Sunday, July 15, 2012

Beets & Other Foods That Can Naturally Lower Blood Pressure

Re-blogged with permission. Original post can be found here.

Beets & Other Foods That Can Naturally Lower Blood Pressure
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A month back I went for my yearly check up and found I had the joined the ranks of the “chosen”!!! I have high Blood pressure. !! This was quite a surprise! The fact that I eat healthy for the most part, watch my sodium intake and consider myself a reasonably calm person made it difficult to comprehend why I would get high blood pressure. My strong family history, some additional stress I had over the last few months and the fact that age is creeping up on me probably had something to do with it. Anyway, since I am not a big fan of meds I checked with my doctor if I could take some natural supplements instead. After giving me a slightly dubious look and asking me exactly what I intended to take the doctor agreed, provided I monitor my BP and check back in a month. I tried some natural remedies and so far so good, am doing just great. I do not recommend that you stops meds and take natural food supplements without your doctor’s permission. You can however take them and monitor your BP and see if it helps you. Then check with your doctor and see if you can cut back on meds . Either way, natural foods are harmless and adding them to your diet will give you additional benefits as well. Even two or three of these foods on a regular basis will help. Importantly eat low sodium. To read my post on “Tips to cut back on Salt in your Diet” click here.

Natural Foods and Supplements to Lower Blood pressure :
Beet and Beet juice – blood purifier. Increases RBC (increases production of glutathione [detoxifying agent]) Lowers Blood pressure. Recommendations: 4-6 oz. per day ( juice of 1 – 2 Beets). Beet juice is sold in health food stores, but if you have a juicer just make your own fresh beet juice. Tastes great and cheaper too. You can eat the beets too. At least 2 to give you the equivalent of 6 oz juice. Check out my roasted beet salad for a boost of natural beet power !
Pomegranate Juice : There is some preliminary evidence that drinking pomegranate juice every day may help lower systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) but not diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) It’s a great antioxidant so drink up. 4 oz / day is all you need.
Potassium rich foods : Potassium counteracts the effects of Sodium on BP. Good food sources are leafy green vegetables, celery, tomatoes, prunes, bananas, peaches, apricot, mango ,cantaloupe, honeydew, sweet potatoes, carrots, potato, fish, legumes, nuts and soy beans. Load up on these foods. Have a good potassium source at every meal to keep BP in check.
Garlic and Onion : Garlic’s powerful key ingredient – ‘allicin’ and ant-inflammatory properties helps lower blood pressure and inhibits bloods clots from forming thus decreasing the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The health properties in onions are equally beneficial in increasing and lowering bad and good cholesterol and lowering BP. Raw (uncooked) onion and garlic contain the most powerful medicinal properties. Some of the healing properties are destroyed in the cooking process, so try to eat them raw and include them into your daily diet in as close to their natural form as possible. A good way to eat raw garlic is to add it to dips like humus etc. Raw onion can be used in salads. When mixed with other salad vegetables, they lose some of their pungent taste. Red onion mixed with strawberries and arugula make a great salad.
Celery : Celery contains high levels of potassium and active compounds called phthalides, which have been found to lower blood pressure and promote a healthy circulatory system. Celery should be eaten raw to get the maximum benefits. Eat celery with dips. I have freshly juiced celery juice mixed with a little apple juice or tomato juice an hour before bedtime. Apart from its ability to lower hypertension, it’s also a great diuretic and helps insomnia. This has been my secret weapon against high BP :)
Omega 3 Foods : Not quite sure how this supplement helps to lower hypertension, but that it does has been established. I take an omega 3 supplement and eat food sources. Good sources are : Walnuts, flaxseed, canola oil are good sources. Fatty fish such as trout, salmon and mackerel are good too. Omega-3 fatty acid intake has also been linked to better brain development and a lower risk of cancer and heart disease.
There are a whole lot of foods that are believed to help with hypertension. The ones listed above have been tried and tested by yours truly :) These foods are beneficial to lower high cholesterol as well! So get a double whammy of health by including these liberally in your diet. Even if you’re not hypertensive you will benefit from including these foods in your diet. Most importantly ” Lower your Stress ” and you will give your Blood Pressure the best break you can :)

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I started my "working life" as a holistic and allopathic nutritional consultant with a love of cooking. Teaching the value of wholesome meal choices to families became close to my heart after I battled a long history of struggles with weight and health, and the passion for teaching led me into where I am now. My blog, which focuses on "bringing good taste to healthier food" through creative use of whole grains, fresh produce and acknowledging the importance of the occasional treat, also features a wealth of "specialty diet" friendly recipes for gluten-, egg-, dairy- and sugar- tree nut-free items that everyone can enjoy without alienating those who need them.

Overall, I want to bring back the desire for good quality, homemade, (mostly) healthy food into the hearts and kitchens of families so that the next generation will be less box-reliant than mine. I firmly believe that any “homemade” food, even when labelled as "naughty", is a more wholesome treat than pre-packaged, cookie-cutter junk. With the knowledge of good food (and how to cook good food) as a base, a healthy lifestyle can follow, and then anything is possible!

Today, my love for teaching is branching out even further - I'm in Montessori training to solidify my love for the system and working with children and families!