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. 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?
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 heartbeats. 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 with the 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
Changing your diet, eliminating smoking and alcohol consumption from your lifestyle, and getting an adequate amount of exercise are great ways to lower your blood pressure. Opting for a plant-based diet is a great option 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 and 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 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 helps 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 is low in sodium.
- Bananas are also rich in potassium, making them ideal for maintaining blood pressure.
- Seeds contain minerals known for lowering blood pressure, like magnesium and potassium.
- Pomegranates have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant qualities that make them an effective food to consume to decrease blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and even decrease plaque buildup in your arteries.
- Pistachio consumption can reduce blood vessels 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!
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Learn How to Cook Plant-Based Meals at Home!
Reducing your meat intake and eating more plant-based foods is known to help with chronic inflammation, heart health, mental wellbeing, fitness goals, nutritional needs, allergies, gut health, and more! Dairy consumption also has been linked to many health problems, including acne, hormonal imbalance, cancer, prostate cancer and has many side effects.
For those of you interested in eating more plant-based, we highly recommend downloading the Food Monster App — with over 15,000 delicious recipes it is the largest plant-based recipe resource to help reduce your environmental footprint, save animals and get healthy! And, while you are at it, we encourage you to also learn about the environmental and health benefits of a plant-based diet.
Here are some great resources to get you started:
- Weekly Vegan Meal Plans
- Plant-Based Health Resources
- Plant-Based Food & Recipes
- Plant-Based Nutrition Resources
- The Ultimate Guide to Plant-Based Nutrition
- Budget-Friendly Plant-Based Recipes
- High Protein Plant-Based Recipes
- Plant-Based Meal Prep
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