Fight hypertension with the right food choices

In many cases, medications may not be necessary if you eat the right foods

Little life hack for you today, we are going to talk about how to use certain foods to lower high blood pressure. Yes, food to lower and NOT increase.

Blood pressure is the force of your blood as it moves through your blood vessels.

And while you may not be able to see the problems it causes right away, a diagnosis of hypertension (high blood pressure) isn’t something to take lightly.

Often referred to as a silent killer, high blood pressure may have no obvious symptoms. If left untreated, however, this condition causes damage that can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or other problems.

This is why it’s so important to get your blood pressure checked regularly and to take the appropriate measures to lower a high reading.

While you can’t change your family history, age, race or your past unhealthy lifestyle choices, you can make diet and lifestyle changes TODAY that can make a big difference in your blood pressure.

In many cases, medications may not be necessary to lower your numbers if you eat the right foods and avoid the wrong foods. We have seen so many clients at our gyms actually get off meds that were supposedly prescribed for life! This is such a huge win for them!

Besides cutting back on sodium, add the following foods to your diet and watch your blood pressure readings go down.

Skim milk and yogurt. A diet that lowers blood pressure will include low-fat dairy. Skim milk and yogurt are both high in calcium, a mineral that works to lower high blood pressure.

So enjoy a glass of milk with your meal or eat a cup of yogurt for breakfast or a snack. When shopping, look for yogurt without loads of added sugars, even better yet go Greek yogurt that has calcium.

Leafy greens. If there’s one thing leafy greens are good for, it’s your heart. Being high in potassium, leafy greens help your body eliminate excess sodium.

Less sodium equals lower blood pressure, so make a salad today with kale, Romaine (maybe wait until romaine isn’t the devil anymore), arugula, spinach, collard greens or Swiss chard.

Oatmeal. A heart-healthy meal is high in fiber. Oatmeal for breakfast is a great way to start your day. High in fiber, low in sodium and low in calories, oatmeal works to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. As an added perk, oatmeal helps you feel full a long time, which will do wonders for your waistline! Enjoy your oatmeal with a little skim milk, berries, honey, or nuts.

Red beets. Looking for a powerful and fast way to lower blood pressure? Try red beet juice. High in nitric oxide, beets work to widen blood vessels and reduce the pressure on your vessels. In fact, an eight-ounce glass of beetroot juice can lower blood pressure by 10 mmHg.

Not a fan of beet juice? No problem. You can eat the root cooked, bake it into chips, or make it into juice for the same effect.

Avocado. Rich in potassium, avocados are another food to include in a heart-healthy diet. One avocado contains 708 mg of potassium, which is 286 mg more than a banana.

Avocado is also high in healthy fats that are good for your heart. Enjoy avocado on your salad, in your sandwich or made into guacamole.

Salmon. Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, and trout are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. This fat is known to reduce blood pressure, lower triglycerides and reduce inflammation in the body. Plan to eat grilled or baked fish at least twice a week. Your blood vessels and taste buds will thank you.

Dark chocolate. Enjoy dark chocolate as a way to lower blood pressure and reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease. Dark chocolate is high in flavonols, antioxidants that improve the elasticity of blood vessels. Look for varieties made with at least 70 percent cocoa solids and low in sugar and eat no more than one ounce a day.

Eggs. Once thought to be bad for heart health, eggs are now known to actually lower blood pressure, and in some cases it works as well as medication.

Rich in protein and Vitamin D, don’t feel guilty when you eat poached eggs for breakfast, hard-boiled eggs for a snack or scrambled eggs in a sandwich for lunch.

There you have it!

No real need for a conclusion here, you know what to do! Make some positive changes today and make even more positive changes when you are out getting groceries this week.

Jack Wheeler is a personal trainer and the owner of 360 Fitness in Red Deer.

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