How to Naturally Have Healthy Blood Pressure
By Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN
High blood pressure is one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States and around the world. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 1 in every 3 adult Americans (about 67 million people) has high blood pressure. Unlike many diseases or conditions that have symptoms, high blood pressure for many can be completely silent, meaning that it comes with no symptoms or side effects, but can increase risk for many diseases and health issues.
What is blood pressure?
Simply put, it’s the pressure of force of blood against the walls of your blood vessels as the blood flows through them.
Why is high blood pressure bad?
Having high blood pressure over time can cause damage to the arteries that supply blood to your body, and in turn can increase risk for stroke and heart disease. Having high blood pressure can also put extra strain on the heart, as the heart has to pump harder to get the blood out and to your body. Here is more on how to prevent hypertension and maintain a healthy heart.
Here’s why maintaining healthy blood pressure is good:
- Reduces risk for stroke
- Reduces risk for heart attack
- Puts less stress on your heart and blood vessels
- Reduces risk for kidney disease
Tips for promoting healthy blood pressure:
- Maintain a Healthy Weight
This can help to take stress off your heart and can also help prevent many chronic diseases including diabetes, various types of cancer, heart disease and more. If you need help losing weight, here are tips on losing weight for good.
- Move More
Increasing simple movement can help to promote healthy blood pressure. It can be as simple as moving 3 times daily for 10 minutes- the research suggests it’s just as good as moving for 30 continuous minutes. Try going for a walk, cleaning your house (yes, this counts!), or experiment with my 14 minute no-excuses workout!
- Reduce Salt Intake
Use herbs, spices and pepper to flavor food and aim to buy foods with 250 mg of sodium or less per serving.
- Load Up on Plants
Consume more unrefined whole grains, nuts, seeds, beans, and fruits and vegetables whenever possible.
- Choose Natural Over Refined
Choose natural sugars like those found in fruits and vegetables instead of processed and refined sugar.
- Increase Potassium Intake
This key nutrient can help to promote healthy blood pressure as it plays a role in muscle contraction and relaxation.
- Foods rich in potassium:
- Sweet potatoes and yams
- Coconut water
- Most fruits and vegetables contain some potassium and other key nutrients
- Magnify Magnesium Intake
Magnesium is another key nutrient that can help to promote healthy blood pressure due to its role in promoting muscle relaxation. Magnesium also plays an important role in bone health and promoting insulin sensitivity that can help to prevent diabetes.
- Foods rich in magnesium:
- Green leafy vegetables: Kale, spinach, chard, collards
- Whole grains: Barley, bulgur, oats
- Beans and legumes: Black beans, chickpeas
- Nuts & seeds: Pumpkin seeds, almonds, cashews
- Animal protein: Halibut
Recipes to promote healthful blood pressure: