Did you know that stroke and
coronary heart disease still remain to be on the list of the top
three main causes of death in the USA? It's time to take your
health seriously so you don't fall victim to these!
What is High Blood Pressure and how does this come into
According to the National Institute for Health, blood pressure
levels of 140/90 mmHg or more can be classified as
The worst part about having high blood pressure is that the
condition can sometimes be present without any symptoms and before
we know it, the damage is already extensive. Serious problems that
have been associated with high blood pressure include kidney
failure, heart attack, heart failure and stroke.
What are the Risk Factors Associated with High Blood
Blood pressure can be influenced by a lot of factors – age, race,
family history, tobacco use, sedentary lifestyle, diet, binge
drinking, and stress levels. Chronic conditions such as sleep apnea,
diabetes and high cholesterol levels can also precipitate the
development of hypertension.
What can You Do to Lower
You don't need potentially dangerous drugs to control and reduce
your blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure levels could be as
simple as doing lifestyle modifications and eating healthier.
If you are a smoker, quit. If you drink heavily, try to practice
self-control. At work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. And
if you have been obsessed with sweet, sugary foods as well
as processed fast-food meals, then modify your eating habits as
well. Learn to eat the right kinds of food before it's too late.
Below are 5 of my top picks for powerful foods that could
help you lower your blood pressure levels:
The use of artichokes has been implicated in the lowering of
cholesterol levels in the blood. Since hypercholesterolemia is one
of the risk factors for high blood pressure, this information is
actually good news. Three clinical trials conducted separately by
Dr. Barbara Wider supports this fact. In Cochrane Database of
Systemic Reviews’ October 2009 issue, where the result of the study
was published, it was shown that patients who were diagnosed with
hypercholesterolemia and given Artichoke leaf extract exhibited a
decrease in their blood cholesterol levels.
Artichokes taste amazing steamed (generally steam for about 1
hour) and then dip each piece into a mixture of olive oil, grass-fed
butter, and garlic. Delicious!
A study published in The New England Journal of Medicine says
that incorporating bananas in your day-to-day meals can actually cut
stroke-related deaths by as much as 40 percent. A 1997 study at
Johns Hopkins University recommended eating at least five bananas
daily to achieve the desired effect, and that is to lower elevated
blood pressure levels. However, a study conducted by Indian
researchers at the Kasturba medical college revealed that people who
eat two bananas a day, for one whole week, can lower their blood
pressure levels by 10 percent.
Bananas are rich in potassium, which is responsible for the
proper functioning of the heart. It works with sodium to maintain
balance of the body’s fluids, which is an important factor in the
regulation of blood pressure.
A research study conducted by scientists from Barts and The
London School Medicine revealed that simply drinking one 500 ml
glass of beetroot juice each day can produce astounding health
benefits, especially to the heart.
Beetroot juice has been found to lower high blood pressure
levels. Professors Amrita Ahluwalia and Ben Benjamin, from the
William Harvey Research Institute and Peninsula Medical Center,
respectively, led the research efforts, which revealed that the
consumption of dietary nitrate that is found in beetroot has
BP-lowering effects in as fast as 1 hour after ingestion, with the
effect lasting for up to 24 hours. The result of the study was
published in the March 2008 issue of Hypertension.
You can try beetroot juice, or also try baked beets sliced on
salads or as a side dish to dinner.
A study conducted by researchers from Germany’s University
Hospital of Cologne revealed that cocoa can significantly lower high
blood pressure levels. Study results were published in the Archives
of Internal Medicine. The beneficial heart effects of cocoa are
attributed to its flavonoid content, specifically procyanids.
Because cocoa is most commonly found in chocolate, people falsely
assume that eating a lot of chocolate could be good for the health.
Keep in mind that cocoa in chocolates have undergone a lot of
processing, and it has been mixed with loads of sugar, so this is
not totally healthy. The best way to take advantage of the health
benefits offered by cocoa is to choose raw cacao – it is good for
the heart, the brain and the liver. Raw cacao nibs go great in
smoothies! Also use organic cocoa powder in smoothies or homemade
hot cocoa sweetened with stevia instead of sugar.
Researchers from South Australia’s University of Adelaide have
conducted studies, which provide solid proof that the consumption of
garlic can indeed help lower elevated blood pressure levels. Garlic
supplements in powder form were given and results revealed that it
produced a reduction in systolic blood pressure. Garlic has been
known all over the world as a very important herb, especially with
its heart-protecting capabilities. It helps lower blood cholesterol
levels and prevents blood from forming clots (which could lead to
heart attack and stroke).
Furthermore, the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
journal has published the results of a laboratory test showing how
garlic juice can lead to a decrease in blood pressure levels. Eating
the equivalent of 2 cloves of garlic each day can significantly
contribute to the health of the heart.