Blood pressure is a measurement of the force of blood pressing against the walls of the arteries. Blood pressure levels are measured with the use of a blood pressure cuff which measures levels in millimeters and records them with two numbers. The highest number refers to the systolic blood pressure level. This refers to the level which occurs when the heart is pumping blood. The diastolic blood pressure level refers to the lower number which represents the pressure on the artery walls between beats.
High blood Pressure occurs when the blood traveling through the blood vessels pushes too hard against the walls of the arteries. When the pressure is too high it is referred to as high blood pressure or hypertension. A normal blood pressure level is consider to be 120/80. High blood pressure greatly increases the risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke. In fact high blood pressure is the greatest risk factor for stroke.
There are many lifestyle changes one can make to reduce their risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. This includes avoiding negative behaviors such as smoking. It also includes making exercise a priority in your life. However, the foods you eat everyday have a tremendous impact of your health including playing a role in whether you get high blood pressure. It is important to choose foods rich in vitamins and nutrients which promote health. Foods which promote heart health are also good for high blood pressure.
Hippocrates is known as the father of medicine, 431 B.C. He was a Greek physician who spoke these famous words “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.” This statement is as true today as it was when it was first made.
Food rich in niacin are excellent to reduce high blood pressure. Niacin is vitamin B-3 which is very important in maintaining healthy cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels. It causes a relaxing effect on blood vessels which reduces blood pressure levels. Those people who suffer with high blood pressure have a greatly increased risk of death due to a heart attack or stroke. Foods rich in niacin include meats such as chicken, beef, lamb and fish. It is found in vegetables such as squash, beans, and peas. It is found in fruits such as melons, avocados and bananas.
Potassium also helps to prevent and control high blood pressure. Potassium is a crucial mineral which plays an active role in blood pressure health. Potassium enables the body to maintain a healthy blood pressure balance in the body. Potassium rich foods are excellent to reduce blood pressure levels and maintain healthy blood pressure levels in the body. Many of the foods that are rich in niacin are also rich in potassium. Rich sources of potassium include sweet potatoes, white potatoes, mushrooms, peas, tomatoes and tomato sauce.
Beans are an excellent choice for maintaining healthy blood pressure levels. Choose from a variety of beans such as lima beans, kidney beans, pinto beans, great northern beans and others. Beans provide many nutrients including kidney beans, folate, magnesium, iron, vitamins, manganese, protein and other nutrients. Beans are inexpensive and can be prepared in many delicious ways.
Green leafy vegetables are powerhouse vegetables. They are a rich source of potassium as well as a rich source of niacin including vitamins, minerals, beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin and flavonoids which provide excellent health benefits. Eat them fresh in salads or lightly steamed to retain the most nutrients.
Cruciferous vegetables are members of the Brassica family. They are some of the most valuable health promoting foods available and are known to reduce blood pressure levels. Cruciferous vegetables contain sulfides which help reduce blood pressure and the formation of blood clots.
Cruiferous vegetables are also rich in vitamins and minerals. Cruciferous vegetables include foods such as broccoli and broccoli sprouts, cabbage, arugula, kale, cauliflower, bok choy and horseradish.
Fish such as salmon, tuna, halibut and others are very beneficial for their rich content of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids are very beneficial for heart health and lowering blood pressure. There are many healthy, delicious ways to enjoy healthy fish meals.
Fruits are excellent sources of potassium, vitamins and minerals. This includes both fresh fruits such as bananas, avocados and kiwi fruit. It also includes dried fruits such as prunes,raisins and dates. Melons include cantaloupe, watermelon and honeydew melon. This includes citrus fruits such as oranges, lemons and grapefruits. Please check with your healthcare provider if you are taking a cholesterol lowering drug as this can interfere with grapefruit.
Berries such as hawthorne berries, blueberries, blackberries, raspberries and strawberries also contain anthocyanin which is a powerful antioxidant which may help open blood vessels. It also provides the color of the various berries. Berries have been shown to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure.
There are so many wonderful foods to choose from that there is no reason to be concerned about boredom. It is important to choose a variety of healthy foods because foods contain different nutrients and provide different benefits to the body. Therefore, an assortment of healthy foods will provide the best overall benefits.
Please check with your physician prior to adding new foods to your diet as some are known to interfere with prescription medications.