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An Alternative to Medication: 10 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Organically

An Alternative to Medication: 10 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Organically

What are you doing to lower your blood pressure?

  • Are you handing over your paycheck to doctors and pharmacists?
  • Are you sacrificing the tastes of your favorite foods?
  • Are you missing out on some of your favorite activities?

If you are suffering from high blood pressure, or have been recently diagnosed with high blood pressure, your life will never be the same.

High blood pressure is a serious health issue that requires many lifestyle changes and treatments to control. It’s not something you can – or should – ignore, and it’s certainly not to taken lightly.

But while doctors and medications can help you lower your blood pressure, it’s ultimately up to you to make changes to your health that will keep your blood pressure in check.

Your doctor may have told you to avoid certain foods that contribute to high blood pressure, but you might not realize that there are foods that lower blood pressure, too. And if lowering your blood pressure is important to you, then, by all means, you should be eating these foods.

Diet is Better Than Reliance on Medication

While many folks marvel at the wonders of modern medicine, you should know that no medication is completely risk-proof. Many medicines used to lower blood pressure often tack on some unpleasant side effects, like diarrhea, constipation, erectile dysfunction, lack of energy, dizziness, cough, vomiting, headache, weight loss, or weight gain. Each of these side effects may need additional treatment measures, which means more doctor visits, possibly more medications, and certainly more money.

If you face high blood pressure, you may not realize that you have other management options outside of expensive medical treatment.

You may already know to avoid certain foods that can elevate your blood pressure, like salty foods, alcohol, processed meat, and coffee. But adding the right foods, such as those rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium, can help you lower your blood pressure naturally without the drastic side effects of blood pressure medication.

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How Diets Lower Our Blood Pressure as Studies Show

  • Eating potassium helps your kidneys purge your body of excess sodium, one of the major culprits of high blood pressure.
  • Calcium helps blood vessels contract and expand, and not having enough calcium can tighten artery walls. It also helps balance your body’s sodium supply.
  • Magnesium helps calcium and potassium to pass through cell walls. Studies show that low magnesium levels can up the chance of a heart attack by 60%. [1]

10 All-Star Foods That Lower Blood Pressure

Now, that’s not to say that you should not take medication the doctor prescribed. But eating foods that lower blood pressure give you an additional means of taking control of your health that could give you the results you need quicker than medication alone.

Below you shall see 10 foods that help lower blood pressure.

1. Flaxseed

    Studies have proven that flaxseed can successfully lower blood pressure. Flaxseed doesn’t taste like much, which makes it great to sprinkle some on just about anything from salads to soups to sandwiches and more [2].

    Try flax seed in these delicious chocolate-cherry snack bars.

    2. Fresh Leafy Greens

      Foods like fresh kale, arugula, turnip greens, romaine lettuce, and spinach are naturally high in potassium. Avoid eating canned greens, like spinach and turnip greens, because these usually have added salt.

      This smoothie recipe combines fresh greens with calcium-rich yogurt for a tasty breakfast treat.

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      3. Red Beets

        High in nitric oxide, red beets can help open blood vessels to lower blood pressure. In addition, research shows that the nitrates in beet juice successfully lowered blood pressure in participants in just 24 hours [3].

        Try this easy recipe for a roasted beets salad.

        4. White Beans

          Just one cup of white beans, like cannellini beans or navy beans, can give you 13% of your calcium, 30% of your magnesium, and 24% of your potassium each day. Make sure you choose a no-salt canned variety if you don’t want to cook dry beans.

          Try this heart-healthy white bean chicken chili.

          5. Yogurt

            Yogurt is packed with calcium – you can get almost half of your daily servings in just one cup! It also contains 12% of the magnesium and 18% of the potassium your body needs.

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            Make your own fat-free Greek yogurt at home.

            6. Bananas

              Bananas have long been known as a source for potassium, but they also contain a fair amount of magnesium and calcium.

              Try this heart-healthy banana bread recipe.

              7. Quinoa

                This whole grain packs 15% of your daily magnesium, along with 1.5% the calcium and 4.5% of the potassium you need. It’s also gluten-free.

                Try this basic quinoa recipe.

                8. Broccoli

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                  Broccoli packs the potassium-calcium-magnesium trifecta in every stalk.

                  Try one of these 3 recipes that are chock full of broccoli goodness.

                  9. Skim Milk

                    Smothered in calcium, you can do your body good with a glass or two of skim milk each day. The Vitamin D and calcium work together to help lower blood pressure by 3 to 10 percent [4].

                    Try this morning smoothie recipe that uses skim milk and other heart-healthy ingredients.

                    10. Sunflower Seeds

                      These tiny seeds provide a great source of magnesium. Just make sure you buy the unsalted kind, since you want to minimize your salt intake.

                      Add to any salad, or try this extraordinary recipe for Sunflower Chive Cheese Cucumber Bites.

                      Let’s Embrace Health with a Good Diet! 

                      Adding these 10 foods that lower blood pressure to your diet may be the extra health boost your body needs to fight back against blood pressure issues.

                      Reference

                      More by this author

                      Alli Hill

                      Lifestyle Writer and Marketing Consultant

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                      Last Updated on July 10, 2020

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

                      We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

                      We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

                      So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

                      Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

                      What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

                      Boundaries are limits

                      —they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

                      Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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                      Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

                      Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

                      Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

                      How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

                      Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

                      1. Self-Awareness Comes First

                      Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

                      You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

                      To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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                      You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

                      • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
                      • When do you feel disrespected?
                      • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
                      • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
                      • When do you want to be alone?
                      • How much space do you need?

                      You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

                      2. Clear Communication Is Essential

                      Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

                      Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

                      3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

                      Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

                      That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

                      Sample language:

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                      • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
                      • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
                      • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
                      • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
                      • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
                      • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
                      • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

                      Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

                      4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

                      Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

                      Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

                      Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

                      We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

                      It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

                      It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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                      Final Thoughts

                      Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

                      Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

                      Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

                      The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

                      Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

                      Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

                      They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

                      Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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