Everyone wishes to have a normal blood pressure reading as it is commonly known that high blood pressure can lead to hypertension and increase your risk for a cardiac event or stroke. In order to fully take control of your blood pressure levels, it is important to understand what causes it to rise and how to go about stabilizing your reading.
In this article, we will explore what causes blood pressure to rise, how a plant-based diet can lower and stabilize blood pressure, and how to eat and cook with these tips in mind. For more information, keep on reading!
1. What is Blood Pressure and How Does It Rise?
In order for our bodies to function properly our tissues and organs require oxygenated blood that has been carried by our circulatory system. When our heart beats, pressure is created that pushes blood to our arteries, capillaries, and veins. This blood pressure occurs due to two forces: systolic pressure and diastolic pressure. Systolic pressure happens when blood is pumped out of our heart, while diastolic pressure occurs between heart beats. These two forces are represented as numbers when you get your blood pressure taken.
When blood pressure levels rise, the heart and blood vessels must work even harder, causing them to work less efficiently as time carries on. Over time this can lead to damage to tissues inside the arteries, and cause plaque to build along tears in the arteries from LDL cholesterol. High blood pressure is what causes hypertension, and it can also significantly elevate your risk for a heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and kidney and liver disease.
So, what causes high blood pressure?
High blood pressure can be caused by environmental and genetic factors such as smoking, intense alcohol consumption, obesity, lack of physical exercise, stress, old age, family history of high blood pressure, and adrenal and thyroid disorders. It can also be caused by a diet rich in processed meats like bacon, sausage, and lunch meat, sodium, fatty meats, fried food, whole milk dairy products, and an excess of butter and margarine.
2. How a Plant-Based Diet Can Lower Blood Pressure
Kathy Reid. NZ/Flickr
Changing your diet, eliminating smoking and alcohol consumption from your lifestyle, and getting an adequate amount of exercise is a great way to lower your blood pressure. Opting for a plant-based diet may even be a great option for some as it eliminates the consumption of red meat and processed meats, which have been associated with higher blood pressure readings. It also includes fruits, vegetables, grains, nuts and seeds, and legumes that have been shown to improve vasodilation, increase antioxidant and anti-inflammatory content, improve blood viscosity, and in turn, lower blood pressure. Plant-based protein has also been seen to improve blood pressure when compared to animal-based protein.
A diet rich in nutritionally dense foods, while lower in processed foods, sodium, alcohol, and saturated fat, can work wonders at maintaining a healthy heart!
3. Foods That Naturally Lower Blood Pressure
Cooking with foods that can naturally lower your blood pressure is an excellent way to take control of your health! These foods work to help you maintain a normal reading!
- Dark Leafy Greens like kale, romaine, spinach, and arugula are rich in potassium which works to remove sodium through urination. This in turn helps lower your blood pressure!
- Berries are loaded with flavonoids, a powerful antioxidant that can help decrease rates of hypertension.
- Red Beets are especially high in nitric oxide which help to widen blood vessels while lowering blood pressure.
- Oatmeal is a great dish to eat for breakfast to promote healthy blood pressure because it is filled with fiber, is low in fat, and low in sodium.
- Bananas are also rich in potassium making them ideal at maintaining blood pressure.
- Seeds contain minerals known for lowering blood pressure like magnesium and potassium.
- Pomegranates have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that makes it an effective food to consume to decrease blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and even decrease plaque buildup in your arteries.
- Pistachio consumption can reduce blood vessel and heart rate, reducing your blood pressure.
4. Lower Your Blood Pressure With These Recipes!
Rainbow Salad/One Green Planet
Cooking dishes that can work to lower your blood pressure is an act of self love. It can also be extremely gratifying when your labor in the kitchen turns into a mouthwatering meal. Recipes like this Arugula, Kiwi, and Fennel Salad, Beautiful Berry Coconut Smoothie Bowl, Roasted Beet Noodles with Pesto and Baby Kale, Roasted Cauliflower and Coconut Overnight Porridge Pots, 4-Ingredient Pistachio Nice Cream, Power Bread with Sunflower Seeds, Flax, Sesame, and Pumpkin Seeds, or this Low-Carb Pomegranate Sweet Potato Toast from our Food Monster App are great for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels!
For more like Want to Help Lower Your Blood Pressure the Natural Way?, we recommend downloading our Food Monster App, which is available for both Android and iPhone and can also be found on Instagram and Facebook. The app has more than 10,000 plant-based, allergy-friendly recipes, and subscribers gain access to new recipes every day. Check it out!
Lead Image Source: rose cruse/Flickr