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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

                      Freelance Writer and Marketing Consultant

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                      Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                      Top 9 Foods for Incredible Brian Health And Brain Power

                      Your brain is the most intricate and powerful organ in your entire body. It’s essentially a super-computer with brain power like a Ferrari.

                      If you have a Ferrari, would you put cheap gasoline in it? Of course not. You want to put in high-octane performance fuel to get the most out of your investment.

                      When it comes to the brain, many people are looking for the top foods that will supercharge the brainpower to help focus better, think more clearly and have better brain health.

                      In this article, we’ll look at the top 9 brain foods that will help create supercharge your brain with energy and health:

                      1. Salmon

                      Salmon has long been held as a healthy brain food, but what makes this fish so valuable for your brain health?

                      It’s important to understand that your brain is primarily made up of fat. Roughly 60% of your brain is fat. One of the most important fats that the brain uses as a building block for healthy brain cells is omega-3’s.

                      Omega-3’s are essential for building a healthy brain but one of the most important omega-3’s for your brain is DHA. DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) forms nearly two-thirds of the omega-3’s found in your brain.[1]

                      Omega-3’s and DHA in particular help form the protective coating around our neurons. The better quality this coating is, the more efficient and effective our brain cells can work, allowing our brain power to work at full capacity.

                      Studies have shown that being deficient in DHA can affect normal brain development in children, which is why so many infant formulas and children’s supplements are beginning to include DHA.

                      Being deficient in DHA as an adult can cause focus and attention problems, mood swings, irritability, fatigue and poor sleep.

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                      2. Blueberries

                      Blueberries top the list as one of the most beneficial fruits to maximize your brain health and performance.

                      Blueberries have some of the highest content of antioxidants, particularly anthocyanins, than any other fruit, which helps protect the brain from stress and promote healthy brain aging.

                      Blueberries antioxidant content also help reduce inflammation, which allows the brain to maintain healthy energy levels.

                      Blueberries have begun to receive attention for their connection to brain performance.[2] Studies have demonstrated that eating blueberries on a regular basis can not only improve brain health but also brain performance as well including working memory.[3]

                      Blueberries not only taste great but are low in calories, high in Vitamin C, Vitamin K and Manganese.

                      3. Turmeric

                      Turmeric is a very impressive spice that has well-researched and proven to have tremendous benefits for your brain. Turmeric’s main compound that benefits the brain is called curcumin, which is responsible for turmerics bright yellow appearance.

                      Curcumin has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal, and anti-cancer properties.[4]

                      Curcumin increases the production and availability of two important neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, two important neurotransmitters involved with happiness, motivation, pleasure, and reward.

                      Curcumin has been well documented to have powerful anti-depressive effects. In one study, it was found to be as effective for depression as popular medications such as SSRI’s like Prozac.[5]

                      Curcumin has also been shown to:

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                      • Increase blood flow to the brain.[6]
                      • Increase BDNF production, a powerful stimulator of neuroplasticity.[7]
                      • Increase DHA availability and synthesis in the brain.[8]
                      • Increase antioxidant levels in the brain to prevent brain aging and inflammation.[9]

                      4. Coffee

                      Coffee is the wonderful elixir of energy that many people cherish every single morning. The biggest reason people drink coffee is to get a dose of caffeine.

                      Caffeine is a natural neurological stimulant that not only gives you energy but also prevents adenosine, a neurotransmitter involved with feeling tired, from binding in the brain.

                      Many people are surprised to find that coffee actually contains a large quantity of antioxidants called polyphenols, which are important for reducing inflammation in the brain and keep your brain energized. The antioxidants in coffee also provide a neuroprotective effect, protecting the brain from stress and damage. [R]

                      Coffee can also:

                      • Improve alertness and concentration.[10]
                      • Help with neurodegenerative disorders like Parkinson’s disease.[11]
                      • Reduce your risk of depression.[12]
                      • Improve your memory.
                      • Provide short-term boost in athletic performance.[13]

                      5. Broccoli

                      What was your least favorite food as a kid growing up?

                      Most likely, broccoli was your answer.

                      Broccoli may not have been your top choice, but it might be the top choice for your brain.

                      Broccoli contains a compound called sulforaphane. Sulforaphane has been shown to promote the proliferation and survival of brain cells by reducing inflammation and boosting production of BDNF. It has also been shown to boost neurogenesis, the production of new brain cells.[14]

                      Broccoli is also loaded with important nutrients Vitamin K and Folate. Vitamin K plays a vital role in protecting brain cells.[15] Folate plays a crucial role in detoxification and reducing inflammation in the brain.

                      6. Bone broth

                      Bone broth wasn’t just created to combine with soups, you can actually drink bone broth by itself.

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                      Drinking bone broth has become one of the biggest trends in the health and wellness industry and for good reason. Bone broth isn’t actually a new thing. Bone broth has been used for centuries as a healing tonic to promote health and longevity.

                      Much of the nutritional benefits and value of bone broth comes from its substantial vitamin and mineral content. Primarily calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and potassium.

                      Your gut is called your second brain for a reason. Research continually shows that there is a direct and indirect connection between your gut and your brain. Your gut also houses and stores many important brain compounds involved with optimal brain performance. Therefore the health of your gut is vitally important for your brain health and performance.

                      Bone broth has become a go-to tool for helping heal the gut and provide the gut with the vital nutrient and resources it needs to heal and perform optimally.

                      With the vast amounts of nutrients that bone broth contains, it makes the list as a go-to food for your brain health.

                      Look for high quality, organic bone broth for the best results.

                      7. Walnuts

                      Walnuts are one of the top choices of nuts for brain health. Walnuts also look similar to a brain.

                      Amongst the wide variety of nuts available, walnuts contain the highest amounts of the important omega-3 DHA. DHA, as seen above, is a critical building block for a healthy brain.

                      Walnuts also contain high amounts of antioxidants, folate, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, which help to lower inflammation.

                      Melatonin in walnuts is an important nutrient for regulating your sleep. Having low amounts of melatonin can make it challenging to get good quality sleep and getting poor quality sleep can dramatically impair brain health and performance.

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                      8. Eggs

                      For years, eggs were put on the nutritional naughty list; but now, eggs are finally getting the credit they deserve. Eggs can provide a tremendous boost to your brain health and longevity.

                      Eggs, particularly the yolks, contain a compound called choline. Choline is essential for building the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Acetylcholine plays an important role in mood, memory, and intelligence.

                      Egg yolks contain some of the highest quantities of choline. This is very important because low levels of choline can lead to low levels of acetylcholine, which in turn can cause increased inflammation, brain fog, difficulty concentrating and fatigue.

                      9. Dark chocolate

                      You’re about to love chocolate even more because chocolate, particularly dark chocolate, is great for your brain.

                      Chocolate boosts levels of endorphins, your brains “feel good” chemicals. This is why you feel so good eating chocolate.[16]

                      Chocolate also increases blood flow to the brain which can help improve memory, attention, focus, and reaction time.[17]

                      Dark chocolate contains high levels of magnesium, which has been coined “natures valium” for its ability to calm and relax the brain.

                      Lastly, dark chocolate has one of the highest antioxidant profiles out of any other food, including popular superfoods like acai berries, blueberries, or pomegranates.[18]

                      Conclusion

                      Your brain is a high performing organ and it uses quite a lot of energy, roughly 20% of the bodies energy demands.

                      In order to maintain a healthy brain, you need the right fuel to ensure that your brain has all the nutrients it needs to perform as well as adapt to the stress of life.

                      If you want to keep your brain performing well for a lifetime, then you want to make sure you are including as many of these brain health foods as possible.

                      More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                      Reference

                      [1] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: DHA Effects in Brain Development and Function
                      [2] Canadian Science Publishing: Enhanced task-related brain activation and resting perfusion in healthy older adults after chronic blueberry supplementation
                      [3] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Cognitive effects following acute wild blueberry supplementation in 7- to 10-year-old children.
                      [4] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin: the Indian solid gold.
                      [5] Herbal Medicine: Biomolecular and Clinical Aspects. 2nd edition.: Turmeric, the Golden Spice
                      [6] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effect of combined treatment with curcumin and candesartan on ischemic brain damage in mice.
                      [7] Science Direct: Curcumin reverses the effects of chronic stress on behavior, the HPA axis, BDNF expression and phosphorylation of CREB
                      [8] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Curcumin boosts DHA in the brain: Implications for the prevention of anxiety disorders.
                      [9] PLOS: A Chemical Analog of Curcumin as an Improved Inhibitor of Amyloid Abeta Oligomerization
                      [10] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of Caffeine on Cognitive Performance, Mood, and Alertness in Sleep-Deprived Humans
                      [11] American Academy of Neurology: A Cup of Joe May Help Some Parkinson’s Disease Symptoms
                      [12] American Academy of Neurology: AAN 65th Annual Meeting Abstract
                      [13] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Effects of caffeine on the metabolic and catecholamine responses to exercise in 5 and 28 degrees C.
                      [14] US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health: Hyperammonemia induces glial activation, neuroinflammation and alters neurotransmitter receptors in hippocampus, impairing spatial learning: reversal by sulforaphane
                      [15] Oxford Academic: Vitamin K and the Nervous System: An Overview of its Actions
                      [16] Diana L. Walcutt, Ph.D: Chocolate and Mood Disorders
                      [17] Health Magazine: Chocolate can do good things for your heart, skin and brain
                      [18] Chemistry Central Journal: Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit”: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products

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