Pressure within our veins and arteries occurs as a result of our heart’s pumping movements. Whenever our circulatory system experiences high blood pressure, it can essentially increase the heart’s workload, and that can lead to a variety of detrimental changes within the body that can cause a wide variety of conditions.
Stroke in particular is the third leading cause of death within the United States, with more than 140,000 people dying each year. An additional 795,000 people suffer from a stroke attack. And while many people associate this condition with the elderly, strokes can occur at any age, particularly among people who have high blood pressure.
Fortunately, when it comes to lowering blood pressure, there are a few natural foods available that can help. Here are 10 different foods that you can include within your diet, that can lower your blood pressure and minimize your risk a stroke.
One of the devastating effects of high blood pressure is that, over time, this increase in pressure can cause the arteries’ to stretch out and become narrowed. Narrowed arteries, called atherosclerosis, are more susceptible to being damaged in comparison to healthy arteries. They also have a tendency to trap cholesterol and plaque. This accumulation of trapped plaque and cholesterol can eventually lead to a complete blockage within the arteries and subsequently cause blood clots, which as an end result may cause strokes. Research has shown that the consumption of garlic, can reduce blood pressure by as much as 10%. This is due to the fact that it contains allicin, which essentially causes the blood vessels to relax, particularly useful if they have become narrowed and stretched out.
Foods that contain allicin fall under the class of allium plants. Like garlic, onions too fall under the category of the allium class of plants as well and is rich in allicin.
Another way to lower blood pressure levels is by consuming magnesium. During a recent study that consisted of 155 individuals, half of the group were given a daily supplemental dosage of magnesium, while the other half was given a placebo. By the end of the 12 week study, the researchers proclaimed that there was a significant decrease in blood pressure within the group that were given magnesium oxide. Potatoes in particular, are rich in potassium and magnesium, both of which can help to lower your blood pressure.
Kale is categorized as being one of the most nutrient dense foods on earth. Besides the fact that it is rich in 7 of the 13 essential vitamins that the body needs on a daily basis, it is rich in magnesium as well.
According to the 2010 edition of the Dietary Guidelines of Americans, people who suffer from high blood pressure may especially benefit from increasing their potassium intake. Bananas in particular are categorized as being one of the most potassium dense foods on earth.
6. Skim Milk
A glass of skim milk can provide your body with a high concentration of vitamin D and calcium. Both of these vitamins work in sync to help reduce blood pressure by as much as 10%. This in turn can reduce your risk for stroke by as much as 15%.
As mentioned, potassium and magnesium can help to lower blood pressure. Spinach is a low calorie plant, high in fiber and rich in potassium, magnesium and folate. It’s also worth noting that by losing weight, you can lower your blood pressure. Spinach is rich in fiber, which can help to keep you full for longer.
8. Sunflower Seeds
Did you know that the typical 1.8oz bag of chips, contains over 800 mg of sodium ? While this may not seem like much, many health nutritionists have warned that we shouldn’t consume more that 1500 -2300 mg of sodium per day. Worse yet, sodium has been scientifically proven to raise blood pressure levels. Unfortunately, many snacks such as potato chips have a high sodium content. A great alternative that can lower your blood pressure levels are unsalted sunflower seeds. Not only are they low in calories, they are rich in magnesium as well.
A study that was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), proclaimed that when individuals consumed just one tiny square of chocolate for a period of 18 weeks, they were able to drastically lower their blood pressure levels.
Beans of all varieties can help to lower blood pressure levels. They are naturally rich in fiber, which can help you to lose weight, and they are naturally rich in potassium and magnesium as well.