My Nutrition Tips

by Laura Holland, Nutritionist
(Cork, Ireland)

I am happy to share some tips with you.

This is regarding Vegetarian food for lowering blood pressure
Vegetarians generally have lower blood pressure levels and a lower incidence of high blood pressure compared to non-vegetarians.

I suggest you follow a high-potassium diet, rich in fibre and complex carbohydrates.

By following a mainly vegetarian diet your diet will typically contain more potassium, complex carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, fibre, calcium, magnesium and vitamin C and less saturated fats and refined carbohydrates all of which has a positive effect on blood pressure.

- Aim to get your protein from vegetarian sources such as legumes and grains. Good legumes to include in the diet are chickpeas, lentils, red kidney beans, mung beans, soybeans and split peas.

- Include grains such as brown rice, oats, buckwheat, millet and bulgar wheat in the diet

Here are some nutritional advice for lowering blood pressure

Follow a strict salt free diet. This means never adding salt to your diet and also eliminating foods which have salt added to them during processing such as canned foods, crisps, biscuits, pastries. Look out for the following on food labels - monosodium glutamate (MSG), salt, sodium or the symbol Na on the packet

Avoid aged cheeses and meats, anchovies and pickled herrings.

- Steamed/grilled white fish and skinless chicken or turkey are allowed occasionally but beef, pork, chicken liver, corned beef, sausage, smoked and processed meats should be avoided. Cold water fish such as salmon and mackerel are also recommended for their Omega 3 fatty acid content.

Eat plenty of fresh and if possible organic fruit and vegetables. Particularly good are apples and bananas, broccoli, cabbage, celery, green leafy vegetables, garlic, onions and prunes. A drop of approximately 8-11mm Hg for the systolic and 5-8 mm Hg for the diastolic can be expected when garlic is consumed regularly in the diet. Celery contains a compound called 3-n-butylphthalide that may also help lower blood pressure.

Add fresh parsley, fennel and rosemary to foods. Cayenne is also good for reducing hypertension either added to food or taken as a supplement.

Aim to get 1-2 tablespoons of flaxseed oil or fish oil in the diet every day. Over 60 studies have shown either of these to be effective in reducing blood pressure.

Avoid alcohol, caffeine containing drinks and smoking as much as possible.

- Invest in a good quality masticating juicer and include juices in the diet daily. Especially beneficial are juices containing celery, beetroot, spinach, carrot, nettle, parsley and apple.

Consider supplementing with the following:

A high potency multi-vitamin and mineral formula
Calcium & Magnesium supplement 1500 - 3000 mg daily
Vitamin C - 500 mg three times a day
CoQ10 - 100mg daily
Selenium - 200 mcg daily

General advice

- It is very important to reduce weight as much as possible if you are not within the correct weight range for your height. Being overweight puts extra pressure on the heart to pump blood around the body and so leads to increased blood pressure.

- Reduce stress as much as possible. Stress causes the walls of the arteries to constrict, again putting more pressure on the heart to pump blood around the body.

- Get regular exercise. Mild to moderate is best such as walking, swimming and yoga. Be careful not to overexert yourself however and consult with your doctor if you have not exercised in a while.

- Ensure you are getting enough sleep. Try some relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and transcendental meditation as these have been shown to help with lowering blood pressure.


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