May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month, which is a good reminder to assess your numbers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), high blood pressure─also called hypertension─is a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, congestive heart failure, and kidney disease.
The CDC notes that about 1 in 3 U.S. adults—an estimated 68 million—has high blood pressure. Fortunately, nearly everyone can reduce hypertension naturally, which is the healthy, logical choice before resorting to Rx drugs—and their side effects. For example:
Embrace a healthy, protein-rich, low salt diet
The most famous eating plan to reduce hypertension is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet—which targets whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy and minimizes saturated fat and cholesterol. Emphasize lean protein too, as studies show that a diet of 30% protein reduces blood pressure far better than one with only 15% protein.
If you don’t exercise 3 times per week for at least 30 minutes, it’s time to start—especially if you want to prevent or manage hypertension. Even brisk walking helps considerably. If possible, incorporate both weights and cardio 2-4 times weekly, which will magnify your benefits. As a bonus, you can expect a measurable increase in energy and overall well-being.
Incorporate key nutrients and fish oil
Consuming a wide spectrum of key nutrients daily is one of the easiest, healthiest ways to prevent and treat hypertension. Your ace in the hole is a high-quality multi-vitamin/mineral formula rich in potassium, which helps balance sodium intake, plus other blood pressure reducing nutrients like vitamins C and D,2 magnesium,3 and more. Include at least a gram of fish oil daily, which is the best source for omega-3 fatty acids that have been repeatedly shown to help reduce blood pressure.
Enjoy a daily whey protein shake
While you may know that whey protein promotes healthy weight loss, did you realize that it also helps lower high blood pressure? One research team found it to be “an effective functional food for hypertension control.”6 In fact, consuming whey protein daily could significantly reduce the average blood pressure of hypertensive men and women.
Swear off the soda
Caffeinated beverages in general can elevate blood pressure in some people. If you must have caffeine, choose antioxidant-dense green tea over coffee when possible. The worst options, on the other hand, are cola drinks—sugared or diet—which are clearly linked to an increased risk of hypertension.
Would you agree that these tactics are easy, affordable, and boost overall wellness while reducing hypertension? Now, there’s a good health value!
1 Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jun;64(6):595-602. Epub 2010 Mar 10
2 Nat Rev Cardiol. 2009 Oct;6(10):621-30. Epub 2009 Aug 18
3 Hypertension. 1998 Aug;32(2):260-5
4 Am J Hypertens. 2010 Feb;23(2):111-2
5 Clin Exp Hypertens. 2010 Jan;32(2):137-44
6 Mol Nutr Food Res. 2012 Feb;56(2):316-24. doi: 10.1002/mnfr.201100381.