Blood pressure issues are very common in America and it is no wonder that one of the largest classes of prescription drugs are anti-hypertensives – in other words, medications that will bring the blood pressure down to a healthy level. However, not everyone wants to make use of these prescriptions and for those who prefer to treat this condition naturally, there are many ways to do this.
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables
Every day if possible, “strive for five” – get five servings of fruits and vegetables into the diet. Fresh produce is not only low in sodium, many fresh fruits and vegetables tend to be potassium-rich as well, which lowers sodium’s impact on blood pressure levels. White and sweet potatoes, spinach, citrus fruits and bananas are all particularly high in potassium.
Embrace Healthy Fats
Not all fats are bad. In fact, monounsaturated fats actually help strengthen the heart and are linked to both lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Good sources of these fats include olive and canola oil, nuts, and fatty fish like salmon.
Go Whole Grain
Switching from refined products like those that contain refined white flour or white rice is one of the healthiest changes someone can make to their diet. Whole grain breads, pastas and couscous, barley and brown rice are all high in fiber, which is excellent for heart health while refined flours and similar products are linked to obesity, one of the major risk factors for high blood pressure.
Love Your Dairy
Dairy products can actually be great for heart health – as long as they are low fat, that is. Dairy is rich in calcium which is essential for regulating blood pressure. Low-fat dairy will also provide all the nutrients of their full-fat counterparts without the added risk of weight gain or higher cholesterol.
Increase Intake of Legumes
Leguminous plants, a group which includes beans, lentils and peas – are magnesium-rich, and magnesium has been shown to have a direct and beneficial impact on blood pressure. These plants can be especially good for the heart if 4 to 5 servings a week are included in the diet.
Indulge in Dark Chocolate
In small amounts, dark chocolate is also incredibly heart-healthy. Cocoa is rich in antioxidants which in turn stimulate the body to produce nitric oxide, a natural vasodilator. This means that it can relax the blood vessels, expanding their circumference and thus lower blood pressure naturally.
Increasing physical exercise has been linked in study after study to lower blood pressure rates. Benefits are particularly good when people are able to include around 30 minutes of moderate exercise daily.
Blood pressure is a very common problem, but not an insurmountable one. Lifestyle changes like those discussed above allow someone to take charge of their health and be pro-active in maintaining low blood pressure and a healthy heart.