Blood pressure is the physical force exerted by your blood upon the walls of your arteries. While it is normal for our blood pressure to fluctuate here and there, a consistently high blood pressure - also known as hypertension - can have detrimental effects on a person's heart, blood vessels, and overall health.
According to the Center For Disease Control and Prevention, about 75 million adults in the United States have high blood pressure, and only about half of those people have control of their condition. High blood pressure increases a person's risk of having a heart attack, stroke, chronic heart failure, and kidney disease. In fact, about 7 out of 10 people who experience their first attack are those with high blood pressure.
It should be obvious that hypertension is not an issue to be taken lightly, as the heart and cardiovascular system may be permanently damaged if the problem is not addressed. While consulting with your physician is always the best option when it comes to health problems, there are also a few ways you can work to improve your condition yourself - One of the easiest ways is by changing your diet to include foods that work to naturally bring down hypertension! So, let's get started!
Celery is generally underrated by most. It's easy to think that this veggie offers no nutritional value, as it's composed mostly of water, and weight-loss gurus claim it contains negative calories (this has widely been deemed as false by nutritionists, as a single stalk of celery contains roughly 6 calories and our bodies only expend about 1 calorie to digest it).
Celery contains a natural plant chemical called phthalide which may help to reduce blood pressure. Phthalide works to relax the muscles that surround the blood vessels, thus taking external pressure off of the vessels and allowing them to dilate. The result? Better and easier blood flow.
Preparing a large glass of celery juice each morning is an easy way to get your phthalide fix in, as drinking is a quicker method than munching a bunch of celery in one sitting!
One cup of almonds or cashews contains up to 360 mg of magnesium, which is vital to healthy blood pressure. In fact, high blood pressure is often accompanied by a deficiency in magnesium, and studies have shown that taking a magnesium supplement can lower blood pressure very effectively.
Richly-colored green veggies like spinach and kale are high in not only magnesium, but also potassium and folate - both of which lower high blood pressure and help in maintaining healthy blood pressure. Folate helps to relax blood vessels, allowing blood to pass through easier, while potassium works to help the kidneys balance sodium levels so that blood pressure does not rise.
Beets are rich in both potassium and folate, so they can work wonderfully for regulating blood pressure! They also contain nitrate, which turns into nitrites once our body ingests and digests them. Nitrites help to reduce constriction of smooth muscle tissue, lessening the pressure placed on arteries and improving blood flow. Additionally, beets can combat the effects of homocysteine, which causes damage to our blood vessels.
Pomegranates have strong antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that may help to lower blood pressure. They also act as an ACE inhibitor, meaning they contain specific chemicals that work to decrease the activity of an enzyme known as angiotensin. By inhibiting this enzyme, blood vessels can begin to open up, and less pressure is placed on the walls of the arteries.