Lower Blood Pressure Naturally
A friend called me yesterday quite alarmed that his Doctor told him he was bordering on high blood pressure. He is 45 years old, and was not totally shocked, because he knew this ran in his family, but he is an avid exerciser and thought he could dodge this family gift. He wanted to know what he can change in his diet to improve his blood pressure. Teaching friends and clients about the powerful effects that nutrients have on their health and ultimately their quality of life is a very rewarding part of my job. So we continued chatting, and here is what I encouraged him to do.
What to Add Instead of What to Avoid
I asked him about what he ate on a typical day and what was clearly lacking in his daily diet were colorful fruits and vegetables. I encouraged him to add at least 10 servings per day, ....yes you read that correctly. It is so beneficial to eat produce all throughout the day, and the more color the better, but even white cauliflower is an awesome choice of a vegetable. So while many people are ready to hear all the things they should NOT be eating, instead, I like to teach what things you should be eating. What is so great about fruits and vegetables is they are naturally packed with potassium which helps to counter balance sodium. Potassium and sodium are like yin and yang and the typical American diet is very high in sodium but very low in potassium. Increasing the potassium intake in your diet can help to naturally lower blood pressure.
What is so Great About Fruits and Vegetables
The nice thing is that all vegetables are fantastic to include and there is not one vegetable I would say to exclude, so that makes it pretty simple. I do like to recommend that you get a variety in your diet and not just stick to broccoli and kale every single day, for example. And while many advice giving foodies like to encourage you to avoid fruits, I do in fact recommend fruits as another source of potassium. If someone has insulin resistance I may not recommend as many fruits, but fruits, like vegetables, are a great source of potassium. Fruits and vegetables are also high in water content, high in fiber but lower in calories than processed snack chips and crackers.
Nitrates in Vegetables
Another benefit you will get from eating more fruits and vegetables is exposure to things like lycopene, anthocyanin, pectins, ellagic acid, flavonoids and many other chemical components that you and I probably cannot pronounce. Food truly does have a medicinal effect in our bodies. Some vegetables are also rich sources of nitrates which are also known to have a blood pressure lowering effect in our body. Rich sources of nitrates include spinach, kale, beets, arugula and celery.
Frozen Produce is Great
I have talked to many clients over the years who actually avoid eating produce because they think it is only beneficial if it is fresh. They express to me that they don't have time to wash, cut, chop, prepare, store, and eat the fresh produce before it goes bad, so they end up not eating very much at all. They are often happily surprised to hear me recommend that they purchase frozen fruits and vegetables. So take the pressure off of yourself, head to the store and load up on more fruits and vegetables and be sure to head to the frozen section too!