Fix it With Food: Blood Pressure
High Blood pressure can be treated with lifestyle changes. That is hard! Sleeping more, resting more, enjoying life more often means less production. This doesn’t sit well with high pressure jobs or highly motivated personalities. So what do you do? Before you solve your issue with a pill, and a lifestyle overhaul seems too ominous (it won’t forever, in fact it really is appealing), how about adding a few things to your diet?
NO (Nitric Oxide) is a wonderful compound that is created in your body. As you age, like most things that are manufactured in your body, the production NO decreases. Fear not! There is good news, which I’ll get to in a moment. Nitric Oxide is a vasodilator. In other words it makes your blood vessel bigger for a time, (that is a little too simplistic). When you can pump more blood through your blood vessels, you automatically have lower blood pressure.
There is good news! Although not all are created equal, there are certain foods that contain nitrates. Added nitrates and nitrites as a preservatives and coloring agents are toxic, as well as nitrates found in processed meats. It is thought that meat’s heme (protein) seems to help convert the nitrates into N-nitroso compounds, which are NOT healthy. Vegetable sources of nitrates are turned into nitrites in your mouth and then into nitric oxide in your stomach. This in turn can lower your blood pressure by eating certain vegetables.
A study(1) found that drinking 8 ounces of beet juice every day for a week could lower your blood pressure by almost eight points! Raw beets can boost stamina during exercise up to 16%, thanks to the NO production (2). If you are not a beet fan, they are high in sugar, then here are some other sources:
Arugula, 480 mg of nitrates per 100 grams
Rhubarb, 281 mg
Cilantro, 247 mg
Butter leaf lettuce, 200 mg
Spring greens like mesclun mix, 188 mg
Basil, 183 mg
Beet greens, 177 mg
Oak leaf lettuce, 155 mg
Swiss chard, 151 mg
Red beets, 110 mg
The point is that there is hope! There are answers beyond taking a pill! Talk to a natural medicine practitioner for more ideas and help. Whatever you do, don’t blindly opt for the pill that you will never stop taking.