Yes, the medications do likely work. However, sooner or later we need to change our mindsets and start living healthier. That is probably one of the hardest decisions people need to make. High blood pressure can lead to many more health issues, such as a stroke, blood clots, diabetes and possibly a heart attack, or worse, it can lead to a fatality.
We still have lives to live, grandkids to play with, friends to talk to, a bucket list to complete and a whole other world of possibilities that make for a fun life.
So how about you and I start working on a healthier lifestyle together? Doing it alone is impossible, find a friend, a co-worker, a family member, anyone who can take this journey with you. Let’s start out by looking at some foods that can help lower blood pressure, and maybe we can find a really great snack that we can eat so we do not feel like we are missing out.
Sugar is something most of us believe that we need. If that is a fact, then you should know that one orange does actually have more sugar in it than a chocolate candy bar. The difference is that the orange also has Vitamin C and fiber, as well as protein. The snack size chocolate bar is not very filling, which many times is what we are after. We look for something quick to fill us up until mealtime.
Another fact, you could make a Chef’s Salad the night before and take it to work the next day, or you could run to the fast food joint down the street. Is there a difference? To begin, that Big Mac meal has loads of fats in it. The burger, the fries and even the soda. When you eat this meal you will feel sluggish, tired and be hungry long before your next meal.
If you eat a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, radishes, carrots, chicken and some shredded cheese, you have very little fats in this. That fat will come from the cheese, and even that is not much. The amount of lettuce and mixed greens you could have is three times the size of that BiG Mac meal. Plus you will have all the flavor from the vegetables, lettuce, other greens and the meat you put in.
Now the question is…are you eating to fill up or are you eating something that is quick and not as filling? Do you want a little food or a lot? Yes, that may sound odd, but the truth is just that! In terms of calories, the Big Mac, french fries and a soda will give you 1100 calories. The Chef Salad will give you 368 calories.
When it comes to portions and the amount you can eat, you can eat healthier with many more items, plus add in fruit for a dessert and still have less calories than the Big Mac Meal. Now, do not begin to believe that the salads that you buy at a fast food joint are healthy, they tend to have more calories than the burger meal.
Foods That WILL Help
There are loads of foods that are far more beneficial to helping you become healthy than those quick grab snacks. It just takes a little planning ahead and you will succeed in lowering your blood pressure. At night, before you turn in for the night, grab a couple of sandwich bags and add grapes in one, oranges or apple in one, or any fruits that you like.
Same for a meal, Grab the large ziploc sandwich bag and toss in some kale, iceberg lettuce, maybe a little spinach. Add in some cherry tomatoes, sliced cucumbers, diced chicken, and some shredded cheese. Close the bag, put the bags together and ask yourself how you can even eat that much.
- Blueberries and Strawberries – These contain some important antioxidants called ‘anthocyanins’. These anthocyanins are known to lower blood pressure by 8% in most people. They are sweet, make a great treat and can also be added to oatmeal, salads and other vegetables.
- Bananas and other Potassium rich foods – Other foods such as Avocado, Cantaloupe or honeydew melon, halibut, tuna, beans, mushrooms and tomatoes also have loads of potassium in them. Potassium is a mineral that plays a big role in helping to maintain blood pressure.
- Beet Juice – Scientists have found that drinking about one cup of red beet juice a day will make a noticeable improvement within 24 hours. Beets have high levels of inorganic nitrates which are known to help blood pressure.
- Dark Chocolate – Yes!!! It has been shown that 1 ounce of any cocoa rich chocolate is good. However, you do want a dark chocolate that is at least 70% cocoa. Milk chocolate does not have enough cocoa in it to qualify. However, this will give you the sweet you are craving.
- Oats – Oats can be found in many breads, and obviously the hot cereal. Oats can be used as a breading or as a filler when making burgers. Beta-glucan is found in oats and this in turn may help lower blood pressure.
- Green Leaf Vegetables – There are so many types of leafy green vegetables that taste so good, there are likely even many recipes for the greens that you have never thought of. Greens can be sautéed and added to soups, stews or curries. You could fry up cabbage in a little olive oil and add some kale. Use a variety of leafy greens in your salads to get a full array of flavors. There are tons of nitrates within the green and leafy vegetables which can help to lower blood pressure levels.
- Fermented foods such as yogurt, apple cider vinegar, kimchi, or kombucha. These all hold probiotic bacteria which is great for the digestive system. When you aren’t holding all that in, your body has a better chance at health, and so does your blood pressure.
- Cinnamon and Garlic both work in mysterious ways. One, yes will keep the vampires away. Garlic is a natural antifungal and natural antibiotic. Who would have thought garlic was an antibiotic? Cinnamon can help lower the systolic pressure for the short term. Even short term is a beginning.
- Pistachios are known to help lower blood pressure in times of stress. The compounds within pistachios are known to loosen up the blood vessels which allows your blood to flow a little more freely.
I am sure that you have heard the word diet over and over again when it comes to your blood pressure. Set your mind on a different thought path. It is not a diet, it is a way that you will be able to eat larger amounts of food that will keep you fuller for a longer period of time.
Keep a variety of fruits handy so you can grab and go. The fruit has a natural sugars to it so it gives that sweetness your body craves. Mix the fruit with oatmeal or yogurt, throw some strawberries into a salad and enjoy the way your taste buds jump with the mix of flavors.
Another huge piece of advice is to purchase lean meat, eat more poultry and fish. Once in a while it is okay to have red meat, just do not overdo it.
Your grill does not have to hide in storage throughout the winter. Use it year round, it is a healthier alternative to frying. When you fry, drain the excess fats off the meat. All the meats, not just red meats. Choose to roast your meats, use a small rack to keep the meat out of the fats that drip off.
Meal prep is a key to being healthier. There is much you can prepare ahead of time. Such as fruits into ziploc bags, Salads can be prepped the night before. Boil some eggs as they also work as great snacks. Do not eat too many eggs, stick to the recommended serving per day.
Breads and pastas are a sticky topic. Did you know that lettuce or cheese can substitute for bread in a sandwich? Even tortillas would be better when you are trying to maintain a lower blood pressure.
This is not to say that you can never have fast foods again, it is just not going to help lower your blood pressure numbers. Besides, once you try making foods in different ways, you will surprise yourself and not even crave those fats. When you do eat them, your body may want to retaliate with you.