Family history of High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is one of the top things people have checked on my Nutrition Assessment. Either they are dealing with it or they have close family that has it. High Blood Pressure can be due to many different things like age, poor eating habits, lifestyle, constant stress, etc.
How can you get control of your blood pressure? Here are 10 factors to consider.
1 | Exercise
Regular exercise helps put healthy stress on the body for it to cope with it better and know how to handle it. The more regular you exercise, the less likely your blood pressure will increase under normal activities, including when we are under marginal stress.
Not used to exercise? Start with a walk an a pace where you are slightly out of breath but can still talk through it for 10 minutes. Increase 5 minutes every day. Once you are up to 30 minutes, increase your pace and start over again.
2 | Oatmeal
With oatmeal being high in fiber, low in fat, low in sodium, and something filling to start your day, it will help keep your blood pressure at normal amounts and even help with maintaining good blood cholesterol levels.
3 | Salt Intake
From one of my previous posts about salt, we know that salt, or sodium is not a bad thing. We need it to survive otherwise our cells would literally shrivel up and die. However, because salt holds water in the cells, it can make the volume in our blood increase, therefore increasing pressure. Maintaining a healthy sodium intake is important. Sodium is not only found in salt, so salt should not be with every meal. Make sure to check your labels.
One of the for sure ways to control your sodium intake is having fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats that are not smoked or processed, and whole grains that are not packaged with seasoning.
4 | Dark Chocolate
One of my favorite treats to have at the end of the day! The flavanols found in dark chocolate have been shown to help cause dilation or widening of the blood vessels. Because of this it helps with blood pressure and the flow of blood from the heart to the brain. Dark chocolate is at least 70% or more cocoa.
5 | Coenzyme 10
Coenzyme 10 is something our liver helps us make and also helps to dilate our blood vessels and increase oxygen to the brain to reduce pressure. 200-300 mg of CoQ10 per day may help to reduce blood pressure. It’s also been helpful for pressure headaches due to sinus pressure, and even helping those with migraines to have less severe symptoms.
6 | Tea Time
Sipping on 1-2 cups of tea a day for a few weeks can help lower blood pressure. Find herbal teas that are caffeine free. For instance, Hibiscus tea is naturally sweet, contains flavonoids that prevent clotting, improves artery function, and stimulates insulin production in the body.
7 | Laughing
Laughing causes the inner lining of your blood vessels to expand to increase blood flow. Ever broke a sweat when you laughed really hard? It’s most likely do to this. But because of this expansion and increase of blood flow it can help reduce blood pressure.
8 | Leafy Greens
There isn’t much that leafy greens don’t help with. Specifically for High Blood Pressure leafy greens are low calorie, high fiber, and high in minerals like potassium, folate, and magnesium which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure levels. Potassium does the opposite of sodium, however, only a small amount is needed in the body so unless for some reason you are prescribed to take a higher amount by a doctor, you can get plenty from eating your greens and of course, bananas.
9 | Alcohol
Alcohol is something that all around isn’t good for your health in high doses. It’s calorie dense without any nutrients which leads to weight gain, and with what your body has to do to detox from alcohol consumption can raise your blood pressure. Avoid alcohol, or at the least, when drinking alcohol limit to just one drink and have a glass of water after.
10 | Beans
Beans are rich in potassium (opposite of sodium), magnesium, and fiber. You can add them to soups, salads, chili, pastas, or as a side dish. If you buy them in the can, look for “no salt” or “no added salt” varieties. And since I live here in Texas, I’d skip cooking the beans with bacon which is high sodium, high fat, and usually highly processed.
Watch what you eat and drink, get plenty of exercise and remember to laugh! I think I should start ending all my posts with this. What do you think?