How to “beet” stress

With all the uncertainty and chaos in the world right now, we Americans are about as stressed as we've ever been.

And when there's stress, there's something else you need to be mindful of… your blood pressure.

Stress can trigger your body's fight or flight response, which can have a negative impact on your blood pressure levels.

Which is why managing your stress levels is so critical right now.

Whenever I start to feel overwhelmed and stressed out, I hit the pause button, retreat to a quiet space, and practice some deep breathing exercises.

I use my stomach muscles to breath in. And then just relax those same muscles to exhale without any effort.

Five minutes a day of deep breathing and I feel like a new – more relaxed – person.

But deep breathing isn't all you can do.

The foods you eat can also play a role in keeping your blood pressure healthy.

Just about everyone knows sodium consumption plays a role in maintaining healthy BP.

But it's not necessarily the amount of sodium that's a problem, but the ratio of sodium to potassium.

You see, most folks don't get enough potassium to offset their heavy sodium intake.

So, if you've been stress eating chips and ice cream while world events are playing out, you need to up your potassium intake to balance that out.

Good sources of potassium include leafy greens, tomatoes, potatoes, sweet potatoes, bananas, oranges and apricots.

Or, if you're really concerned about this, a small can of low-sodium V8® packs a major dose of potassium, in just a few calories.

There's also a super tasty treat that does wonders for healthy blood pressure: Dark chocolate.

Dark chocolate is rich in phenols and flavonoids, which help maintain normal blood pressure levels.

One study found that eating about 30 calories of dark chocolate a day helped to support healthy blood pressure... without putting on the pounds or other adverse results.

It's important to note that these health benefits were found with dark chocolate.

Milk chocolate does not offer the same protection. Eating a Kit Kat® each day is NOT going to lower your BP.

Look for dark chocolate containing at least 70% cacao content and indulge a little.

You can also eat some blueberries.

Blueberries get their dark blue color from antioxidants known as anthocyanins. And these potent antioxidants have been shown to support healthy blood pressure.

Ever tried beetroot? It's a "superfood" for your blood pressure.

You see, beetroots, commonly known as beets, are packed with vital vitamins, minerals and other health boosting nutrients... like nitrates and nitrites.

These two nutrients have been scientifically shown to boost nitric oxide levels, a special molecule that helps your blood vessel walls open wider.

And the wider your blood vessels, the better your blood flow... and the better your blood pressure.

Incorporating beets into your diet is simple and delicious.

I personally like to grate a few roots to create a tasty slaw. It makes a great side dish, especially if you add them to celery, which is also good for BP.

Or sometimes I'll add the slaw to a sandwich for some crunch and texture.

You can even use the leaves of the beetroot to make a salad.

If you're worried about current events, or just anxious in general about what the future holds, incorporate some of these foods on hand to help keep your blood pressure in check. 

And don't forget to breathe.

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