“Let Nature be your Medicine” – Hippocrates.

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. High BP, otherwise known as Hypertension, is a huge problem which can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and death. The best way to manage it is to follow an integrative plan involving proper nutrition, exercise, stress management and prescribed medication when needed. Last week, we discussed stress management. Today, we’ll discuss all the cool foods that can actually lower your blood pressure, like medicine, but tastier.

Remember, SALT (Sodium) IS THE ENEMY. The American Heart Association recommends 1500 mg of sodium daily. Most Americans consume 3400 mg daily! Contrary to popular belief, the problem is not the salt shaker. Seventy five percent of our sodium comes from processed foods and restaurant food. It seems that salt is added to everything, not just the chips, cold cuts, canned soups, and frozen pizzas, but also the bread, cereal, pasta. So, start reading labels, and tracking your sodium consumption. There are a lot of cool phone apps that can help track sodium.

While sodium can increase blood pressure, potassium and magnesium can lower blood pressure. Thankfully, Mother Nature does not produce anything with sodium but produces many options high in potassium, magnesium and other beneficial compounds that can help lower blood pressure. Here are a few delicious and easy ideas.

1. Beets. Beets help the heartbeat! Beets are high in nitrates. Nitrates are converted by our bodies to nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the smooth muscle cells of the blood vessels, causing them to dilate. Nitric oxide also has anti-platelet properties which decreases clotting risk. End result is lower blood pressure . Don’t like beets 🙁 well try these other vegetables high in nitrates – radishes, celery, leek, eggplant, carrots. My favorite is beet and carrot juice. Check out your local juice bar for their version of beet juice – they all have one.



2.  Garlic. The medicinal properties of garlic have been known for centuries. More recently, studies have shown that garlic supplementation, via the active ingredient Allicin, can significantly lower blood pressure. Other herbs that have been reported to lower blood pressure include ginger, turmeric, hawthorne, cinnamon (especially in diabetics), cardamom, and celery seed. Please be sure to tell your doctor about any and all herbs used regularly as there may be interactions with your medications.

3. Bananas. This yummy fruit  is rich in potassium. Who doesn’t like bananas?

4. Cashews and Almonds. These tree nuts are rich in Magnesium. Magnesium deficiency is quite prevalent especially among Americans with high blood pressure. Replacing this magnesium, and eating a diet rich in Magnesium has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure.

5. Celery. Long used in Oriental medicine, studies now show that celery contains phthalides that dilate blood vessels and act as a diuretic, 2 mechanisms to lower blood pressure. Add it to your salad, eat it raw or juice it.

6. Speaking of juices, try Pomegranate Juice. Pomegranates are sweet and packed with potent antioxidants with many health benefits, one of which may be to lower blood pressure.

7. Green Tea and Hibiscus Tea. Also rich in antioxidants and delicious

8.  Kale. This superfood is rich in potassium, magnesium and Vitamin C. The same can be said for broccoli. Check out this Yummy kale, broccoli, chickpea, and almond salad. Drizzle with lemon juice and EVOO (also reported to lower blood pressure) and feel the blood pressure lower.


Enjoy these foods and Enjoy lower blood pressure! 

Don’t forget to breath and exercise regularly (5 days a week, 30 minutes a day)

Next week, I’ll discuss yoga postures for anyone with high blood pressure.