High blood pressure diet to lower blood pressure! begin with thinking of realistic changes you can make. Add what you love and you can gradually let go of what is no longer useful for you. Eating is so tied up with emotions, you have to use compassion when you're deciding how to deal with changes so that you lessen, and don't increase, stress. Here we will deal with good cholesterol foods, how to be a vegetarian,about the 10 healthiest foods , in general about foods that lower blood pressure and books about healthy blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure Diet
a.Basically, foods that contain fibre, magnesium, potassium (but NOT sodium) and calcium can all help to lower blood pressure. When your diet is low in fibre, your body has to work extra hard to push food through the digestive tract and even getting rid of toxins and absorbing nutrients becomes more work. A sluggish digestion means you absorb more harmful cholesterol, increasing blood pressure. Fibre, on the other hand, carries this cholesterol with it through your gut. Result? Lower blood pressure. When it comes to minerals, magnesium and potassium are key in promoting healthy blood flow and a potassium-rich diet makes the body more efficient at getting rid of excess sodium. Where do you find these minerals? In common fruits, vegetables and seeds. One other very beneficial set of foods are those that contain antioxidant flavonoids, found, for instance, in dark chocolate and tea, but also in fruits and vegetables.
b. High Blood Pressure Diet - Yogic
A Yogic diet is wonderful for allowing hypertension to heal. The central focus is fruit and vegetables, traditionally with little or no cooking, but the important thing to remember with Yoga is that it is flexible. Make the changes you can, pay attention to how food makes you feel, and know when you're eating for hunger, not out of stress. Gradually, you'll be able to untangle your attachments to food and this in itself is a huge help in lowering hypertension.
High blood pressure Diet - Nuts, seeds, raw oils...
Nuts and seeds feature prominently, grains are important, and raw oils, milk, honey and herbs make up the rest of the traditional diet so any moves in this direction are going to help. Most fruits and vegetables contain high levels of bioflavonids (particularly useful are pomegranates, apples, apricots, blueberries, pears, raspberries, strawberries, black beans, cabbage, onions, parsley, pinto beans, and tomatoes). A yogic diet traditionally excludes some foods (a 'sattvic' diet is, on the whole and with discretion, free from fiery or over-stimulating foods like chillies, garlic or onion, and also from dull or decaying foods like fermented drinks (alcohol), cheese or fungi). However, use your own discretion, practice paying a little more attention to what you’re eating, how, and where, and what effect it's having on you.
The other thing about a yogic diet is that you will develop a more holistic awareness. So, for instance, if you eat blueberries every day but they are flown half way across the world, then your Yoga practice would awaken you to a certain contradiction in this. Don't judge what you've done before, but just wake up to it and, when possible, consider other options. On the other hand, even though potatoes and tomatoes are not sattvic, it might make sense to include them in your diet if a) you like them; b) you bought them locally (and particularly if they're organic!), or c) you grew them yourself. Likewise garlic and onions, while not part of a traditional diet, are so wonderful at reducing hypertension that it's a good idea to remember the old yogic adage: develop awareness of what works for you!
Most seeds and nuts (except peanuts - which are not nuts at all!) have high levels of beneficial trace minerals, including magnesium, and vitamins, including vitamin E. Almonds (which are seeds, not nuts!) are particularly good. Some yogis even roast almonds in their skins and claim that they have special benefits in 'cleaning the blood' (this may be because the vitamin E in the nuts seems to act as a natural blood thinner).
Being aware of what kind of cholesterol you're eating is a step towards changing and a yogic diet uses raw, unprocessed oils. Olive oil, sunflower oil and other seed oils are great but you might be surprised to hear that a yogic diet also includes fresh butter and ghee (clarified butter). In fact, low fact products have so often undergone complex chemical processes that unless you've been medically advised otherwise, avoidance is best. Grains, too, are much more beneficial if they haven't been processed: whole grains don't take long to readjust to, if you're used to the refined or ''white' variety. Oats deserve a special mention: lots of studies show they actually absorb toxins, certainly lower blood pressure and even seem to flush plaque off artery walls.
c. High Blood Pressure Diet - Caffeine And Blood Pressure
Caffeine, in the form of tea, coffee or chocolate, is not a part of the traditional sattvic diet in yoga but it's important to take into account your own circumstances. In some individuals, caffeine can cause a spike in blood pressure. On the other hand, wide studies have shown that moderate consumption of caffeine is mildly cardioprotective. The best way to understand this is to think that if you have a dependency on caffeine (it's mildly addictive and a dependency would involve craving, say, four or five cups of coffee or tea a day), then you need to observe what is involved and see how the observation gives you space to undo the habit, replace those drinks and deal with the withdrawal. If, on the other hand, you only drink one or two cups of caffeinated tea or coffee a day, then you are more likely to benefit. Relax and enjoy.
d. High Blood Pressure Diet - Alcohol And Blood Pressure
What is it with our relationship with alcohol? Yoga has long recognised alcohol for the toxic depressant that it is. You can't booze and practice asanas, or remain present and attentive while under the influence. And, believe me, the influence starts with the first sip. But because each human being has had a uniquely individual set of conditions to bring them to where they are, people are affected differently. That means that while, on the whole, even moderate alcohol consumption is going to increase your blood pressure (and heavy alcohol use has a seriously damaging effect on the heart: even one binge session can be fatal for some) you could be one of those who benefits from a small drink.
It's true that moderate drinking lowers blood pressure and yoga is a practice of developing balance and discernment. The real trouble with alcohol is that it is fairly strongly addictive. That means that you might start off thinking you are drinking in moderation but, unless you have no compulsive or addictive tendencies at all, that single small glass of wine soon loses some of its kick and before you know it, you need two or three to get the same buzz. Let's face it, for most of us who drink at all, it's the buzz of alcohol that is the attraction. If you have hypertension, then the last thing you need is another buzz, particularly if what you're looking for is a way of escaping from some worry or stress. Stress is a huge factor in hypertension (and if you're overweight, or overworked, or over-anxious, you're quite likely to be stressed) and adding alcohol to the mix is going to drive that spiral even deeper into rigid and inflexible patterns and habits, freezing out your capacity to self-heal. The short answer to the question, do yoga and alcohol mix is, no, but there are occasional exceptions, so be discerning for yourself and non-judgemental about others. To the question, does alcohol help reduce hypertension, the broad response should also probably be no, unless you can drink in moderation and deliberately break the habit periodically, so you don't become dependent. Here you can read more about alcohol and high blood pressure.
It's true that moderate drinking lowers blood pressure and yoga is a practice of developing balance and discernment. The real trouble with alcohol is that it is fairly strongly addictive. That means that you might start off thinking you are drinking in moderation but, unless you have no compulsive or addictive tendencies at all, that single small glass of wine soon loses some of its kick and before you know it, you need two or three to get the same buzz. Let's face it, for most of us who drink at all, it's the buzz of alcohol that is the attraction. If you have hypertension, then the last thing you need is another buzz, particularly if what you're looking for is a way of escaping from some worry or stress. Stress is a huge factor in hypertension (and if you're overweight, or overworked, or over-anxious, you're quite likely to be stressed) and adding alcohol to the mix is going to drive that spiral even deeper into rigid and inflexible patterns and habits, freezing out your capacity to self-heal.
The short answer to the question, do yoga and alcohol mix is, no, but there are occasional exceptions, so be discerning for yourself and non-judgemental about others. To the question, does alcohol help reduce hypertension, the broad response should also probably be no, unless you can drink in moderation and deliberately break the habit periodically, so you don't become dependent. Here you can read more about alcohol and high blood pressure.
But I'll end with this thought: judgements, guilt and blame all increase stress. If we allow ourselves to watch what's going on, even with something as emotive as alcohol (or other drugs), then we can practice letting judgement and guilt go. We're far more likely to be compassionate towards ourselves, including dealing with addiction if that's a problem, when we're relaxed, than when we're caught in patterns of blame. So look for balance, practice becoming more aware, and you may even find a way of dealing with addiction that relaxes you.
e. High Blood Pressure Diet - Herbs That Lower Blood Pressure
Simplifying your diet doesn't mean losing out on taste: herbs and spices contain minimal calories, while often still contributing a healthy dose of essential minerals and vitamins, as well as the all-important factor: flavour. It's surprisingly uncomplicated to turn a humble mix of veg into something exciting and delicious. Cardamom is particularly good with vegetables fried in ghee and has the added benefit of being marvellous at lowering hypertension. Cinnamon has a massive antioxidant effect. And taking hawthorn (you can buy tea, or take drops) has reduced diastolic pressure in multiple studies. As I said above, garlic, though not really a herb, is hugely beneficial. You will have to eat quite a lot for garlic to have the enormous impact on hypertension that it can have but if you're scared that everyone will run a mile, then just experiment. Amazingly, adding lots of garlic to dishes doesn't have to mean the pungent scent begins to seep out of your pores. If you cook the cloves slowly (but not to mush! You lose any benefits then!) or crush them and leave them for half an hour or so (that's great for creating healthy compounds) then you'll reduce the smell from breath and skin, and if you eat sunflower seeds mixed with parsley after a meal with garlic, you'll tackle both hypertension and your breath. You can find here books on herbs that lower blood pressure.
f. High Blood Pressure Diet - Salt And High Blood Pressure
Not all salt is equal. Table salt is predominantly sodium chloride and if it's cheap and refined, it probably has some anti-caking agent to let it flow out of your cellar. Sodium and hypertension are connection. Unrefined sea salt or salt that comes from mineral rich rocks goes into a grinder and the minerals and other micro nutrients it contains (including calcium, magnesium and potassium) actually allow your body to excrete excess sodium and help the healthy flow of blood. It's better to replace and, if you have a heavy salt habit, reduce your use, than cut it out entirely. If you starve yourself of salt, your blood pressure might even rise, because you'll produce more adrenaline to boost pressure so you can reabsorb what salt there is. In this, as in so many other situations I've already mentioned, Nature abhors a vacuum.
g. Supplements For High Blood Pressure
If you have made changes to your diet so that you are eating more fruit, vegetables, nuts and seeds, raw oils, milk and honey (the yogi, or sattvic, diet described earlier) then you probably don't need to take any other supplements. In Yoga, food is medicine and the creation of an industry to produce supplements that would otherwise be available through a good relationship with the earth, the sea and the food it produces, just adds to complexity. Having said that, our world is highly complex and sometimes conditions make it necessary for additional supplements, particularly where you are in a state of hypertension. If you need help with reducing your blood pressure, and you can't incorporate garlic into your diet, you could consider taking a good quality garlic supplement. Hawthorn extract is easier to take as a supplement than to bring into your diet, and as you age, a supplement of co enzyme Q10 is worth considering: it helps maintain your circulatory system and helps reduce high blood pressure.
h. High Blood Pressure Diets
Treating high blood pressure with diet is one of the three most effective things you can do (the other two being to reduce stress, or learn to deal with it more effectively, and establish a healthy exercise regime, including yoga asanas). You now know the basics of how to approach changing your diet so it becomes more 'sattvic' (and if you don't, scroll up the page), but here are some other diets and recipes you might consider.
i. High blood pressure Diet - Ayurveda Diet
Ayurveda is a traditional Indian method of healing yourself through food, herbals and breathing techniques. There is a huge amount of literature on the subject, but basically, you find out what your body type is (what your predominant dosha is) and you work from there. Your dosha can change over time (you can be predominated by vata, pitta or kapha doshas) but if you have hypertension, then an Ayurvedic diet which is high in fibre, vegetarian, and simple, will certainly have a positive impact. If you want to find out more about Ayurveda, then you can read some background information and decide whether or not you want to take a full assessment by a qualified Ayurvedic practitioner. This detailed account of your lifestyle, background and condition will dictate what kind of diet, supplements and exercises are recommended for you.
j. High blood pressure Diet - Heart healthy recipes
Here are a couple of recipes to kick-start your day!
Breakfast: Fresh Fruit Salad Ingredients oranges, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. (whatever you have in the house is good - and this is a great way to make sure you keep a good, varied stock of fruit on hand. Berries can be bought frozen and kept in the freezer so you have a supply. They can be defrosted by spreading out on plates and leaving for 24 hours in the fridge). Method
Fresh Fruit Salad
oranges, apples, pears, peaches, apricots, bananas, pineapple, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, etc. (whatever you have in the house is good - and this is a great way to make sure you keep a good, varied stock of fruit on hand. Berries can be bought frozen and kept in the freezer so you have a supply. They can be defrosted by spreading out on plates and leaving for 24 hours in the fridge).
Cut all the larger fruit into bite sized pieces. Mix together in a large bowl and let stand for at least half an hour to let the flavours blend. Add the soft fruit at the end so it doesn't break up. Add fresh fruit juice (pomegranate if you like it is brilliant!) to create more liquor. Serve on its own, or on top of porridge, or topped with thick creamy yoghurt (home-made yoghurt is cheap and very easy to make - and nutritious!)
High Blood Pressure Diet Breakfast
Granola bars (these are great if you're in a hurry. You can make lots. Kids love helping to make these and they are very filling, if a bit more-ish)
8 oz breakfast oats
2 oz raw sunflower seeds
3 oz chopped almonds
8 oz honey
4 oz ghee
1 vanilla pod, scraped
1/2 tsp ground sea salt
4 oz chopped dried fruit (unsulphured apricots, cherries, blueberries, etc.)
Butter a baking tray
Lightly toast almonds, oats, sunflower seeds under a grill (keep shaking to redistribute and turn the mixture so nothing burns or gets left out)
Combine ghee, honey and salt in a saucepan, warm to mix
Add the oat mixture to the honey mixture and stir in the fruit
Spoon the combined mixture into the baking tray
Bake at 250 degrees celsius for 30 minutes
Remove from the oven and allow to cool
Cut into squares and store in an airtight container
k. High Blood Pressure Diet - DASH diet
DASH - dietary approaches to stop hypertension - is another great option for dealing with hypertension through food. It gives key guideline amounts of various foods, with a focus on grains, fruits and vegetables (you cut out dairy altogether in this diet or replace with low fat alternatives) and lean protein. It's not quite the same as a sattvic diet - for a start, there is no mention of herbs and spices, and the meat or fish element is significant - but for a westerner looking for a simple guide on how to deal with hypertension, it's proved very effective. The main thing is that a DASH diet is very simple. It does require a huge shift in most people's dietary habits but there is a lot of information and potential support, through forums and discussion groups, so it's a real possibility for lots of people who find the idea of a sattvic or ayurvedic approach just too foreign. Click here for a dash diet menu and Dash Diet guidelines books.
l. Heart Healthy Recipes
Coming soon: some great lunch recipes that will gladden the heart!
Guacamole with Corn Chips
Garlic Soup (sounds terrifying but actually, absolutely delicious and not strong in flavour at all!)
Red beans and rice (a version of Chilli sans Carne)
Meringues (as a treat - no fat!)
m. Magnesium Supplements
As I mentioned above, supplements are a last resort. If you can, work on your diet so you meet all your nutritional needs through food rather than through having to pop pills, even if they are food pills, you'll have a better sense of balance overall. That said, the same rule applies to this as to all yogic advice: use your own discretion. So if you feel that you really are low on minerals, and you absolutely can't up your intake of dark green leafy veg (the chlorophyll in leaves contains magnesium) then go ahead and take a good quality supplement. People recovering from addictions, particularly alcoholics, tend to be low on magnesium and a lack can cause depression, which is another symptom that exacerbates hypertension when it is combined with episodes of anxiety. Take your supplements. Pay attention to how you feel. Work on your diet.
n. Good Cholesterol Foods
Even though I've talked a bit about the sattvic diet, I hope I've also made it clear that in Yoga, you can eat anything you like providing you are aware of the circumstances. That is, you can eat eggs, providing you eat them as a part of a balanced diet, and providing you know that the hens who laid the eggs are well treated and have all they need for their well-being. I mention eggs because they are high in niacin. This is part of the vitamin B group that's involved in making high-density lipoprotien ('good' cholesterol) or HDL as opposed to LDL- low density lipoprotien. 'Bad' cholesterol tends to get stuck to the arterial wall and build up as plaque, increasing blood pressure and creating a risk of clotting or blockages. We make our own cholesterol too, but this varies, depending on our diet (what clever things our bodies are!) in particular, depending on how much saturated fat we're eating. So good cholesterol foods are those which are low in saturated fats, those that help with niacin production (vegetarians in particular have to be careful that they are getting enough B-vitamins) and those which bind, or help excrete, 'bad' cholesterol. Nuts are full of unsaturated oils and raw oils (particularly olive oil and other light, unsaturated fats), and are really good additions to the diet. If you eat fish, then oily fish (mackerel, salmon and tuna are the big three) are a wonderful source of Omega-3 that contributes to the production of HDL. If you don't, substitute flaxseed oil (or flaxseeds), hempseeds (or the oil), cauliflower or brussels sprouts (great for the heart!), sesame seeds - or all of the above! So you have a wide variety of good cholesterol foods to choose from.
o. Celery To Lower Blood Pressure
Put a stick of celery into your carrot and coriander soup. Use the juice to add zing to stews. You can use less salt when using celery.
In addition to trace minerals like potassium, magnesium and calcium, celery contains phthalides which actively reduce the stress hormones in the blood (like those from the adrenal glands, the so-called 'fight or flight' hormones) and relax the walls of the blood vessels, lowering blood pressure. So yes to celery to lower blood pressure!
p. Coconut Recipes
If you can get access to coconuts, and specifically, to coconut water (and this is a great way to boost trade if you look out for fair trade, organic products) then not only can you whip up some creamy curries and exotic smoothies, but you'll be doing your blood pressure a favour too. That's because coconuts contain that magic combination, magnesium and potassium, on top of which, they're rich in vitamin C. Coconut water is a wonderful alternative to water when you've just finished a workout. Coconut milk and coconut oil have more mixed reviews: you might be safest to stick with using the oil in an Ayurvedic technique called 'oil-pulling' which whitens and strengthens teeth. For some coconut recipes click here.
q. Foods High In Sodium
Finally, folks, here are some foods to steer clear of in your quest to heal your hypertension. Table salt is something we've already talked about - replace it with sea salt and reduce it - but salt is not the only source of sodium. Baking soda and baking powder are also high in sodium (baking soda is sodium bicarbonate, and the powder is a combination, with 'cream of tartar' (an acid) for the alkaline soda to react with). Take it easy with cakes and scones and even soda bread. It is wise to go on a low salt diet. Flat breads can be an interesting replacement, and flapjacks or rice cakes (the ones with yoghurt topping are great!) make fabulous teatime alternatives. Look out for stock cubes or other concentrated flavour enhancers (Marmite, soy sauce): if you can, leave them out, or else use half quantities until you're weaned off. Pickles are often preserved in brine, which is salted water, and even if you drain and rinse them, you might still be better to avoid them altogether. Cheese is, in effect, preserved milk and the preservative of choice is salt (this is what yoga terms tamasic food: the difficulty with preserving food is always linked to a decrease in nutritional value, in yogic terms). The same is true of preserved meats which are foods high in sodium (on top of which some are steeped in chemical preservatives to extend their shelf life). Even canned food can be high in salt. Look at the label. It's cheaper and healthier to buy dried beans and soak them yourself. Obviously sea-fish are going to be salty and shellfish in particular is high in sodium. But because those salts are in combination with potassium and magnesium and other elements, there's less to concern yourself with (except, perhaps, the state of the fishing industry, and the ethics of eating animals with nervous systems...)
To summarise: begin with what you love. Find out what that is by trying different things, from different relaxation and exercise techniques, to tasting different fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds and grains in different combinations and using different methods of preparation. Be compassionate about letting go of old habits, whether those are addictions, compulsions, patterns of stress or emotionally rigid responses. These are your comfort blankets, only they're full of thorns. Become aware of how eating, relaxation and exercise make you feel. Pay attention to how you feel before, during and afterwards. You'll gradually find connections and notice patterns emerging. And last but not least, extend your awareness outwards. When you find yourself taking better care of yourself, you begin to notice your relationships with other people. Growing less judgemental and more compassionate extends beyond even your friends and family, and even beyond the human species. Start watering the plants. Grow your own herbs. You have started on a great adventure.