What Causes High Blood Pressure?
According to a study by Statistics Canada, 19 percent of Canadians suffer from high blood pressure—and one in five adults between the ages of 20 and 79 have high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is what happens when the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. When the force of blood pressure is high, it pushes up against blood vessel walls, which increases the risk of a heart attack and stroke.
Several things can lead to higher blood pressure including:
- Older age
- Too much salt in the diet
- Being overweight or obese
- Lack of physical activity
- Too much salt in the diet
- High alcohol consumption
Healthy Blood Pressure
Healthy blood pressure ranges below 120/80 mmHg. Blood pressure that stays at 130 systolic or higher, or 80 diastolic or higher, is a sign of high blood pressure. Although there are ways of managing it through your doctor, high blood pressure has no signs or symptoms, which can be dangerous. This is why it’s important to ensure you’re getting your blood pressure checked often, especially if you’re an adult, overweight, have diabetes, high cholesterol, have an unhealthy diet or smoke.
And, it’s just as important to ensure you’re watching what you eat, because what you consume directly impacts the health of your overall body.
The following is a list of foods that can minimize the risks associated with high blood pressure.
What Foods Lower Blood Pressure?
If you’re someone who struggles with high blood pressure, beets can help. High blood pressure is associated with heart disease—one of the leading causes of death worldwide.
Just one cup of beet juice a day can significantly lower the risks associated with cardiovascular disease, while also providing an abundance of essential vitamins and nutrients.
Research suggests that beets can lower blood pressure up to 4-10 mmHg in just a few hours, and this is all thanks to the number of nitrates found in beets.
When you consume beets, the nitrates in them convert into nitric oxide, which is a molecule that dilates blood vessels and causes pressure to drop.
Add beets to your salads, smoothies and juices to help maintain and lower blood pressure.
Now that the warmer weather is approaching, it’s the perfect time to start adding watermelon into your diet.
Not only is this sweet, refreshing fruit delicious and thirst-quenching, but it can also support with managing high blood pressure thanks to an amino acid called citrulline.
In the body, citrulline produces nitric oxide, which is a gas that helps relax blood vessels and promotes flexibility in arteries.
Because of this, eating watermelon can help aid with blood flow, which in turn lowers high blood pressure and hypertension.
Watermelon is also found to reduce the build-up of plaque in the arteries, which leads to better heart health. Don’t be afraid to indulge in watermelon this summer!
A diet rich in cocoa can reduce blood pressure in people who struggle with hypertension. In fact, eating a 1-ounce piece of chocolate that contains a minimum of 70 percent cocoa per day can even lower the risk of heart disease.
The polyphenols in dark chocolate are also associated with nitric oxide, which we know by now can widen blood vessels and ease blood flow.
Not only does this result in lower blood pressure, but dark chocolate also contains vital nutrients like calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Dark chocolate can improve the functioning of blood vessels, reduce insulin resistance, and reduce the bad cholesterol and increase the good.
Next time you’re craving something sweet, reach for a piece of good quality dark chocolate—you’ll be doing your health a huge favor.
Flaxseed is known for being one of the healthiest superfoods on the planet. Some evidence shows that flaxseeds may reduce the risk of heart disease, cancer, stroke and diabetes when consumed on a regular basis.
Additionally, studies show that flaxseeds can reduce a person’s blood pressure thanks to four important compounds found in them: alpha-linolenic acid, lignans, peptides, and fiber.
These compounds have anti-inflammatory effects, which help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Flaxseeds are known for containing high levels of omega-3 fatty acids which help maintain heart health, stabilize cholesterol levels and improve blood sugar. Flaxseeds are a great addition to morning cereal, smoothies, baking, and salads!
Olive oil has a ton of proven health benefits. Not only is it rich in healthy monosaturated fats and contains large amounts of antioxidants, but its strong anti-inflammatory properties can help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, may help prevent strokes, and minimize the risk of neurological diseases.
On top of all this, olive oil is linked with low blood pressure. The polyphenols in olive oil are antioxidants that can help prevent the harmful form of cholesterol building up in the body, which reduces the amount of plaque around arteries and increases the flow of blood. Don’t be shy to add olive oil to more of your dishes!
Can Low Protein Cause High Blood Pressure?
In some epidemiological studies, an increased intake of protein has been associated with lower blood pressure and an attenuated increase in blood pressure over time. These studies also suggest that the beneficial effects of increased protein intake result from increased consumption of protein from the plant rather than animal sources.
High-protein diets lower your blood pressure by reducing insulin levels in your body. High insulin levels increase sodium retention, which over time leads to an increase in blood pressure.
Some evidence indicates that high-protein diets might reduce your risk for cardiovascular disease by lowering blood pressure.
However, as with anything in life, it is all about balance so for further reading check out this study on diseases from high protein intake.
Let Nagi take care of your daily protein needs and try our delicious healthy snack bars & balls.
And remember, the first step to health prevention is education!
At Nagi, we love sharing stories and health tips for those who are passionate about living a healthy lifestyle.