Advertising
Advertising

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.

Advertising

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.

      Advertising

      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.

            Advertising

            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

                Advertising

                  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

                      An Alternative to Medication: 10 Foods That Lower Blood Pressure Organically Successful People Make Self-Learning Their Daily Habit By Using These 20 Apps You Don’t Need Vitamin Pills; You Just Need to Recognize These 10 Fiber-Rich Organic Foods A Good Reference Letter Is the Best Gift for the Person You Value Your Cover Letter Didn’t Bore the Employer, You Did

                      Trending in Health

                      1 What Is Clean Eating (Essential Tips + Clean Eating Meal Plan) 2 Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It) 3 8 Best Multivitamins For Men, Women And Kids 4 How to Stop Overeating the Healthy Way (Step-by-Step Guide) 5 10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

                      Read Next

                      Advertising
                      Advertising
                      Advertising

                      Last Updated on November 12, 2020

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                      Why You’re Feeling Tired All the Time (and What to Do About It)

                      If you find that you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to understand that it’s a common problem for many. With all of the demands of daily life, being tired seems to be the new baseline. In fact, two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week.[1]

                      If you’re tired of feeling exhausted, then I’ve got some great news for you. New research is helping us gain critical insights into the underlying causes of feeling tired all the time.

                      In this article, we’ll discuss the latest reasons why you’re so tired and practical steps you can take to finally get to the bottom of your fatigue and feel rested.

                      What Happens When You’re Too Tired

                      If you sleep just two hours less than the normal eight hours, you could be as impaired as someone who has consumed up to three beers.[2] And you’ve probably experienced the impact yourself.

                      Here are some common examples of what happens when you’re feeling tired:[3]

                      • Trouble focusing because memory and learning functions may be impaired.
                      • Experience mood swings and an inability to differentiate between what’s important and what’s not.
                      • Dark circles under your eyes and/or your skin make look dull and lackluster in the short term and over time your skin may get wrinkles and show signs of aging because your body didn’t have time to remove toxins during sleep.
                      • Finding it more difficult to exercise.
                      • Immune system may weaken, causing you to pick up infections more easily.
                      • Overeating because not getting enough sleep activates the body’s endocannabinoids, even when you’re not hungry.
                      • Metabolism slows down, so what you eat is more likely to be stored as belly fat.

                      Why Are You Feeling Tired All the Time?

                      Leading experts are starting to recognize that there are three primary reasons people feel tired on a regular basis: sleep deprivation, fatigue, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

                      Here’s a quick overview of each common cause of fatigue and feeling tired all of the time:

                      1. Tiredness occurs from sleep deprivation when you don’t get high-quality sleep consistently. It typically can be solved by changing your routine and getting enough deep, restorative sleep.
                      2. Fatigue occurs from prolonged sleeplessness, which could be triggered by numerous health problems, such as mental health issues, long-term illness, fibromyalgia, obesity, sleep apnea, or stress. It typically can be improved by changing your lifestyle and using sleep aids or treatments, if recommended by your physician.
                      3. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a medical condition also known as Myalgic Encephalomyelitis that occurs from persistent exhaustion that doesn’t go away with sleep.

                      The exact cause of CFS is not known, but it may be due to problems with the immune system, a bacterial infection, a hormone imbalance, or emotional trauma. It typically involves working with a doctor to rule out other illnesses before diagnosing and treating CFS.[4]

                      Always consult a physician to get a personal diagnosis about why you are feeling tired, especially if it is a severe condition.

                      You can learn more about some causes of fatigue in this video:

                      Feeling Tired Vs Being Fatigued

                      If lack of quality sleep doesn’t seem to be the root cause for you, then it’s time to explore fatigue as the reason you are frequently feeling tired.

                      Until recently, tiredness and fatigue were thought to be interchangeable. Leading experts now realize that tiredness and fatigue are different.

                      Advertising

                      Tiredness is primarily about lack of sleep. However, fatigue is a perceived feeling of being tired that is much more likely to occur in people who have depression, anxiety, or emotional stress and/or are overweight and physically inactive[5].

                      Symptoms of fatigue include:

                      • Difficulty concentrating
                      • Low stamina
                      • Difficulty sleeping
                      • Anxiety
                      • Low motivation

                      These symptoms may sound similar to those of tiredness, but they usually last longer and are more intense.

                      Unfortunately, there is no definitive reason why fatigue occurs because it can be a symptom of an emotional or physical illness. However, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce difficult symptoms by making a few simple lifestyle changes.

                      How Much Sleep Is Enough?

                      The number one reason you may feel tired is because of sleep deprivation, which means you are not getting enough high-quality sleep.

                      Research suggests that most adults need 7 to 9 hours of high-quality, uninterrupted sleep per night[6]. If you’re sleep deprived, the amount of sleep you need increases.

                      Get the right amount of sleep to stop feeling tired.

                        The key to quality sleep is being able to get long, uninterrupted sleep cycles throughout the night. It typically takes 90 minutes for you to reach a state of deep REM sleep where your body’s healing crew goes to work.

                        Ideally, you want to get at least 3 to 4 deep REM sleep cycles in per night. That’s why it’s so important to stay asleep for 7 or more hours.

                        Research also shows that people who think they can get by on less sleep don’t perform as well as people who get at least seven hours of sleep a night[7]

                        If you are not getting 7 hours of high-quality sleep regularly, then sleep deprivation is the most likely reason you feel tired all the time. That is actually good news because sleep deprivation is much simpler and easier to address than the other root causes.

                        It’s also a good idea to rule out sleep deprivation as the reason why you are tired before moving on to the other possibilities, such as fatigue or Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, which may require a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

                        Advertising

                        4 Simple Changes to Reduce Fatigue

                        Personally, I’m a big believer in upgrading your lifestyle to uplift your life. I overcame chronic stress and exhaustion by making these four changes to my lifestyle:

                        1. Eating healthy, home-cooked meals versus microwaving processed foods or eating out
                        2. Exercising regularly
                        3. Using stressbusters
                        4. Creating a bedtime routine to sleep better

                        After I made the 4 simple changes in my lifestyle, I no longer felt exhausted all of the time.

                        I was so excited that I wanted to help others replace stress and exhaustion with rest and well-being, too. That’s why I became a Certified Holistic Wellness Coach through the Dr. Sears Wellness Institute.

                        Interestingly enough, I discovered that Dr. Sears recommends a somewhat similar L.E.A.N. lifestyle:

                        • L is for Lifestyle and means living healthy, including getting enough sleep.
                        • E is for Exercise and means getting at least 20 minutes of physical activity a day, ideally for six days a week.
                        • A is for Attitude and means thinking positive and reducing stress whenever possible.
                        • N is for Nutrition and means emphasizing a right-fat diet, not a low-fat diet.

                        The L.E.A.N. lifestyle is a scientifically-proven way to reduce fatigue, get to the optimal weight, and to achieve overall wellness.[8]

                        Living Healthy

                        Getting enough high-quality sleep every day is the surefire way to help you feel less fatigued, more rested, and better overall.

                        In fact, if you aren’t getting enough sleep, your body isn’t getting the time it needs to repair itself; meaning that if you are suffering from an illness, it’s far more likely to linger. In fact, long-term sleep deprivation has been linked to an increase in Alzheimer’s later in life[9].

                        As unlikely as it sounds, though, fatigue can sometimes make it difficult to sleep. That’s why I’d recommend taking a look at your bedtime routine before you go to bed and optimize it based on sleep best practices.

                        Here are 3 quick and easy tips for creating a pro-sleep bedtime routine:

                        1. Unplug

                        Many of us try to unwind by watching TV or doing something on an iPhone or tablet. However, tech can affect your melatonin production due to the blue light that they emit, fooling your body into thinking it’s still daytime. This won’t help you stop feeling tired all the time.

                        Try to turn off all tech one hour before bed and create a tech-free zone in your bedroom.

                        2. Unwind

                        Use the time before bed to do something you find relaxing such as reading a book, listening to soothing music, meditating, or taking an Epsom salt bath.

                        Advertising

                        3. Get Comfortable

                        Ensure your bed is comfortable and your room is set up for sleep.

                        Make sure you room is cool. 60-68 degrees is the ideal temperature for most people to sleep. Also, it’s ideal if your bedroom is dark and there is no noise.

                        Finally, make sure everything is handled (e.g., laying out tomorrow’s clothes) before you get into your nice, comfy bed. If your mind is still active, write a to-do list to help you fall asleep faster.[10]

                        This article also offers practical tips to build a bedtime routine: How to Build a Good Bedtime Routine That Makes Your Morning Easier

                        Exercise

                        Many people know that exercise is good for them, but they just can’t figure out how to fit it into their busy schedules.

                        That’s what happened in my case, but when my chronic stress and exhaustion turned into systemic inflammation (which can lead to major diseases like Alzheimer’s), I realized it was time to change my sedentary lifestyle.

                        I decided to start swimming because it was something I had always loved to do. Find an exercise you love and stick to it to stop feeling tired all the time. Ideally, get a combination of endurance training, strength training, and flexibility training during your daily 20-minute workout.

                        If you haven’t exercised in a while and have a lot of stress in your life, you may want to give yoga a try as it will increase your flexibility and lower your stress.

                        Attitude

                        Stress may be a major reason why you aren’t feeling well all of the time. At least that was the case with me.

                        When I worked 70 hours per week as a High-Tech Executive, I felt chronically stressed and exhausted, but there was one thing that always worked to help me feel calmer and less fatigued: Breathing.

                        But not just any old breathing. It was a special form of deep Yogic breathing called the “Long-Exhale Breathing” or “4-7-8 breathing” (or “Pranayama” in Sanskrit).

                        Here’s how you do Long-Exhale Breathing:

                        Advertising

                        1. Sit in a comfortable position with your spine straight and your hand on your tummy.
                        2. Breathe in deeply and slowly from your diaphragm with your mouth closed while you count to 4 (ideally until your stomach feels full of air).
                        3. Hold your breath while you mentally count to 7 and enjoy the stillness.
                        4. Breathe out through your mouth with a “ha” sound while you count to 8 (or until your stomach has no more air in it).
                        5. Pause after you finish your exhale while you notice the sense of wholeness and relaxation from completing one conscious, deep breath.
                        6. Repeat 3 times, ensuring your exhale is longer than your inhale so you relax your nervous system.

                        This type of “long-exhale breathing” is scientifically proven to reduce stress.

                        When your exhale is twice as long as your inhale, it soothes your parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.[11]

                        Nutrition

                        Diet is vital for beating fatigue if you’re feeling tired all the time – after all, food is your main source of energy.

                        If your diet is poor, then it implies you’re not getting the nutrients you need to sustain healthy energy levels, which may lead to daytime sleepiness.

                        Eating a diet for fatigue doesn’t need to be complicated or time-consuming though. For most people, it’s just a case of swapping a few unhealthy foods for a few healthier ones, like switching from low-fiber, processed foods to whole, high-fiber foods.

                        Here’re 9 simple diet swaps you can make today:

                        1. Replace your morning coffee with Matcha green tea and drink only herbal tea within six hours of bedtime.
                        2. Add a healthy fat or protein to any carb you eat, especially if you eat before bed.
                        3. Fill up with fiber, especially green leafy vegetables.
                        4. Replace refined, processed, low-fiber pastas and grains with zucchini noodles and whole grains such as buckwheat, quinoa, sorghum, oats, amaranth, millet, teff, brown rice, and corn.
                        5. Swap natural sweeteners for refined sugars, and try to ensure you don’t get more than 25g of sugar a day if you are a woman and 30g of sugar a day if you are a man.
                        6. Replace ice cream with low-sugar alternatives.
                        7. Swap omega-6, partially-hydrogenated oils such as corn, palm, sunflower, safflower, cotton, canola and soybean oil for omega-3 oils such as flax, olive, and nut oils.
                        8. Replace high-sugar yoghurts with low-sugar, dairy-free yoghurts.
                        9. Swap your sugar-laden soda for sparkling water with a splash of low-sugar juice.

                        Also, ensure your diet is giving you enough of the daily essential vitamins and minerals. Most of us don’t get enough Vitamin D, Vitamin B-12, Calcium, Iron, and Magnesium. If you are low on any of the above vitamins and minerals, you may experience fatigue and low energy.

                        That’s why it’s always worth having your doctor check your levels. If you find any of them are low, then try to eat foods rich in them.

                        Alternatively, you might consider a high-quality multivitamin or specific supplement.

                        The Bottom Line

                        If you are tired of feeling tired all the time, then there is tremendous hope.

                        If you are tired because you are not getting enough high-quality sleep, then the best remedy is a bedtime routine based on sleep best practices. If you are tired because you have stress and fatigue, then the best remedy are four simple lifestyle changes discussed above.

                        Overall, adopting a healthier lifestyle is the ideal remedy for feeling more rested and energized.

                        More Tips to Stop Feeling Tired All the Time

                        Featured photo credit: Cris Saur via unsplash.com

                        Reference

                        [1] YouGov: Two-fifths of Americans are tired most of the week
                        [2] National Safety Council: Is Your Company Confronting Workplace Fatigue?
                        [3] The New York Times: Why Are We So Freaking Tired?
                        [4] Mayo Clinic: Chronic fatigue syndrome
                        [5] Very Well Health: Differences Between Sleepiness and Fatigue
                        [6] Advanced Sleep Medicine Services: NEW Guidelines: How much sleep do you need?
                        [7] Mayo Clinic: Lack of sleep: Can it make you sick?
                        [8] Ask Dr. Sears: The L.E.A.N. Lifestyle
                        [9] National Institute on Aging: Sleep loss encourages spread of toxic Alzheimer’s protein
                        [10] American Psychological Association: Getting a Good Night’s Sleep
                        [11] Yoga International: Learning to Exhale: 2-to-1 Breathing

                        Read Next