7 Fall Foods to Help Lower Blood Pressure

Although high blood pressure is one of the most common ailments to affect the modern world, it is also one of the most easily remedied conditions; changing your lifestyle is the key! Reducing the amount of processed foods you consume, along with increasing the volume of whole and natural foods you consume, combined with moderate exercise and adequate rest, are the corner-stones to reducing high blood pressure and maintaining a healthy, energetic life. Fortunately, Fall provides a bounty of  foods that are not only tasty, but have just the right ingredients to get your blood pressure on track.

Be sure to check out: 7 Foods to Help Lower Blood Pressure and 5 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Without Medication for more tips for lowering blood pressure naturally.

Acorn Squash, and other winter and fall squashes such as pumpkin, butternut squash, kabocha, and banana squash, are a delicious addition to any meal (or as a meal!) for those looking to lower and maintain healthy blood pressure. Acorn squash boasts an impressive amount of the minerals magnesium and potassium, as well as some calcium. Adequate amounts of these minerals are important for maintaining healthy blood pressure, as they directly help to regulate proper blood vessel function (and thus blood pressure). In addition, acorn squash contains numerous other beneficial nutrients, such as Beta-carotene and Vitamin C. Both these nutrients are important for helping to reduce inflammation in your body — reducing levels of inflammation is also important for reducing high blood pressure, but also important for reducing your risk for all other diseases, especially heart disease. Not sure how to eat acorn squash? Try roasting it in the oven and preparing the seeds. It’s simple to prepare, and you can prepare all the winter squashes the same way!

Brussels Sprouts are commonly despised by children and adults alike, yet are one of the most health promoting foods you can consume! When it comes to blood pressure, they’re almost ideal! Brussels sprouts contain an impressive amount of potassium, one of those all-important electrolytes important for regulating blood pressure. Being a member of the cabbage family, they also contain large amounts of Vitamin C, Beta-carotene, calcium, fiber, and beneficial phytonutrients that decrease inflammation and help reduce your risk for all forms of cancer. Most people are introduced to Brussels sprouts steamed, which is perhaps the least appetizing way they can be prepared. Try cutting your Brussels sprouts in half, coating them with a bit of olive oil, tossing them with your favorite spices (a generic seasoning spice is wonderful), and roasting in the oven at 400°F for tasty vegetable dish!

Apples are said to keep the doctor away for good reason! This fruit seems common place in the face of other ‘superfruits’ (like pomegranate and açaí) that we tend to forget it’s substantial health benefits. Apples contain a unique kind of soluble fiber called pectin. Pectin has been linked to lowering high cholesterol levels, reducing body inflammation, improving elimination, and reducing high blood pressure. Apples also boast a respectable amount of Vitamin C and an antioxidant called quercetin, which has been shown to increase oxygen availability in your lungs, thereby increasing overall endurance and relieving stress on your body. Try eating apples raw, baked or sauteed, or even make your own apple sauce!

Pumpkin Seeds, also known as pepitas, are usually available year-round at most grocery stores, but can be made fresh during the Fall! Pumpkin seeds contain large amounts of magnesium, an important mineral for maintaining healthy blood pressure and blood flower. A single serving of pumpkin seeds (1/4 cup) can contain as much as 50% of your recommended daily intake of magnesium! Pumpkin seeds also boast significant quantities of Vitamin E and zinc, two important nutrients required to promote optimal health, including supporting a healthy libido. Pumpkin seeds are especially beneficial for men, with numerous studies suggesting that consuming pumpkin seeds regularly will help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. You can eat pumpkin seeds shelled (pepitas), or prepare your own by saving the seeds from jack-o-lanterns and roasting them in the oven. This can also be done with any seeds you save from other winter squashes, such as acorn squash!

Sweet Potato, while not considered as villainous as the potato before it, is frequently served loaded with large quantities of fats and brown sugar. But like the potato, it is extremely beneficial to helping to reduce high blood pressure. Sweet potatoes contain ample amounts of those important electrolytes magnesium and potassium, and also a hefty quantity of Vitamin C. Sweet potatoes take the nutrition level up from potatoes in that they also contain large amounts of Beta-carotene, helping to reduce your body’s inflammation. In addition, sweet potatoes having a lower Glycemic index than potatoes, making them a more ideal choice for those looking to regulate blood sugar. Eat sweet potatoes steamed or baked, and try to avoid them fried as sweet potato fries (a new trend) or candied (as frequently served for Thanksgiving).

Kale is a nutrient powerhouse of a vegetable. Like the Brussels sprout, it is also a member of the cabbage family. I had a recent article about the full health benefits of kale, but it’s so nutritious it was worth mentioning again! Kale contains a very large quantity of potassium, but also contains large amounts of Vitamin C, Vitamin K, calcium, magnesium, and Omega 3 fats — all of which are important for regulating a healthy blood pressure, and largely work in conjunction with each other! Since Kale is a member of the cabbage family, be sure to cook it the majority of the time you consume it, such as by steaming or sauteed lightly.

No Fall, Winter, or holiday treat is complete with the blood pressure reducing herb that is Cinnamon! While cinnamon is largely known for being delicious, it is most frequently touted for helping to regulate blood sugar levels. However, more recent studies have also shown cinnamon to be an important addition to helping regulate healthy blood pressure levels. The blood pressure regulating effect of cinnamon has been shown to be even more powerful for those looking to regulate blood sugar levels. While it is unknown exactly why cinnamon is beneficial for regulating blood pressure, it likely has to do with lowering overall inflammation in the body. Sprinkle cinnamon on your oatmeal in the morning, or especially on your baked apples and acorn squash!

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup Recipe

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup

By Chef Jamie Woolner

As I’ve mentioned, I looooove fall…mostly for the squash. With all the squash to choose from, pumpkin has to be my favorite. When the holidays come, I use it as an excuse to make pumpkin-themed everything. I have a friend who swaps cooking days with me, and we come up with new pumpkin-themed meals every week. When I tried this pumpkin soup by Chef Jamie, I begged him to share the recipe. Kabocha is a Japanese pumpkin, and it has a wonderful, creamy texture. It is the perfect base for a hearty, filling soup that will warm you during the chilly days of fall.

Serves 5

Ingredients:

1 Whole Kabocha Pumpkin cut in half (found at your local Japanese Market)

2 sliced onions

2 garlic cloves, mincedScooping out kabocha squash

2 tsp pumpkin spice

Salt tt

4 cups water

1/2 cup cream or dairy substitute (optional)

2 tsp olive oil for sautéing

Special Equipment:

Blender, Ladle, Sheet Pan, Stock Pot, Sauté Pan, Knife, Cutting Board, bowls for hold ingredients, wooden spoon

1.) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place pumpkin halves-cut side down-on a greased baking sheet. When the oven is ready, put in thRoasting Kabochae pumpkin halves and cook for about 45 minutes, or until a butter knife slips through easily.

2.) While the pumpkin is cooking, heat a pan with the olive oil and sauté the onions on medium heat. Once the onions are colored nutty brown and translucent, then add the garlic. Cook for one more minute, being sure not to burn the garlic.

3.) Once the pumpkins are soft, scoop out the seeds and discard. You can also wash the seeds clean, then toast until crunchy and slightly browned, and use them as a garnish for the soup. Once the seeds are removed, scoop out the meat and place into a blender. Blend in four stages; at each stage add a quarter of all of the following ingredients: pumpkin meat, sautéed onion, garlic and water.  Blending Kabocha

4.) Once you’ve finished blending, add the blended ingredients to a large pot. Simmer and reduce. The soup is down simmering once it can coat the back of the spoon, but isn’t as thick as mashed potatoes. If you are adding cream, add it now. Season the soup with salt and pumpkin spice and finish with toasted pumpkin seeds, milk foam, caramelized onion or a combination of all three.

Note: Season well once you have the consistency you want. Remember, not too thick, not too thin. The soup should coat a spoon thinly and remain their like cream consistency.

Kabocha Pumpkin Soup

Chef JamiChef Jamie Woolnere Woolner studied culinary arts at The Art Institute of California. He has cooked in many restaurants making Japanese, Latin, Italian, and American cuisine. Currently he owns and operates Pizza of Venice, CA, where he supplies events and restaurants with custom pizzas. You can find his company on facebook: http://www.facebook.com/povpizza