This is one issue that there is a lot written about, and a lot of it contradicts each other. In the older books it says men are more likely to have high blood pressure. The newer books say women are more likely to have high blood pressure. I am not sure if our world has changed, or our methods of testing and recording information have changed.
High blood pressure can be defined as anything about the normal of 120/80. When it gets over 140/90 physicians become really concerned. Numbers that high indicate an increased risk of heart attack, but even more important they indicate and increased risk of a stroke. Most people consider that a low blood pressure shows good health, but there is such a thing as too low a blood pressure. This is usually seen in extreme illness or loss of blood.
The reason there are two numbers is that there are two parts to each heart beat. The first one can be considered the acting portion of the heartbeat. This is the period of time that the heart is contracting and pushing the blood out of itself and into the circulatory system. As you would suppose this number is supposed to be the higher number, which is always written first or on top of the other one. It is called the systolic number. The bottom number is called the diastolic number, and is recorded while the heart is resting between beats. This is the least pressure in your circulatory system.
In the past people with high blood pressure were put on the DASH diet. It is a low-fat, low-salt diet. In many ways it is a fairly good eating plan, but it doesnít work for everyone. That is because it turns out it isnít so much of how much salt you eat, but what kind of salt and even more importantly the ratio between that salt and potassium. The typical table salt is sodium chloride. It is a chemical version of what is found in nature. This is the type of salt that is hidden in almost every processed food. Sodium chloride tends to wake up the taste buds, so manufacturers use a lot of it even if the product they are making doesnít taste salty. The problem is that when it is hidden in everything we get a lot more of it than we think we do.
Most natural sources of salt contain other vitamins and minerals as well. As mentioned above Potassium is one of the most important. You should eat five times as much potassium as you do salt, but manufacturers donít put potassium in their processed foods. Nature typically packages its foods in the right ratios. Bananas are well known for their potassium, with over four hundred times as much potassium as sodium. Oranges, apples, celery and carrots are also storehouses for potassium.
Other minerals that need to be balanced are magnesium and calcium. An easy way to get the proper amount of magnesium is an Epsom salts bath. Your skin will actually absorb what it needs, while depositing things it considers toxic into the water.
Another thing that is highly suggested for those with high blood pressure is to lose weight. The vast majority of people with high blood pressure are overweight or even obese. Even if you are not overweight the things you would do to lose weight would be helpful to you as well. Eat a diet high in organic fruits and vegetables. Restrict all white sugar, white flour, and processed foods. Ingest alcohol and caffeine products sparingly. Get some exercise suitable to your fitness level. Even if you are at your ideal weight these things will help you lower your blood pressure. They will also help you improve your overall health.
Many of the dietary recommendations say to limit fats. In some ways they are right. You need to limit the types of fats, and only include the very best in your diet. Dairy fats need to be used in moderation. Hydrolyzed fats need to be limited completely. The good fats, including Omega 3ís and Coconut Oil (or other coconut products) need to be included generously. In our house we use coconut oil almost exclusively, adding a little olive oil on occasion for flavor or consistency.
Although we should get the majority of our nutrients from our food there is a time and place for supplementation. This is one of those times. One thing that thickens our blood is poor digestion. As you are switching from the Standard American Diet (SAD) you may find you get a little indigestion in the process. This is an indication that your body is not making the enzymes needed to digest the foods you are eating. It is also an indication that the fresh fruits and vegetables you are eating have been in storage a long time and/or have been irradiated. Both these things kill the enzymes that were originally in the food. In this case you will want to find a good enzyme supplement to take with your meals. I take Plant Enzymes with every meal to ensure good digestion. I have also seen under a microscope that these types of enzymes will clean out some of the debris that can clog and thicken our blood.
I also know that I get into eating habits, reaching for the same or similar foods for a period of time. This can throw my overall nutrition somewhat out of balance. To combat this I take a multivitamin every day. My favorite is Complete Vitamins Plus. It doesnít mean I can eat all the junk food I want, but it does mean I know I have a good foundation for my nutrition.
The conventional books say that the major risk factors for developing high blood pressure are: age, heredity, obesity and race. If you look at it that way the only thing you can control is your waist line. Nutritionists have found that your diet plays a major role in whether or not you follow the risk factors or go your own way. Donít fall into the trap of thinking there is nothing you can do. The medications prescribed today all have big side effects. Some of them are linked to cancer, Alzheimerís and other life threatening conditions. Be proactive and improve your life through diet, exercise and stress reduction. Take control of your future starting today.
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