Cholesterol And Blood Pressure Lowering Foods
To keep your heart healthy and maintain proper functioning of the cardiovascular system, it is important to keep your blood pressure low and blood cholesterol in a healthy range. It is estimated that about one-third of adults have high blood pressure and a lot of adults have high cholesterol levels. Both these conditions have few symptoms but largely increase the risk of heart diseases. Checking your diet and eating Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Lowering Foods can help you control both conditions.
5 Best Cholesterol Lowering Foods
- Whole grains especially Oats and Oat Bran – Whole grains may promote heart health and Oats contain beta-glucan, a type of soluble fiber that helps in absorbing LDL (the bad cholesterol). Switch your breakfast for two servings of oats which can lower total cholesterol up to 5% and see a 7% reduction in LDL cholesterol.
- Beans – Beans are rich in soluble fiber and are really good for the heart. Research shows that including a ½ cup of beans to a meal can lower total cholesterol by up to 8%. They also take a while for the body to digest, giving you a fuller feeling for longer. Try beans like navy, black and kidney beans, lentils, garbanzos, black-eyed peas, and more which can supply about one-third of your daily fiber needs.
- Fatty Fish – Fish is high in omega-3 fatty acids and protein. Eat fish twice a week to lower LDL in two ways: one, replacing LDL-boosting saturated fats from meats with LDL-lowering omega-3 fats. Two, omega-3 reduces triglyceride levels in the bloodstream and increases the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDL) that are good for heart health.
- Nuts especially Walnuts – These are very high in monounsaturated fats. Walnuts are a rich source of plant-based omega-3 fatty acids. Studies have shown that eating a whole walnut daily, for a month helps in lowering cholesterol by 5.4 percent and LDL cholesterol by 9.3 percent. Almonds and cashews are other good options for treating cholesterol. However, though nuts are heart-healthy, they are also high in calories, so eat them in moderation.
- Avocados – Avocados contain monounsaturated fatty acids and fiber, two heart-healthy and cholesterol-lowering nutrients along with vitamin K, C, B5, B6, E, potassium, and folate. It also has a small quantity of magnesium, manganese, copper, iron, zinc, phosphorus, vitamin A, B1 (Thiamine), B2 (Riboflavin), and B3 (Niacin), protein, making it low-carb plant food. But they are a bit high in calories and fat so use portion control method.
5 Best Blood Pressure Lowering Foods
- Kale – Low in calories, it is widely considered a superfood for anyone with high blood pressure. It is rich in magnesium, potassium, and vitamin C. Foods high in potassium is strongly linked to lower blood pressure. Also, the effect of magnesium blood pressure enhances when combined with more potassium. Thus, it is effective at lowering Blood Pressure. One cup of kale, raw or cooked, provides 9% of the calcium, 6% of the magnesium, and 9% of the potassium which you need every day.
- Beets – These are high in nitric oxide, which can help open your blood vessels and lower blood pressure. Researchers found that the nitrates in beetroot juice lowered participants’ blood pressure within just 24 hours. Drink Beetroots juice or simply cook or eat it raw. It tastes delicious when roasted or included in stir-fries and stews.
- Yogurt – Low- and no-fat dairy foods are good sources of calcium and protein, which can help maintain healthy blood pressure. Take three servings of dairy every day. Choose skim or 1% milk, buttermilk, and low- or no-fat cheeses and yogurt.
- Pistachios – These are healthy to decrease blood pressure by reducing blood vessel tightening, and heart rate. A study found that eating one serving of pistachios a day can help reduce blood pressure. Include them in your diet by adding them to crusts, pesto sauces, and salads, or as a snack.
- Olive Oil – The cardiovascular benefits of olive oil is no secret and don’t be surprised to know it also helps in lowering blood pressure. It is the healthiest oil in the world and rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. Extra-virgin olive oil has the highest levels of beneficial components as it is the least processed. A study shows that extra-virgin olive oil helped reduce blood pressure by 48 percent compared with sunflower oil in 23 participants with high blood pressure.
Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure Without Medication
- Exercise Regularly – Exercise is one of the best things you can do to lower high blood pressure. The regular physical activity of at least 30 minutes most days of the week can help lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). People with hypertension can benefit from regular physical activity and can bring blood pressure down to safer levels. The best exercises to lower blood pressure are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or dancing. Consult your doctor and decide on a routine exercise program.
- Eat A Healthy Diet – Eat foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and low-fat dairy products and avoid saturated fat to reduce cholesterol as well as lower blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. Follow a DASH diet plan (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) specially meant to help people reduce high blood pressure. Eat more potassium-rich foods that will help your body get rid of sodium and ease pressure on your blood vessels.
- Reduce Sodium Intake – People with normal blood pressure, moderately high blood pressure, and hypertension can significantly lower their blood pressure by reducing salt intake. People with hypertension should limit their salt intake to less than 1,500 milligrams (600 milligrams of sodium) a day. A small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg. Eat fewer processed foods and avoid adding salt to foods for flavor, instead use herbs or spices.
- Limit Alcohol Intake – Alcohol is both good and bad for your health. Low-to-moderate amounts of alcohol can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg and may protect the heart. However, its negative effects may offset these benefits. In the US, moderate alcohol consumption means no more than one drink a day for women and two for men. Drinking more than these amounts may raise blood pressure by several points as well as reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.
- Manage Stress – Chronic stress means a faster heart rate and constricted blood vessels contributing to high blood pressure. When you feel stress you may start eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol, or smoking which may negatively affect blood pressure. Thus, find out the cause of feeling stressed and search for ways to eliminate or reduce stress. Reducing stress can help lower blood pressure. Manage your stress by listening to soothing music to feel relaxed, do activities you enjoy, work less, and relax more.
Natural Ways to Lower Cholesterol Without Medication
- Exercise – Regular exercise can boost good cholesterol and lowers bad cholesterol by as much as 5%. Take up any activity that may raise your heart rates, such as swimming, jogging, household work, or gardening. Aspire to exercise for 30-40 minutes, five days a week. Brisk one-hour walking can also help lower cholesterol and high blood pressure.
- Change Diet Plan – Follow a plant-based diet with more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains, along with meat substitutes like beans to lower cholesterol naturally. Also swap foods high in saturated fat, like red meat and full-fat dairy, for chicken or fish, and low-fat dairy products. Eat more polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats from Fatty fish, seeds, nuts, avocados, etc. Eat a lot more fiber-rich foods that have proven particularly good at lowering cholesterol. Excellent sources include oats, oat bran, sweet potatoes, legumes or beans, beets, okra, berries, oranges, apricots, etc.
- Take plant sterols supplement – Plant sterols, or plant stanols, are the plant version of cholesterol. When people consume in sufficient amounts, it can block the absorption of human cholesterol in the small intestine. A daily intake of 1 to 2 grams of plant sterols can help lower LDL cholesterol levels. Also, products like special margarine have plant sterols, but they also contain chemicals, so it is best to take a two-gram daily supplement.
- Lose Excess Weight – Eliminating excess weight is beneficial for many reasons. It can improve cholesterol levels and prevent diseases such as type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, gout, and many types of cancer. Remember to limit fat intake, all fats, whether good or bad, have nine calories per gram for about 100 calories a tablespoon. In a heart-healthy diet, heavy consumption of good fats like olive oil is also dense in calories and may lead to a heavy body so check your calorie intake too.
- Get 8-10 Hours Of Sleep Daily – Sleep deprivation raises low-density LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, contributing to high blood pressure, and leading to overeating. Hence, if you snore, or have problems sleeping, get enough sleep during the day. Also, check for common or dangerous sleep disorder like sleep apnea.
Changes in the diet plan, exercising and lifestyle improvement can help Lower Blood Pressure and Cholesterol without Medication. But, it is important to keep tabs on your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly.