It is no fib that we live in a time and country that induce High Blood Pressure. Ergo, if you approach the hypertension stage — blood pressure in excess of 140/80 — your doctor will probably start talking to you about prescription medications. There are several types, and often it’s a trial-and-error process to find one that works without triggering side effects that may include fatigue, breathing problems, heart palpitations, constipation, insomnia, joint pain, and erectile dysfunction, to name a few.
But there is a lot you can do to stop the sneaking hazard of hypertension in its tracks before popping pills.
First, try a lifestyle intervention, get some exercise, learn relaxation techniques, and eat right. Nutrition plays a major role. Limit sugars, refined carbohydrates, and saturated fat while going heavy on fruits, veggies, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Studies have shown that the following six foods can naturally lower blood pressure:
Tart cherry juice: British researchers believe the phenolic acids in the cherries are key in improving vascular flexibility and function. They found that hypertension sufferers who drank just two ounces of this bright red superfood a day averaged a 7 percent drop in blood pressure in a placebo-controlled study.
Walnuts: Replacing snack foods with walnuts helps knock three points off the resting blood pressure of participants in a study at Penn State University. In another trial, adults who ate a half-cup of walnuts a day for four months also saw their blood pressure drop. The benefits are likely due to walnuts being rich in omega-3 fatty acids and magnesium, two nutrients that bolster blood vessel health.
Beet juice: Beets are rich in nitrate, which your body turns into nitric oxide, a gas that relaxes the smooth muscles in blood vessels and also acts as a natural blood thinner. In a study published in the journal Hypertension, the systolic pressure of subjects who drank about a cup of beet juice a day fell eight points.
Flaxseed: it induces one of the most potent antihypertensive effects achieved by dietary intervention. In a six-month placebo-controlled study, systolic blood pressure dropped 10 points in people who ate a quarter-cup of ground flaxseed every day. Diastolic pressure went down by seven points.
Yogurt: Recent research shows that lowering blood pressure is just one of many health benefits of optimizing gut flora with the probiotics found in fermented food like yogurt. Eating good-quality yogurt has two proven hypertension busters – calcium and probiotics. A calcium deficiency can contribute to high blood pressure, and a serving of yogurt has about one-third of the recommended daily allowance. Just be sure to get yogurt that is low in sugar and fat and contains “live and active cultures” of good gut bacteria.
Dark chocolate: The key lies in eating just one square a day. And it should be a type of chocolate that contains more than 50 percent cocoa. Apparently, the flavonoids in the sweet stuff dilate blood vessels.
Moreover, you can also augment your diet with supplements. Studies show that coenzyme Q10, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium and the amino acid acetyl-L-carnitine can all help to you to keep your blood pressure under control.
Still, that may not work for everybody.
The bottom line is if you’ve tried lifestyle interventions and your blood pressure is still consistently higher than 140 over 90, then you need to be on medication. Hypertension, the “silent killer” as stealth as it is deadly is a major cardiovascular risk factor, not only for heart attack but especially for stroke.