It’s pretty scary when you first find out that your blood pressure and cholesterol are rising. Below are 17 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure on a Plant-Based Diet.
17 Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure on a Plant-Based Diet
- Reduce your saturated fats and eliminate trans fats. Having a diet rich in saturated fats can raise your LDL (bad) Cholesterol. When your LDL Cholesterol is high, it can prompt blockages to form in the arteries of your heart, and in other places of your body. Trans fats raise your LDL Cholesterol levels and lower your HDL (good) Cholesterol levels. In this Harvard study, most nutrition experts recommend limiting saturated fat to under 10% of calories a day to lower your blood pressure.
- Eat foods rich in omega-3. In this case, you will be eating plant-based foods rich in ALA (alpha-linolenic acid). ALA is an Omega-3 fatty acid that will help support your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and reduce inflammation.
- Track your sodium intake. If you notice you’re eating sodium with every meal — reduce your sodium, but don’t remove it completely. Too much salt can raise your blood pressure, but too little salt can raise your cholesterol.
- Drink more water, cut back on caffeine, and drink less alcohol. Consuming alcohol regularly will increase your LDL Cholesterol, and lower your HDL Cholesterol. Caffeine can cause a short-term spike in your blood pressure.
- Manage your stress. Stress not only increases your LDL Cholesterol but also increases inflammation in your body. When you are under stress, your body puts you into a fight or flight response. This response releases cholesterol which is meant to provide the body with a burst of energy and repair your damaged cells. When you do not use your fight or flight response, your cholesterol is stored as fat tissue. Too much-stored cholesterol can lead to clogged arteries, heart attack, and stroke.
- Exercise and weight. It’s very important to exercise and maintain a good weight because it can lower your blood pressure and help your heart become stronger. Exercising regularly can also give you more energy and ease your stress. You do not need to get a gym membership to exercise regularly. You just need to make sure that you’re breathing harder and making your heart beat a little faster. Eating the right foods but still gaining weight?
- Go for moderate activity such as brisk walking for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. If you don’t have time – do a vigorous activity like jogging. This gives you the same benefit in 20 minutes if you do it 3 to 4 days a week. If you’re not active, slowly work up to this amount of exercise. It’s okay if it takes you a few weeks to get there. Before exercising, make sure you do a warm-up. 5- to 10-minute warm-ups help your body get moving and help prevent you from getting an injury.
- If you smoke, it’s best to reduce it or stop it completely. Smoking immediately temporarily raises your blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco damage the lining in your artery walls by increasing the buildup of plaque and causing your arteries to narrow which increases your blood pressure. This raises your LDL and lowers your HDL.
Do you know about Cronometer? It’s a free app that allows you to log your meals and track all your macro and micronutrients in order to cut your weight in half. Health professionals can also use CronometerPRO to help their clients track and manage their diets which is awesome if you’re working with a nutritionist or dietitian.
Foods That Help Lower Your Blood Pressure
- Leafy greens, which are rich in calcium and high in potassium, such as Romain lettuce, Arugula, Kale, Spinach, Turnip greens, Collard greens, Beet greens, and Swiss greens.
- Fruit that is rich in flavonoids such as Blueberries, Raspberries, and Strawberries. You also want to eat fruit rich in potassium, like Bananas, Melons, Avocados, Oranges, and Apricots.
- Vegetables such as Garlic and Beets are high in nitric oxide, which helps open your blood vessels and lower your blood pressure. Vegetables high in fiber also help lower your LDL levels. Vegetables high in fiber include Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, Artichokes, Carrots, and Sweet potatoes.
- Spices such as Turmeric, Ginger, Cayenne, and Pepper.
- Grains low in fat and sodium such as Oatmeal and grains high in fiber such as Quinoa, Barley, and Bulgur.
- Seeds such as Sunflower, Squash, and Pumpkin seeds are high in potassium and magnesium which are known to reduce your blood pressure. Chia seeds and flaxseeds are rich in Omega-3s and help lower LDL levels, and minimize the buildup of fatty plaques in your arteries.
- Beans, Peas, Chickpeas, and Lentils can reduce levels of LDL and have lots of protein, and antioxidants which are beneficial to your heart and health.
- Nut butters like Peanut butter, Almond butter, or Cashew butter are rich in fiber as well as Pistachio nuts, cashews, peanuts, walnuts, brazil nuts, almonds, and pinion nuts.
- Dark Chocolate & Cocoa – small amounts of dark chocolate and cocoa are rich in flavonoids that help relax blood vessels and lower blood pressure.
You might also like this post: Highest Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Plant-Based Foods
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