There are bunches of reasons your blood pressure can start to climb. But more often than not, your doctor’s advice boils down to just two things.
He’ll tell you to cut salt out of your diet. And he’ll prescribe a high blood pressure medication for you to take.
Suddenly your future starts to look like a long unending stretch of bland meals and sickening drug side effects. But don’t despair. It turns out there are some drug-free tricks you can try to bring your numbers back into line.
More on those natural solutions in just a moment. First, let’s take a quick look at what could be contributing to your rising blood pressure. Plus a few easy steps EVERYONE should take for healthier blood pressure.
I said earlier that there are many different reasons your blood pressure could be high. And that’s true. But for most of us age, weight and not moving enough also play a big part. Which means making a few tweaks to your lifestyle could send your BP plummeting, even before you try a single nutrient to help reduce high blood pressure.
When we’re young, our arteries are springy and elastic. This allows blood to rush through them easily, like an open fire hose. But as we age, and become less active, they can start to stiffen up. This forces blood to push its way through a much narrower space, like a garden hose.
This hardening of the arteries—called atherosclerosis—is by far the biggest cause of high blood pressure.
There isn’t a thing you can do about your age, of course. But you can make a few changes to help keep your arteries flexible.
Get rid of JUNK salt to reduce high blood pressure
Your doctor was on the right track when he mentioned salt. Because while not everyone is salt sensitive, if your blood pressure is high there’s a good chance you might be.
But cutting salt out entirely can leave your food tasting bland and unappetizing. And who wants to live like that? Besides the real villain is junk sodium anyway.
There’s a ton of junk salt hiding in packaged foods. And regardless of whether our blood pressure is too high, or not, we should all be reducing it in our diet. The best way to do that is to cut back, or eliminate, packaged foods.
Cook your meals from scratch with fresh herbs and spices so you know exactly what’s in them. And then lightly salt your dishes when they’re finished with a dash of organic sea salt or Himalayan salt if they need it.
Make a MOVE to reduce high blood pressure
Let’s face it; exercise often slips to the bottom of our list of priorities, as we get older. Exercising takes more effort than it did when we were younger. And besides life seems so jam packed, who has the time?
But the truth is if you don’t make time you may run out of it entirely. Not exercising will cause you to pack on extra pounds and contributes to the hardening of your arteries. In the end, that can shave years off your life.
So it’s time to get moving. Try a fun hobby that gets your blood pumping such as dancing or water aerobics. And for even more benefits consider adding in a session or two of yoga or tai chi every week. Either can help you lose weight and ease stress while increasing your flexibility and helping to reduce high blood pressure.
Reduce high blood pressure with natural nutrients
While you’re making those changes to your diet and exercise routines, you might want to consider bumping up the levels of several blood-pressure-linked nutrients too. Following are four that experts say could help you reduce your blood pressure.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer. And since muscle surrounds all of your arteries that can help reduce your blood pressure. As your smooth muscles relax, your arteries dilate and blood flows more easily.
You can raise the magnesium in your diet by eating more spinach, chard, pumpkin seeds, yogurt, dark chocolate and almonds. Or by taking a magnesium supplement (if you experience diarrhea, try dividing into several doses).
According to researchers at the University of Southern California, eating high potassium foods can lower your blood pressure. And according to their meta-review, the foods benefit blood pressure regardless of how much salt you have in your diet.
The typical Western diet is low in potassium. So chances are good your levels are on the low side to begin with. Plus if you’re taking a diuretic for your high blood pressure, your potassium may be even lower.
When your potassium levels run low your body retains sodium in a last ditch effort to hold on to as much potassium as it can. This in turn raises your blood pressure. But when you replenish your potassium levels, your body begins dumping the stored salt and your blood pressure drops.
Foods that are rich in potassium include wild caught salmon, avocado, sweet potato, spinach and dried apricots.
L-arginine is an amino acid that your body uses to make nitric oxide. And nitric oxide in turn naturally dilates your blood vessels.
In other words, l-arginine can boost blood flow and reduce high blood pressure.
Arginine rich foods include turkey breast, pork loin, chicken breast, pumpkin seeds, walnuts, lentils and peanuts. Or look for an l-arginine supplement.
4. Vitamin C:
Oxidized LDL (“bad”) cholesterol can form plaques in your arteries causing them to harden and lose their elasticity. And that in turn can raise your blood pressure.
But the powerful antioxidant vitamin C helps prevent LDL (“bad”) cholesterol from oxidizing in the first place.
Foods rich in vitamin C include kale, red bell peppers, broccoli, pineapple, mangoes, Brussels sprouts and strawberries. Or you can take a supplement instead.
Borderline high blood pressure doesn’t mean you are doomed to a lifetime of bland foods and drugs. You can reduce your high blood pressure naturally. Talk with your doctor about which of these nutrients might be right for you.
She is an advocate of self-education and is passionate about the power of group knowledge sharing, like the kind found right here on HealthierTalk.com. Alice loves to share her views on holistic and natural healing as well as her, sometimes contentious, thoughts on the profit-driven inner workings of traditional medicine.
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