Some things are great to inherit: money, Great-Grandma's wedding ring, blond hair. There are other things I don't like that were passed on to me by my family like Type 2 Diabetes risk, myopia, and low-enamel on my teeth. Hypertension or high blood pressure is one of those inherited conditions my husband wasn't spared. Someone in his family called me last night wanting to know what can be done about hypertension through diet and supplements. This is the first of two posts on the subject.
Let's start with foods that should be avoided:
1. Vegetables canned in salt 2. Smoked or cured meats 3. Buttermilk, cheese, and cheese spreads 4. Instant or processed foods, packaged meals, regular canned soups 5. Condiments with added sodium (check labels) 6. White sugar 7. Table salt
Now that we have eliminated the foods that raise blood pressure, what foods can we eat to lower blood pressure?
1. Spinach and green leafy vegetables (sources of calcium and magnesium), unsalted nuts (especially sunflower seeds), beans (black, white, navy, lima, pinto, kidney) (due to magnesium and potassium) 2. Baked white potato, banana, soybeans (again, due to potassium. DO NOT TAKE POTASSIUM SUPPLEMENTS UNLESS PRESCRIBED BY YOUR DOCTOR. Potassium supplements can cause life-threatening complications with blood pressure.) 3. Dark chocolate (nitric oxide relaxes blood vessels and increases blood flow) 4. Fiber (gel-forming soluble fiber) 5. Vegetables and spices ( celery, garlic, onion, tomato, broccoli, carrot, saffron, and assorted spices) 6. Avocados (oleic acid lowers cholesterol and contains potassium and folate which benefit heart health) *7. Skim milk (due to calcium and vitamin D, which can be found in some non-dairy milks. Skim milk is the least effective of the foods listed above.) * Vitamin D is also produced by sunlight, which is DAIRY-FREE!
"If you're fair skinned, experts say going outside in the [spring, summer, and fall] for 10 minutes in the midday sun—in shorts and a tank top with no sunscreen—will give you enough radiation to produce about 10,000 international units of the vitamin." [usnews.com]
There are two ways to lower blood pressure by diet. First, stop eating heavily processed and salted foods, dairy, meats, and sugar. Second, eat more vegetables (especially green leafy vegetables), nuts, bananas, beans, and avocados. These are both fundamentals of a vegan raw food diet.