High blood pressure is when your blood pressure, the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels, is consistently too high. About 85 million Americans, one out of every three adults over age 20, have high blood pressure. Almost 20 percent don’t even know they have it. The best way to know if you have high blood pressure it is to have your blood pressure checked by a medical professional. High blood pressure is not something to be taken lightly, it is a silent killer meaning most of the time there are no obvious symptoms. Certain physical traits and lifestyle choices can put you at a greater risk for developing high blood pressure. When left untreated, the damage that high blood pressure does to your circulatory system is a significant contributing factor to heart attack, stroke and other health threats. Fortunately for us, studies have shown that a change in diet and exercise can significantly lower your blood pressure. Here are five foods that can help lower your blood pressure when accompanied by regular exercise:
Everyone is sweet on dark chocolate, and why not? It’s both delish and health-promoting. But cocoa powder is the real hero: It’s 100 percent cocoa and contains a hearty dose of flavanols, the plant-based nutrients responsible for helping to reduce blood pressure by opening up blood vessels and allowing blood to flow more easily.There are so many creative ways to use cocoa powder and reap the benefits. Try adding a dash to your morning coffee or bowl of oatmeal. Stir some into your favorite smoothie or try this chocolate-ricotta toast recipe.
This super green is loaded with not one, not two, but three blood-pressure-lowering ingredients, making it a true triple threat. Those three nutrients are potassium, folate and magnesium. Potassium helps to release sodium (and fluid) from the body to lower blood pressure. Magnesium enables our tiny blood vessels to relax, helping to maintain elasticity and normal blood flow. And folate, a B-vitamin (B9), acts like a “heart-healthy soldier” by helping to break down homocysteine, an amino acid that has the potential to damage inner artery walls.
If you can manage the stench, garlic is a great addition to your diet. This kitchen staple does more than add flavor to dishes. It can also help manage blood pressure, thanks to its high content of allicin, a compound that protects against endothelial dysfunction, a condition that affects the lining of the blood vessels and can lead to hypertension, among other diseases.
All beans contain fiber, protein and iron, nutrients that work to keep your heart healthy because they aid in weight control, reduce cholesterol and provide magnesium and potassium, two blood pressure helpers. But white beans are the better bean in this case, because they also chip in calcium. Calcium plays an important role in managing blood pressure because it helps blood vessels tighten and relax when necessary.
For many of us, the most exciting part of the fall/winter season is the arrival of pumpkin. The superfood is loaded with potassium. Potassium, as mentioned above, helps to flush out excess sodium and fluid, easing pressure on the arterial walls.
Great Northern Beans
If you suffer from hypertension try out these foods and attempt to get a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day!