The term ‘blood pressure’ refers to the force of blood as it moves through the arteries. This pressure does not remain constant, but when it stays high for a significant period of time, it is referred to as ‘high blood pressure’ or hypertension. The condition can lead to heart attacks, strokes and aneurysms. This list is useful for anyone trying to avoid or alleviate this life threatening condition:
Spinach is known to be a very good source of magnesium, which not only offers protection from heart disease, but can also reduce blood pressure. Additionally, the folate in spinach can protect the body from homocysteine by making the chemical harmless. Studies have indicated that high levels of this amino acid (homocysteine) can cause heart attacks and strokes.
2/ Sunflower seeds
This is another good way to ensure that you are getting your recommended intake of magnesium. Sunflower seeds also contain Phytosterols, which can reduce the level of cholesterol in the body. High cholesterol is a well-known contributor to high blood pressure as it can lead to blockage of the arteries. However, ensure that you use unsalted sunflower seeds.
Beans such as lima, kidney, white, black and pinto contain high levels of magnesium. They also contain potassium, which is known to be quite effective in lowering blood pressure.
This tasty fruit offers more than a quick boost of energy. It is known to be rich in potassium. Its high fiber content is also useful in helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. Studies suggest that one banana a day is enough to help ward off high blood pressure.
The health benefits of soy are unquestioned. Among the many advantages is the fact that it has been shown to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The isoflavones in soy are primarily responsible for this positive effect.
The health benefits of this food is often overlooked as it usually prepared in unhealthy ways, such as fries, or baked and covered with cheese or cream. The fact is however, that potatoes are a great source of fiber and potassium among other minerals.
7/ Dark chocolate
Chocolate lovers will be happy to know that the flavonoids in the sweet treat can help to lower blood pressure by stimulating nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide signals the muscles surrounding blood vessels to relax, which results in increased blood flow. Dark chocolate has also been shown to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol. The good news is that for anyone watching their weight, only small amounts have to be consumed to obtain the health benefits.
The oleic acid found in avocados can be helpful in reducing cholesterol. Additionally, they contain potassium and folate, both of which are important for heart health. A number of different varieties enable the availability of avocados almost year round.
Halibut, salmon, cod and tuna are all good sources of potassium. Fish is also highly recommended for its high omega 3 content which helps to protect the heart. While it is best to get your fish fresh, canned fish is just as good, especially as it ensures that you get adequate servings throughout the year.
10/ Skim Milk
This is a good choice for the weight conscious, or anyone who is trying to lose weight by dieting. Aside from being a good source of calcium and protein, skim milk also contains vitamin D. This works with calcium to alleviate high blood pressure, though not as much as the other foods listed. However, as part of a healthy diet, skim milk is still useful in helping to improve overall cardiovascular health.
While it is best to try to prevent high blood pressure or hypertension, it is not a lost cause if you find that you have the condition. Believe it or not, it is not always necessary to resort to medication, although you should always be guided by your doctor’s advice. There are two types of hypertension, essential and secondary. With essential hypertension, doctors are usually unable to pinpoint a cause which led to the problem. Secondary hypertension involves cases where the problem is caused by an existing condition.
High blood pressure also has a genetic component. In such cases, individuals can still benefit from increased exercise, better diet, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding habits like smoking. Learning relaxation techniques to reduce stress can also help to relieve high blood pressure.
January 24th, 2009
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