Nutrition to Reduce and Maintain Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is often a result of elevated of inflammation. Common root causes of inflammation that contribute to high blood pressure include lifestyle choices, inflammatory foods, gut microbiome imbalances, and toxicities, including heavy metals and pesticides.
Blood Pressure Ranges
Before we talk about blood pressure, it is important to define high blood pressure or hypertension. These days, home blood pressure units are readily available for monitoring your blood pressure.
- Normal: Less than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120-129/80
- Stage 1 Hypertension: 130-139/80-89
- Stage 2 Hypertension: 140/90 and above
Natural Ways to modify blood pressure
To change blood pressure naturally, it is important to address the root causes. For example, the amount of stress, weight, smoking, and exercise can all significantly impact blood pressure. Other things like toxic accumulation of chemicals, the balance of microbes in your gut, and genetics also contribute to blood pressure. For this blog, we will focus on diet and nutrition.
There are many diets out there that are helpful for various conditions. Research has shown an effective diet for heart health, reducing blood pressure and reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, is the traditional Mediterranean diet. As gluten also increases systemic inflammation, a gluten-free Mediterranean diet will provide further anti-inflammatory benefits to support optimal heart health and blood pressure.
The Gluten Free-Mediterranean Diet Involves:
- Removing gluten from your diet. Choose organic ancient grains that are naturally gluten-free, like millet, buckwheat, amaranth, quinoa, and rice.
- Eating primarily plant-based foods, such as organic fruits and vegetables, soaked and sprouted legumes, nuts, and seeds-Incorporating healthy fats, such as olive oil, coconut oil, and grass-fed butter
- Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor foods.
- Use minimal amounts of Himalayan Sea salt or Redmond Real Sea salt.
- Limiting red meat to only a few times a month and choosing only grass-fed sources.
- Eat wild-caught fish and pasture-raised poultry at least twice a week.
- Drink red wine in moderation. (This is optional and recommended avoiding.)
The diet also recognizes the importance of being physically active and enjoying shared meals with family and friends. Practice mindful eating and consume foods in a relaxed state for optimal digestion and absorption of nutrients to further reduce inflammation and manage blood pressure.
Nutrients to Improve Blood Pressure
Eating a gluten-free Mediterranean diet goes a long way to providing the important minerals and nutrients for heart and blood vessel health. However, some people are deficient in specific minerals, or have trouble absorbing them, which requires additional supplementation to receive the benefits. Some important nutrients that impact blood pressure are:
- Magnesium – A common deficiency. Promotes relaxation of blood vessels, involved in over 600 biochemical reactions in the body and required for optimal health.
- It is naturally found in dark leafy greens, organic dark chocolate, sprouted sunflower and pumpkin seeds, sprouted almonds, chia and flaxseed, avocado, organic buckwheat, organic amaranth, soaked black beans, quinoa, spirulina, grass-fed yogurt/kefir, soaked mung beans, bananas.
- Suggested Supplement Protocol: 135mg in the morning and 500mg before bed
- Fish Oil – Omega 3’s are essential for reducing inflammation and supporting optimal heart health and function
- Omega 3 rich foods include; wild-caught seafood, organic flax and chia seeds, and walnuts.
- Suggested Supplement Protocol: 2,000mg daily
- CoQ10 – An antioxidant that helps reduce inflammation and promotes normal cardiovascular function, enhances blood vessel function, and is an essential nutrient for cellular energy production
- CoQ10 is found in pasture-raised organ meats, wild-caught fatty fish, organic fruits and vegetables, and sprouted nuts and seeds
- Suggested Supplement Protocol: 300mg daily
- Potassium – Essential mineral for healthy functioning of nerves, muscle contractility, maintaining normal blood pressure, and proper energy production. Evidence suggests that diets high in potassium provide numerous benefits to cardiovascular health.
- Potassium-rich foods include: Dark leafy greens, avocados, bananas, squashes, sweet potatoes, sprouted nuts, seeds, and legumes
- Suggested Supplement Protocol: 100mg 1-3x/day, it is best to consume potassium-rich foods prior to supplementing
- Cardiotone by Ayush Herbs - Carditone contains a blend of the most powerful herbal extracts—Arjuna, Rauwolfia, Rose, Punarnava, and Gokhru—that assist in the balance of healthy blood pressure and support a healthy cardiovascular system.
- Suggested Supplement Protocol: 1 caplet daily
Many of these nutrients are obtained when following a gluten-free Mediterranean diet. However, additional supplementation will also support cardiovascular health and improve blood pressure. As stated above, there are several other ways to improve cardiovascular health. Things such as stress management, breathing exercises, gentle exercise, meditation, supporting lymphatic drainage, toxin elimination, addressing gut health are additional ways to reduce and mange blood pressure. If you need more support and guidance on your heart health journey, consider using a health coach.