Problem & Stats
Most of us don’t think about blood pressure until there is a severe problem, by then its usually expensive and involves uncomfortable conversations with your doctor. The fact is, according to a report from a 2018 American Heart Association study (1):
- 103 MM American adults are living with high blood pressure.
- There is a 38% increase in deaths related to high blood pressure since 2005.
- This year 1 MM people will die from a heart attack or coronary heart problems.
- Cardiovascular diseases are the #1 leading cause of death.
Are you serious about lowering your blood pressure?
How much of a reduction (mmHg) in blood pressure do you need to be in the green?
Which behavior will you change in to get the results that you want?
Weight reduction - 5mmHg in SBP Reduction
First of all, you have to know what your BMI is, Body, Mass Index. Here is a link to a government BMI calculator. According to a 2016 study (2), losing 5% of your body mass could significantly lower high blood pressure. If you are overweight, then you ought to seriously consider this option.
Eating Plan - 11 mmHg in SBP Reduction
What you eat is the single most crucial factor in the quest to lowering blood pressure. As recommended by the American Heart Association - the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) can reduce your blood pressure by 11mmHg. The diet is rich in fresh fruits, nuts, vegetables such as beets, whole grains, and includes some meats, poultry, and fats. You can find more information on the diet on this government website link.
Restrict Sodium intake - 5-6 mmHg in SBP Reduction
The preserving benefits of sodium make it a common ingredient in processed and prepared foods; as a result, salt intake is high in many parts of the world. Numerous studies (3) have been published linking high blood pressure to salt intake. Consider reading the label to see how much sodium is in your next purchase and choose to buy fresh food instead of processed.
Physical Activity - 5-8 mmHg SBP Reduction
Even though exercise is one of the best things you can do for your blood pressure and overall health, many people cringe at the thought of it. However, if you are intentional, you can make simple changes in your habits that will go a long way. For example: taking a morning walk, or choosing to use the stairs instead of the elevator, the key is introducing movement to overcome sedentary patterns. Studies (4 ,5) show that just 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 min of vigorous activity per week can significantly lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health. That’s only approx 20-40 min a day!
Limit Alcohol - 5-6 mmHg in SBP reduction
Among the many benefits of moderating alcohol consumption, is the reduction of blood pressure. In fact, alcohol is linked to 16% of high blood pressure cases worldwide. (6) Moderate alcohol consumption is generally considered one drink per day for women, and 2 for men. The bottom line is alcohol consumption is bad for blood pressure, so if you drink any more than the moderated amount, cut back, and improve 5-6 mmHg!
Out of the 5 options presented for reducing blood pressure as recommended by the AHA the one that will deliver the most is option 2 up to 11mmHg in reduction. This is because it is heavily focused on nitrate-rich vegetables for their ability to improve nitric oxide production.
Perhaps the plant that has the highest levels of nitrates is beetroot. A study (7) published in Science Daily states that “People with high blood pressure who drank about 8 ounces of beetroot juice experienced a decrease in blood pressure of about 10 mm Hg”! Try drinking a fresh cup of organic beetroot powder and you will feel the results.
Citations & Sources
- 2018 More than 100 million Americans have high blood pressure, AHA says https://www.heart.org/en/news/2018/05/01/more-than-100-million-americans-have-high-blood-pressure-aha-says
- Evaluation of a Voluntary Work Site Weight Loss Program on Hypertension https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27930480
- Reducing population salt intake worldwide: from evidence to implementation https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20226955
- Exercise training for blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23525435
- Effectiveness-Based Guidelines for the Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease in Women—2011 Update https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3182143/
- Alcohol is bad for blood pressure. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16922819
- Drinking cup of beetroot juice daily may help lower blood pressure https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/04/130415172230.htm