There is a deadly disease that affects 70 million Americans today – or one out of every three adults. That means there is a good chance that you, your spouse, and your loved ones could have this disease – and you might not even know it.
It’s called the “silent killer” because often there are no symptoms or warning signs, but the effects are deadly.
In fact, this disease is a pre-cursor to the top five causes of death in America. Eighty percent of first-time stroke patients have it, as do 70 percent of those who experience their first heart attack.
Most who are diagnosed with this disease take medication. In fact, the drugs for this condition are among the most popular in America (alongside sleeping pills and painkillers). But the side effects can be debilitating. And of course, like all drugs, they do not treat the underlying condition.
If you haven’t already guessed, I’m talking about hypertension or high blood pressure.
But there is good news…
Did you know there are many foods that have been proven to lower your blood pressure? These foods can work just as effectively as drugs – in some cases, even better. And they come with zero side effects.
Let’s take a look at four everyday foods that help to lower your blood pressure… plus some delicious ways to include them in your diet.
Eat "Alligator Pears" To Boost Potassium
The mineral, potassium, is essential for healthy blood pressure. Potassium works side-by-side with sodium to maintain an electrical gradient. The correct ratio of these nutrients exerts a strong influence on healthy blood pressure. Unfortunately, our modern processed diets have reversed this healthy ratio.
According to the authors of a 2005 paper, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition:
“The addition of manufactured salt to the food supply and the displacement of traditional potassium-rich foods by foods introduced during the Neolithic and Industrial periods caused a 400% decline in the potassium intake while simultaneously initiating a 400% increase in sodium ingestion”
Unfortunately, most of us simply don’t get enough potassium. At the same time, we consume way too much sodium.
We tend to think of bananas when it comes to potassium, but did you know that avocados actually contain more of this critical mineral?
One cup of avocado provides over 700 mg of potassium, compared to just over 450 mg in the same amount of banana. And of course, there is almost no sugar in an avocado, making this a much wiser choice.
Here are three simple ways to enjoy your hypertension-lowering avocado:
- Try a simple guacamole served with grass-fed ground beef and organic salsa for a tasty Mexican meal
- Blend half an avocado into a whey-protein smoothie for a creamy texture
- Use as a spread on your favorite grain-free Paleo bread
Balance Blood Pressure… with Beets!
It has long been known that foods rich in nitrates have a blood-pressure-lowering effect. This is due to the ability of these foods to improve vasodilation in the blood vessels.
And research tells us that beets are one of the most preferred sources!
Researchers at Newcastle University in the UK conducted a systematic review of 16 clinical trials between 2006 and 2012. What they found were significant reductions in systolic blood pressure from inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation.
Have you tried fresh-juiced beets?
If you have a juicer, have a go at juicing beets to drink regularly. If you're a regular juicer, try adding beets to your existing blend. And if you want to go ‘next level’, try Beet Kvass, which provides probiotics as well as hypertension-fighting nitrates.
Halt Hypertension with the “Stinking Rose”
Garlic, known as the “stinking rose”, has been used in culinary and medicinal applications for thousands of years. It contains numerous health-promoting compounds. One of the most active is a phytochemical called allicin.
Not only does it add a punch of flavor to meals, studies also show that it has a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Researchers from King Khalid University found significant decreases in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure when using garlic supplementation compared to placebo.
A 2015 meta-analysis, published in the Journal of Clinical Hypertension also suggests that garlic outperforms placebos, after examining randomized controlled trials over a 67-year period.
Because allicin is destroyed by heat, the greatest health and blood pressure benefits of garlic come from eating it fresh and uncooked. It is best to crush or press the cloves, then allow the garlic to stand for 5 to 10 minutes to allow the bioactive compounds form. Then stir into homemade salad dressings or herb-based sauces like chermoula, pesto and chimichurri and serve with your favorite roasted chicken, beef and fish dishes.
Black Tea: Sip Your Way to Better Cardiovascular Health
The next time you put your feet up, you may want to consider doing it with a cup of blood-pressure lowering black tea.
Black tea is high in flavonoids, which are well documented as one of the greatest health-giving phytonutrient groups on the planet.
Researchers from Australia and The Netherlands looked at the effects of black tea on blood pressure. During the six month study participants followed a low flavonoid diet, while consuming three cups per day of black tea. They found that “black tea consumption resulted in significantly lower systolic BP (SBP) and diastolic BP (DBP).”
For the best effects on your health, make sure you have your black tea “au natural”, or with a few drops of stevia.
It’s All About Lifestyle … And Saving Your Life.
I’m sure you realize that you can’t just add these foods to an unhealthy lifestyle and expect incredible results. To get the most out of these four blood pressure lowering foods, ensure you’re also doing the following:
Maintain a good ancestral diet full of fresh vegetables, grass-fed meats and lacto-fermented foods.
Include 30-40 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity three to four times a week.
Cut down on high risk behaviors such as smoking, processed foods and heavy alcohol consumption.
Choose mineral-rich sea salt instead of “table salt” which has had the valuable minerals removed.
Love bread, but not the health-harming carbs and grains? Check out Kelley’s newest book, Better Breads, including more than two dozen low-carb, grain-free, prebiotic-rich Paleo breads, biscuits, pancakes, muffins and more! Click here to learn more about Better Breads…
1. Aburto NJ, Hanson S, Gutierrez H, Hooper L, Elliott P, Cappuccio FP. Effect of increased potassium intake on cardiovascular risk factors and disease: systematic review and meta-analyses. British Medical Journal. 2013 Apr 3;346:f1378. doi: 10.1136/bmj.f1378.
2. Cordain L, et al. Origins and evolution of the Western diet: health implications for the 21st century. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 2005 Feb;81(2):341-54.
3. Hord N, Tang Y, Bryan N. Food sources of nitrates and nitrites: the physiologic context for potential health benefits. American Society for Nutrition. July 2009 vol. 90 no. 1 1-10
4. Siervo M, Lara J, Ogbonmwan I, Mathers JC. Inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation reduces blood pressure in adults: a systematic review and meta-analysis.The Journal of Nutrition. 2013 Jun;143(6):818-26. doi: 10.3945/jn.112.170233. Epub 2013 Apr 17.
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