all in one go.
Ora Organic make a good one: Ora Organic Greens Drink – apparently this one actually tastes good!
You can download a handy one-page at-a-glance guide to how best to store different kinds of fruits and vegetables:
Storing fruits and veggies
Some vegetables need to be blanched before freezing. Recommended blanching times for specific vegetables are listed here:
Blanching times for vegetables
Pesticide loads in vegetables
The US-based Environmental Working Group (EWG) maintains a list of the fruits and vegetables likely to contain the most pesticides and the least. This is updated each year. You can view it online and also get it as a pdf file, or an app so you can consult it when you’re out shopping.
EWG – produce and pesticides
Organic food labelling and standards
This website has great information on organic food, including labelling issues.
Using pulses/legumes in cooking
This article from the Mayo Clinic (University of Florida Health Center) gives a good overview of different legumes and tips on preparing and cooking them:
Mayo Clinic – beans and legumes – cooking tips
And this one has a phenomenal list of recipes for cooking with all kinds of beans and legumes. Well worth checking out:
Mayo Clinic – Bean and legume recipes
Using dried pulses/legumes
As mentioned in Step 6, using dried beans can be cheaper and tastier than using pre-cooked pulses.
To cook dried pulses you can just boil them for an hour or two (depending on the type of pulse). It’s often a good idea to soak dried pulses for a few hours before cooking as well. This shortens the eventual cooking time and gives them a better texture. Soaking them also allows the complex sugars to be leached out of the pulses. It’s these that are hard to digest and are responsible for any flatulence – details on soaking and cooking below.
One cup of dried pulses usually makes 2 – 3 cups of cooked pulses.
An advantage of dried pulses is that they can be kept in airtight containers for up to 2 years, although their nutrients do degrade a little over time.
Soaking dried pulses
Soaking softens the pulses in preparation for cooking, giving them a more even texture when cooked. The other big advantage of soaking pulses first is that it gets rid of the indigestible sugars which can cause flatulence. (You can change the soaking water a few times to be extra thorough in this regard.)
Larger pulses need to be soaked longer than small ones, but 6-12 hours is fine for most. Pulses are soaked enough once they are tender and about twice the size they were before. Lentils, split peas, black-eyed peas and mung beans don’t need to be soaked.
Rinse the pulses well in running water, picking out any that look blemished or shrivelled and discard any bits of debris you find. Place them in a large saucepan or bowl and cover with water (cold tap water) so the water’s about 3 inches higher than the pulses.
Cover and leave to stand for about 6 hours or overnight at room temperature – but don’t soak for more than 12 hours, or they might start to ferment. Drain and rinse well before cooking
You can also use a ‘quick-soak’ method which just takes an hour or two. This is useful if you’re short on time, and can be done right before cooking the meal.
Just put the pulses in the pan they’re going to be cooked in, cover with 3 inches of water, bring to the boil and boil for 2 minutes, then let them stand for an hour or two.
Cooking dried pulses
Most pulses take an hour or two to cook. Some recommend cooking in the water you soaked them in, to keep all the nutrients. However, this also retains the gas-causing sugars, so most recommend rinsing and draining the soaked pulses well, and cooking them in fresh water. People have different ways of cooking pulses, but here’s a general guide:
Place pulses in the pan and cover with water – use about three times their volume of water. You can add a little oil to reduce the amount of foam that will develop, and any herbs and spices for flavour.
Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and simmer gently, uncovered (if you boil them too hard the skins will burst). After 45 minutes, start checking them, adding more water if they get dry. Stir occasionally and cook till they are ‘fork tender’ – can be easily mashed with a fork or between your fingers.
You can add herbs and spices to the cooking water to add flavour. However salt, sugar and acidic foods, like tomatoes, vinegar or juice make uncooked pulses harden, so only add these ingredients towards the end of the cooking.
Once cooked, put them in cold water and leave until they’re cool, then drain them well and and freeze. They keep for up to 6 months in the freezer.
Send us your ideas and suggestions
If there are other websites, resources or products you’ve found useful and you think would be useful to others, please email them to us and we’ll include them: simon [at] highbloodpressurebegone.com
NOTE: This page is designed to be a companion page to Step 6 of our guide, ‘Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally’. As such, it only contains supplementary resources rather than being a full discussion of how to use vegetables and legumes to lower your blood pressure.
For more information on vegetables that lower blood pressure, you can further browse this website or, of course, buy the guide..!
Click here for details: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide
ANOTHER NOTE: We’ve supplied Amazon links to those products that may be a little trickier to find, as Amazon is popular and convenient to use. However, Amazon aren’t known to be the most ethical company (we do not endorse them ourselves) so we recommend buying your healthy products in your local shops if you can!