Q: My blood pressure has been up and my doctor wants to put me on medicine. I heard that you can lower blood pressure with food, but I don’t want any drastic changes. What do you suggest?
A: Absolutely yes you can lower your blood pressure with food and it can be done in 2 ways –by adding more foods into your life that are rich in blood-pressure-reducing potassium and by reducing foods high in artery-clogging ingredients. You can do one or the other, but I suggest both for better results. Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor before starting a new eating plan or altering, discontinuing or reducing your medication. Suggestions below are food-based and are not treatments without personal consultation with a doctor.
Here are my top tips for how to adjust your eating lifestyle:
1. What to include or increase:
Avocados - because they are so rich in potassium, try adding slices of avocado to your sandwiches or go wild and try my chocolate mousse recipe, made with avocado instead of artery-clogging cream. You gotta try it to believe it!
Coconut water – one of my favorite sources of potassium that I enjoy almost everyday. Add it to your smoothies or drink straight up instead of soda, juice or Gatorade. Try Harmless Harvest brand or straight out of a young coconut. If you decide on the latter, ask the grocery store to open it for you. I did it the hard way and tried to open myself. It ended up in the garbage. Oops. Learn from my mistakes!
Sweet potatoes and regular potatoes – potatoes have been getting a bad rep because of the carbs, however they are also loaded with fiber and blood-pressure reducing potassium. (Check out my previous post on how to reduce carbs in potatoes if that’s a concern for you) Enjoy these baked as a side dish and add some pink Himalayan salt, Miyoko’s butter or plant-based sour cream for an ultimate treat.
Cucumbers – chop up cucumbers in your salad or juice them to get a good dose of potassium.
Tomatoes - due to their content of lycopene, tomatoes have shown to be able to significantly lower blood pressure. Because it has been discovered that sun dried tomatoes have more lycopene, I created this no-cooking tomato soup that's now my favorite way to get lycopene. Check out the video below - it is an oldie, but a goodie!
Bananas – best way to enjoy bananas is to peel and freeze them. Then add to smoothies or blend without liquid into a delicious ice cream treat. You can always make an eAZy snack – split the banana, punch in a few chocolate chips to both halves, spread a small peanut butter packet on both sides, close and enjoy as an awesome sandwich!
2. What to reduce/exclude all together:
The most important foods to reduce or exclude are any and all animal proteins and plain salt. I know it may sound frightening, but what’s more difficult – dealing with high blood pressure, taking medications and dealing with repercussions or trying new plant-based meat substitutes and feeling awesome? You gotta pick your difficult.
Here are some really eAZy swaps to try:
Burgers (and anything that requires ground beef)
Try Beyond Meat ground beef in your recipes instead of red meat. You will get double the iron, reduce saturated fat by almost half and skip out on cholesterol! Dress is up with your favorite toppings and you may never be able to tell the difference.
Bratwursts and sausages
Again, I am a big lover of Beyond Meat bratwursts and use them all the time. They are excellent lightly fried and added to pastas, as pizza toppings or served with your favorite veggies and potatoes. You will get delicious flavor without any artery-clogging cholesterol.
If you love butter, there is no reason to never have it again. Simply swap it for Miyoko’s European Style butter and add to high-quality organic bread or potatoes.
I know this may sound crazy, but hear me out and then try marinated and then grilled portobello mushrooms instead of a steak! You may be thinking that wouldn’t be enough calories, so thinking ahead, I want you to try this recipe with stuffed Portobello caps. Because they are stuffed with nuts, you will get plenty of calories and will feel full and satisfied.
This is the easiest one of all – simply swap plain white kosher table salt that has no nutrients for a pink Himalayan salt, high-mineral sea salt of Real salt. You can easily order these on Amazon without leaving your home and get a good dose of nutrition with your salt. Do try reducing or skipping salt when possible and adding celery to your daily meals for a healthy source of sodium.
This is a tough one, I will be honest with you. Unfortunately I haven’t found veggie bacon that tastes and feels like the real thing. You can definitely try the ones that are on the market and see what you think for yourself. Additionally, my suggestions here are:
-If you like bacon because it’s salty, try adding salsa to your meal instead.
-If you like bacon because it’s greasy, try adding avocado to your dishes.
-If you like bacon because it’s crispy, try adding crunchy ingredients like potato chips cooked in coconut oil or give coconut-based bacon a try.
-If you like bacon because it’s smoky, try adding smoked salt or liquid smoke to you food.
If you don’t want to give up bacon at all, then at least substitute all of it or at the bare minimum half of it with turkey bacon. Also have lots of veggies after and skip bread and other starches.
Z-TIP: If you do indulge in bacon (even turkey one) please take digestive enzymes before and after the meal and drink hot water with lemon after the meal and during the day. Don’t drink anything cold with the meal or right after.
Good news for meat-eaters:
You don’t have to give up all animal proteins if you need to lower your blood pressure. Did you know that fish that’s rich in Omega -3 essential fatty acids is actually good for lowering blood pressure? Try sardines or wild salmon for the best sources and avoid farm-raised Atlantic salmon as it is filled with additives.
Z-TIP: if you are craving salty flavor to go with your eggs, try smoked wild salmon instead of bacon.
Why ask me?
- After many challenges and different crazy life experiences I am living my dream life and since my friends say I am pretty wisdomous and I think I am a little bit funny too, I want to share my life approach with you so you can live the life you love as well.
Here is a little bit about me:
- I am a creator of #1 Best Diet as selected by Harpers Baazar Magazine
- I started my career in the corporate world and didn't even know how to peel a shallot
- I have been a chef for celebrities for over 10 years
- I have a realistic approach to food and life
- I have a great relationship with food and can even let chocolate go bad because I simply forget I have it at home (something I wasn't able to do 10 years ago)
- I eat carbs whenever I feel like it without any guilt
- I used to hate to cook and now absolutely love being a private chef and a food relationship coach
- I wear whatever clothes I desire no matter what everyone is wearing or thinking
- I am in good shape and my body’s biological age is 13 years younger than the one in my passport
- I have experience being super poor, super wealthy and in between
- I’ve worked in corporate world and am now an entrepreneur
- I was married and divorced
- I used to cry going to work because I was so miserable with my boss
- I’ve had an emotional eating disorder
- I moved from Russia to USA alone at the age of 15
- I’ve lived in Russia, Europe and on both coasts of USA
- I have been super skinny and overweight
- I have been insecure and unhappy with reasons and secure and happy for no reason
- I used to wear glasses and healed my eyes with the power of thought and exercises
- I created "Couture Nutrition®" so you can have tailor-made solutions for your body and soul
- My brain usually comes up with jokes to soften stressful situations
- I think color coordination, sparkles and rainbows are underused