One of the most common issues that is popping up nowadays for both the young and old is high blood pressure.
According to the National Health and Morbidity Survey 2011, hypertension affects more than 32% of Malaysians aged 18 and above. Although high blood pressure is commonly passed off as “heredity” and treated with a prescription of pills, I believe in improving blood pressure the natural way.
Understanding blood pressure
When the heart pumps blood around your body, it does so with a certain amount of force. The amount of force will depend on how much resistance there is in the arteries. In terms of your blood pressure reading, this is the top/higher number.
The second/lower number indicates the amount of pressure that is in the arteries between each heartbeat. You could call this your “baseline.”
Why we get high blood pressure
The number of causes for high blood pressure is plenty. But common causes include too much blood volume (this is caused by salt retaining too much water which is why the number one tip to reduce blood pressure is to also reduce your salt intake), the arteries are stiff or restricted (they are unable to expand, often due to arteriosklerosis or hormonal imbalances) or stress among others.
What can you do about it?
The following natural remedies are proven to have a positive effect on your blood pressure.
Reduce grains and fruits
It has been shown that a high grain and fruit diet leads to insulin resistance. Insulin helps to store magnesium in the cells, but if the cells are resistant to insulin, they can’t store it. Given that magnesium acts as a relaxant for tissues, this poses an issue. Insulin also retains sodium (salt) and fluids – another cause of high blood pressure. In addition, fructose increases the amount of uric acid in the body, which then increases the blood pressure and inhibits nitric oxide whose job is to dilate blood vessels. It is recommended that we only digest around 25g of fructose a day of which only 15g should come from fruit - this is equivalent to around two bananas.
Increase calcium, magnesium and potassium
All of these minerals help to normalise blood pressure. Good sources include white beans, yoghurt, bananas, potatoes, sweet potatoes and broccoli as well as many others.
Eat more Omega-6, and especially 3
These fatty acids are essential to your health. Although most people get more than enough omega-6, make sure that you get enough omega-3 fatty acids as well. You can get this by eating walnuts or flaxseed oil for example.
Make sure that you get your Q10
Q10 is a co-enzyme that every cell needs to produce energy. It has been shown that Q10 helps to digest food better and protect the heart. You can get it with mackerel and peanuts, but if you can’t access these foods, it is also available as a supplement.
As much as coffee has become a staple for most people, the truth is that caffeine spikes your heart rate and blood pressure. Therefore, switching to decaf or even better, herbal teas is recommended.
Do cardio and weight training
Aim to do cardio six days a week for at least 30 minutes per session. A weekly routine that looks like this is one of the best “pills” for blood pressure and has been proven to lower it over time. Weight training is especially important as well because it helps to balance the blood sugar level (muscles are hungry for sugar) and combats insulin resistance.
We’ve said it before, but we’ll say it again - we lackvitamin D. This can lead to an increase in a hormone of your thyroid (the parathyroid), which then increases the blood pressure, so get outside and get some vitamin D!
Doing some exercises and eating the right things take care of the physical part but 50% of the battle is mental as well. You can get some tips on destressing here -Don’t Stress your Life Away andHow to Destress with Reiki Master Martin Fields.
If you are currently struggling with high blood pressure, give these tips a try and let me know how you get on!