by Lauren Rae, CPT at TRYM Fitness and Sunwarrior contributing writer
The day for candy indulgence in the form of heart shaped boxes and unexplainable heart palpitations is a couple months away. You look forward to wearing red and green this time of year, not red and pink! Regardless, I hope you told someone you loved them today. But have you told your heart how you feel? Your heart is responsible for the beat in your pulse and the air in your lungs. More specifically, it performs two important functions: supplying oxygenated blood to your body and helping rid the body of waste products such as carbon dioxide. I think it is time to give back a little to this incredible organ with 5 foods that can help lower your blood pressure.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, affects 1 in 3 people here in the United States and takes no prejudice against gender or race. As you age, your risk increases and every 2 out of 3 people struggle to manage their blood pressure by age 65. Taking steps now can increase your awareness and lower the likelihood that you’ll suffer with the majority. Steps that can help lower blood pressure naturally include dining with specific food items and creating lasting changes in your lifestyle. Try them all and see which ones you can add to your daily routine!
5 Foods that can help lower blood pressure:
- Spinach and KaleSpinach and kale are filled with fiber, potassium, foliate, magnesium, and vitamin C. Add them to shakes or sauté them in olive oil; these leafy greens have the nutrients necessary to manage your blood pressure.
- Unsalted Sunflower SeedsrnA simple quarter-cup of unsalted sunflower seeds provides more than half your necessary vitamin E for the day. Vitamin E is an antioxidant in cholesterol that prevents free radicals from oxidizing the cholesterol, thereby preventing the sticking to the vessel walls that causes high blood pressure and other, more serious, ills.
- BananasLoaded with potassium, a necessary tool of the liver to regulate blood pressure, bananas are a great on the go snack and are easily added to recipes at any time.
- Beet JuicernBeets are a great source of nitrates which relax and open the blood vessels wider, allowing more oxygen to spread and lowering blood pressure
- Raw CacaoLoaded with antioxidants, catechins as well as flavanols that increase nitric oxide production, raw cacao can get you on track to improving hypertension.
5 Lifestyle changes that can help lower blood pressure:
- Meditation not medicationIf you can avoid taking prescription medications, restful awareness can reduce stress and in turn have an effect on lowering blood pressure. Try practicing transcendental meditation to trigger the body’s natural self-repair mechanism. However, always consult your doctor where medications are concerned.
- Pick up the weightsSeemingly contradictory, while lifting weights can temporarily increase your blood pressure, the long-term results greatly outweigh the risk when performed safely and correctly.
- Decrease your alcohol consumptionHaving three or more alcoholic beverages temporarily increases blood pressure as well as adds unproductive caloric intake to your diet. However, one glass of red wine has proven to be heart healthy!
- Cut out saltExcess of 500mg of sodium a day can increase blood pressure. Eating whole, natural, unprocessed foods can decrease your sodium intake which has a serious effect on hypertension.
- Lose a couple extra waistline poundsObesity and hypertension are related to one-another. By decreasing your overall body fat percentage, you reduce the necessary cardiac output and lower your chances for dangerously high blood pressure.
Hearty Healthy Shake Recipe
Try this smoothie and feel your heart swell—in a good way.
- 1 Banana
- 1/2 cup strawberries (Frozen or fresh)
- 1 cup spinach
- 1 cup skim milk or unsweetened almond milk
- 2 tablespoons flax seeds
- 1 scoop Sunwarrior Warrior Blend protein, vanilla or chocolate
Blend well and enjoy. I promise your heart, your waistline, and your taste buds will thank you!