Written by Sunrise Senior Living | March 21, 2017
That's every 1 in 3 adults, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, making it a very common condition.
Blood pressure is defined as the force that your blood circulates against your artery walls. Normally, it rises and falls throughout the day. If it reaches high levels and stays there consistently, it then has the ability to damage your heart and increase your risk for chronic conditions such as heart disease and stroke.
"Signs and symptoms are not always present."
Unfortunately, high blood pressure has also been known as the "silent killer,"
as signs and symptoms are not always noticeable, according to the American Heart Association. That means that you should always be aware of your blood pressure levels, and take precautionary measures to ensure your wellness. But thankfully, there are also lifestyle choices that you can make to keep your blood pressure down. Exercising regularly, limiting alcohol consumption, quitting smoking and reducing your stress are a few of the critical factors, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Following a healthy diet is also important. Eating a variety of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products is crucial, but there are certain items that are more beneficial than others. Here are a few foods that can naturally lower your blood pressure levels:
Research published in the Natural Medicine Journal found that patients who had peripheral artery disease saw a decrease in blood pressure levels after eating foods, such as muffins and bagels, with added flaxseed. The study's author, Dr. Delfin Rodriguez, said that the results are some of the most outstanding he's seen in regards to blood pressure reduction.
"This reduction of systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure after administration of dietary flaxseed is the largest decrease in blood pressure ever shown by any dietary intervention," he said.
Add ground flaxseed to morning smoothies, oatmeal, cereal or yogurt.
According to a study published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, women who consumed 22 grams of blueberry powder - the equivalent to a cup of blueberries - every day for eight weeks saw a decrease in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure levels. The results show that making blueberries a staple item in your everyday diet can reduce arterial stiffness and help to maintain your blood pressure.
Beans are packed with essential minerals and fiber, plus they have little fat and no cholesterol in them. Essentially, every variety of bean is a staple ingredient in the recipe for successfully keeping your blood pressure levels down. Neal Barnard, founding president of the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine, told U.S. News & World Report that while beans are incredibly beneficial, it's still important to watch your portions sizes.
"Beans are packed with essential minerals and fiber."
"If people overdo it with beans real quickly, they might get some gassiness or indigestion," he said. "The answer is to make sure they're well cooked - and start with small portions while you're adapting to it."
Research presented at the American Heart Association's Epidemiology/Lifestyle 2016 Scientific Sessions found that women who ate five or more servings of yogurt every week had a lowered risk of developing high blood pressure levels. Justin Buendia, lead author of the study and a Ph.D. candidate at Boston University School of Medicine, said that doing so is a health-conscious choice that may also reduce your risk for heart-related chronic conditions.
"Our study shows that daily intake of dairy products, particular yogurt, lowers the risk for developing high blood pressure, which is a key factor for the development of heart disease and stroke," he said.
Enjoy a cup of yogurt for breakfast or as an afternoon snack.
5. Dark chocolate
You may know dark chocolate as the healthiest variety of this treat, but did you know that it's also linked to reduced blood pressure? According to research conducted at Walden University in Minneapolis, participants who reported eating dark chocolate saw a significant decrease in blood pressure.
Consuming these foods can help you maintain healthier blood pressure levels, but it doesn't guarantee that they won't rise. For more information attend the Pasadena Senior Center informational lecture on Heart Healthy Eating on August 31 at 10:00 a.m.. Schedule an appointment to visit the doctor at least once a year - if not more - to ensure your blood pressure is normal. These are proactive steps that can ensure your overall health and promote longevity.