For those who don’t know, each heart beat pumps blood around the body to deliver oxygen. In order to keep the blood flowing, you need pressure which pushes against your artery walls. Doctors measure blood pressure by combining the strength of the pushing as well as the resistance from the walls. When you have high blood pressure, your heart has to pump harder and harder, meaning that your arteries have to handle a greater pressure of blood flow. This puts a great strain on your circulatory system, increasing your risk of heart attack, stroke, and wide range of other issues.
High Blood Pressure
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is one of the biggest risks to our health in the modern world even though in most cases it’s preventable. Some of the biggest factors that cause high blood pressure are:
- A lack of physical activity
- Being overweight
- Regularly consuming an abundance of alcohol
- Eating too much saturated and trans fats
- Poor diet
Diet and Blood Pressure
As with most things, your diet is a huge influencer behind high blood pressure, and a simple shake-up of the things you eat can make a huge difference. This both has a direct effect on blood pressure as well as helping you to lose weight which can be a massive help if you’re overweight.
In reality, eating to lower blood pressure is actually fairly simple. All you have to do is eat natural, whole, and unprocessed foods as much as possible. These will often be the lowest in calories, salt, sugar, and trans fats. Eating to lower your blood pressure is fairly similar to simple eating to lose weight in a sustainable way. This means no fad diets, quick fixes, or extreme changes which you can only keep up for a few weeks.
How to Eat to Lower Blood Pressure
A large reason behind many of our modern health risks is that we too easily turn to convenience and pre-made foods. The issue with these is that they’re often made for cost-effectiveness opposed to health reasons and unless you scrutinize the label each time, then you’re not going to know what’s in them. Salt and sugar are added to almost everything from pasta sauces to salad dressings to yogurts. There’s truly no escaping them if you’re not savvy about your shopping. This is why making your own foods from recipes is so helpful as you know exactly what is going in, you can alter the dish based upon your palate, and you can tailor the dish based upon your goals.
Changing your body for the better requires long-term, consistent, and sustainable changes. Therefore, any recipe that you’re looking for needs to tick the following boxes for your lifestyle:
- Will you enjoy it?
- Can you afford it?
- Do you have enough time to make it?
- Can you see yourself making it again?
If the answer is yes to all of those, then you’re onto a winner. However, if the answer is no, then work out the reasons why so you can refine what you’re looking for.
- Why won’t you enjoy it?
- Can you swap the ingredients to make it more affordable or change your budget?
- Will the recipe become quicker to make as you become more practiced or can you bulk cook on the weekends?
- Could this dish be saved for an every-now and again meal?
When it comes to the ingredients themselves, the best recipes to lower your blood pressure will involve:
- A source of protein
- A source of fiber
- No trans fat
- No vegetable oils
Once again, if it ticks all four of those boxes as well, then it’ll be the perfect recipe to help drop your blood pressure. However, you can also tailor other recipes by adding ingredients or swapping them round.
- If a recipe contains no protein: try adding chicken, fish, or lentils
- If a recipe contains no fiber: cook up some vegetables on the side or see if you can sneak them in
- If a recipe adds salt: reduce it
- If a recipe contains vegetable oil: swap it for olive
Over time your repertoire of recipes will slowly expand and you’ll find yourself cooking more and more often. It can be tricky diving head first into cooking, but overtime you’ll find that it becomes easier and easier. Learning to cook is one of the best things you can do for both your blood pressure and overall health, and there’s no better time to start learning than now.
One of the other driving forces being high blood pressure is stress. Many people don’t know this but stress and sleep are the missing components of almost everyone’s healthy lifestyle. Whilst you may think that being healthy only consists of a good diet and frequent exercise, there are actually two other factors which make an almost equal impact. Therefore, it’s also important not to embark on any diet that stresses you out. If you’re having to overly restrict or limit yourself, then you’ll only become more stressed and in turn, raise your blood pressure more.
Consult healthcare professionals before starting exercise or changing eating habits.