If you’ve been given the word that your blood pressure is borderline or even high, you can avoid medication, but need to clear it with your doctor. For those overweight, shedding those extra pounds has proven to be helpful in managing blood pressure. Exercise is another element of controlling your blood pressure and getting those numbers lower. You can also manage high blood pressure with fruits and veggies, but doing all three, while also restricting your salt intake, has the most dramatic effect.
You need at last five portions of fruit and vegetables a day to impact blood pressure.
How much is a portion of fruit or vegetables? A portion is about the size of a fist. If you’re considering a salad, the amount changes a bit because those leafy lettuces like to have more elbow room, so there’s more air space in between the leaves. A portion of salad is a dessert bowl full. So, if you ate a giant lettuce-only salad that was equivalent to five portions, would you have all you need to lower your blood pressure. No. While leafy vegetables have plenty of potassium to help rid your body of sodium to lower blood pressure, they don’t contain all the other healthy ingredients a good mix of vegetables does.
Mix up the colors.
Go rad with red and grab a few beets to steam. Beets contain a high amount of nitric oxide and that helps open the blood vessels, which in turn, lowers your blood pressure. Many people throw them in the blender to make their favorite smoothie, but I love mine steamed. I leave the skins on and cut back the stem to about an inch, put them in the steamer. When I take them out, I slice off the tops and literally slide away the skin, leaving a ridiculously sweet, delicious beet. Purple and blue fruits and vegetables have flavonoids that can also lower blood pressure, while giving your mouth a treat.
Get rid of the salt and sprinkle on herbs.
I’m including garlic as an herb because it’s often thought of that way. Garlic and herbs like basil, cinnamon, oregano and rosemary are a taste treat when combined with vegetables. Although you’ll probably never have a full serving of any of these, adding them to your meals won’t hurt a bit and can actually help. Garlic does it with the nitric oxide the widens the blood vessels. Other herbs work in a variety of ways. Oregano, for instance contains carvacrol that reduces heart rate and high blood pressure.
- Eating more fruits and vegetables not only provide nutrients and phytochemicals to lower high blood pressure, they also help you lose weight, which is an important way to lower it.
- Enjoy a mango. Studies show that increasing beta-carotene in your diet is an effective way to lower blood pressure and mangoes are high in beta-carotene, just as carrots and other yellow fruits and veggies are.
- Include colorful orange and red bell peppers. Their high vitamin C can help control your blood pressure and even lower it.
- Grab an apple as a snack. Apples are high in fiber, which is good to help maintain blood pressure, but they also contain quercetin, a proven anti-hypertensive compound.