Top 5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
- Limit caffeine:
Caffeine can cause tightening of the blood vessels and a sharp rise in blood pressure soon after consuming. This may be due, in part, to caffeine’s stimulation of the adrenal glands to release stress hormones. A little might be OK, but you should talk with your doctor or nutritionist about how much is best for you. (Some hidden sources of caffeine are: Teas, Sodas, Energy Drinks, Chocolate, Caffeine fortified foods such as “Power” bars and Painkillers)
- Ditch the processed foods with added salt:
We all need salt and sodium in our bodies, but just like everything else, we need a balance. Too much sodium, a component of salt, reduces the kidney’s ability to remove water from your body. This leads to excess fluid and strain on blood vessels resulting in high blood pressure. A moderate amount of good quality sea salt in home-cooked meals is necessary and healthy. However, it is the high doses of added salt found in processed foods – such as canned soups, crackers, fast food, frozen meals and even cereals – that hijack our taste buds and should be avoided!
- Daily relaxation practice:
Relaxation practices such as deep breathing exercises can down-regulate the “fight or flight” response. Try it right now! Take a deep breath in…and let it out very slowly. Repeat this 5 more times and then pay attention to how you feel. You just caused your blood vessels to relax and widen. Imagine the benefits you would experience if you did this on a regular basis!
- Eat plenty of plant foods:
Many of these are loaded with the potassium, magnesium, calcium and polyphenols our bodies need for proper blood pressure regulation. Some of your best options include dark green leafy veggies, avocado, whole soy (such as edamame), garlic, berries, white beans, lentils, mixed nuts, kale, broccoli, sweet potato, squash and even unsweetened cocoa powder.
- Drink some beet juice:
Beets are a natural source of nitrates, and these convert to nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide is a potent vasodilator. In fact, many athletes will drink beetroot juice to increase blood flow and reduce oxygen needs during exercise. We recommend you enjoy beet juice with a meal or a source of fat to slow the absorption of the sugar from the juice into your system.