High blood pressure is a common condition in which the long-term force of the blood against your artery walls is high enough that it may eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease.
Blood pressure is determined both by the amount of blood your heart pumps and the amount of resistance to blood flow in your arteries. The more blood your heart pumps and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure.
You can have high blood pressure (hypertension) for years without any symptoms. Even without symptoms, damage to blood vessels and your heart continues and can be detected. Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of serious health problems, including heart attack and stroke.
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How Can I Manage My Blood Pressure?
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diet, exercise, and lifestyle modification will play a key role in your management. Your physician may also decide to add a high blood pressure medication to your regimen.
7 Foods You Must Have
Oatmeal– A new clinical study has found that eating oatmeal and other wholegrain oat cereals can help control blood pressure levels. With growing levels of hypertension costing health services millions in treatment, the research comes as welcome news for health authorities.
“The antioxidants present in oats are beneficial for heart disease and the dietary fibers help lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) without affecting the good cholesterol (HDL)”, says Dr. Manoj K. Ahuja. Oats also contain plant lignans, especially enterolactone, which protect against heart disease. Thus, oats help reduce your cholesterol levels and keep your heart healthy. He adds, “It is a key food item that has proven to be good for the heart”
Pomegranates– The benefits include lowering blood pressure and improving your heart health. Fortunately, you don’t have to guzzle glasses of grape or vegetable juice with high amounts of sugar to lower blood pressure when pomegranate juice benefits will do the trick.
Pomegranate juice benefits have led to hundreds of new scientific papers in the last few years. Recent clinical trials have found that with as little as 2 ounces a day, pomegranate juice benefits can lower high blood pressure, improve cholesterol, and even decrease plaques in your arteries, reducing your risk for heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases.
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Flaxseed– For the study, 110 patients with high blood pressure and peripheral artery disease added 30 grams of milled flaxseed to their diet each day for six months. Results were compared to a similar group of people who added a placebo to their diets. The group with the flaxseed in their diet showed a measurable decrease in blood pressure.
“Lowering blood pressure is one-way people can significantly reduce their risk of stroke and heart attack, and anything we can do with diet and exercise to reduce that risk is a huge health benefit,” adds Dr. Jung. “Would I recommend that people eat more milled flaxseed based on this study? I would certainly consider including flaxseed in a diet for improved cardiovascular health, and milled flaxseed is thought to be better absorbed than other forms.”
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Dark Chocolate– More good news for chocolate lovers: A new Harvard study finds that eating a small square of dark chocolate daily can help lower blood pressure for people with hypertension.
The study joins the growing research into the heart-healthy benefits of flavonoids, compounds in unsweetened chocolate that cause dilation of the blood vessels. The Harvard study was announced in Atlanta at the American Heart Association’s science session on cardiovascular disease.
Dark chocolate also appears to affect cholesterol. The Harvard researchers found some evidence for a small decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and a significant increase in HDL (good) cholesterol. Triglycerides, however, were unchanged.
Bananas– The filling fruit is loaded with potassium, which is known to help with lowering blood pressure. The mineral helps balance the effects of salt on the body and helps the kidneys function properly. Studies have shown that daily banana consumption, can help lower blood pressure. One study, in particular, said just two bananas a day can reduce your blood pressure by 10 percent! Other potassium-rich foods include potatoes, dates, and avocados.
Beetroot Juice– Drinking a glass of beet juice may have an immediate impact on lowering blood pressure, according to a new study.
The study shows that within hours of drinking it, beet juice lowered systolic blood pressure (the top number in a blood pressure reading) by an average of 4-5 points among a small group of healthy men.
Researchers say that drop may seem small, but on a public health level, a reduction like that would equate to a 10% reduction in deaths due to heart disease.
“It’s promising that we can see an effect from a single dose,” says researcher Leah Coles, Ph.D., a research fellow at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne, Australia. “That effect might be even greater over the long term if they are drinking it day upon day.”
Broccoli– This glorious green vegetable seems to be good for everything, and your blood pressure is no exception. Broccoli sends at least four important fighters into the battle against high blood pressure — calcium, potassium, magnesium, and vitamin C.
Countless studies show that people with low levels of these nutrients tend to have raised blood pressure. Calcium and potassium help your body get rid of sodium through your urine. Potassium and magnesium relax blood vessels and improve blood flow. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that also strengthens your blood vessels. Get the most out of your broccoli by steaming it or eating it raw. Water-soluble nutrients like vitamin C are lost when you boil it or microwave it in water.
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