If high blood pressure or hypertension is left untreated, it may result in stroke and heart disease. But, in case you manage your stress, eat healthy, and get regular exercise, you may reduce your blood pressure.
Your Diet Is Crucial to Increasing or Decreasing Your Blood Pressure
Do you suffer from high blood pressure and follow a low-fat, and high-grain diet? If so, this nutritional combination can do more harm than good to your health.
In 1998, the journal Diabetes published research suggesting that about 2/3 of the test subjects that experienced insulin resistance also suffered from hypertension Researchers concluded that there is a strong correlation between insulin resistance and a high-grain and high-sugar diet, particularly if followed by lack of exercise. If you suffer from high blood pressure, you are more likely to have poorly regulated blood glucose levels, since these 2 health issues usually go hand in hand.
According to Dr. Rosedale, insulin has an ability to store magnesium. But, in case you experience insulin resistance, your body cannot store magnesium. This means that the mineral gets out of your system through urination. In addition, magnesium accumulated in your cells can relax your muscles. In case your magnesium levels are too low, then you will experience constricted blood vessels, thus leading to an increase in your blood pressure and a reduction in your energy levels.
That’s not all, insulin can also have a negative impact on your blood pressure since it can trigger sodium retention. Moreover, the retention of sodium can result in retention of fluids, thus contributing to hypertension. It can also increase your risk of heart failure. In case your hypertension is caused by poorly controlled blood glucose levels, you should keep your blood glucose level under control in order to fight hypertension.
A High-Fructose Diet Can Significantly Increase Your Blood Pressure Levels
It is recommended to exclude all sugars and grains from your daily diet, especially fructose, until your blood pressure and body weight have normalized. The regular consumption of grains and sugars, including rice, potatoes, corn, pasta, or bread, can keep your insulin and blood pressure levels raised.
According to a study, those who took about 74 grams of fructose on a daily basis (about 3 sugary beverages) had a 77% higher possibility of experiencing blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg. What’s more, it also resulted in a 26% higher likelihood of a 135/85 blood pressure reading, and a 30% higher chance of 140/90 blood pressure reading.
This happens as the average American takes about 70g of fructose on a daily basis!
In fact, fructose typically breaks down into various waste materials, including uric acid. Furthermore, uric acid can suppress the nitric oxide in your blood vessels, thus increasing your risk of hypertension. (It is good to know that nitric oxide is responsible for keeping the elasticity of the blood vessels, so the inhibition of nitric oxide can cause an increase in blood pressure levels.)
Therefore, you should keep your total intake of fructose below 25g a day.
Other Important Dietary Recommendations
– Exclude Caffeine from Your Diet: The correlation between hypertension and caffeine consumption isn’t well understood. However, the regular consumption of coffee and other caffeinated beverages and foods can have a negative impact on your blood pressure.
In case you want to exclude caffeine from your diet, make sure you do it gradually within a period of several days or a couple of weeks to prevent withdrawal symptoms such as headaches.
– Optimize Your Omega 6 to Omega 3 Ratio: Omega-6 as well as omega-3 fatty acids are crucial to good overall health. The standard American diet includes a high amount of omega-6 and a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids. In case you experience insulin resistance, you should take omega-3 fats since they can re-sensitize your insulin receptors. In addition, omega-3 fatty acids are present in fish, flaxseed oil, and walnut oil. However, fish is the richest source of these fatty acids. Unluckily, almost all fresh fish nowadays possess high mercury levels. So, you should eat high-quality fish, or take high-quality krill oil.
On the other hand, omega-6 fatty acids are present in sunflower oil, safflower, canola, soy, and corn. In case you consume too much of these oils, then you should avoid consuming them.
– Introduce Fermented Foods in Your Diet: In case you have unhealthy gut flora, then you are at a higher risk of heart disease and any other chronic disease. You can improve the health of your gut flora by consuming naturally fermented foods, including sauerkraut and any other fermented veggie, natto, kefir, and yogurt. Moreover, fermented foods are rich in vitamin K2. This vitamin can help prevent plaque buildup in your arteries, thus reducing your risk of heart disease.
Manage Your Stress Levels
There is a strong correlation between hypertension and stress. As a result of this, Dr. Kennedy, a cardiologist, developed a stress-alleviating technique called “The 15 Minute Heart Cure.” It includes a few creative visualization and breathing techniques, which can be practiced almost anywhere and anytime. This stress-reducing technique is demonstrated in the video above. You should teach your body to relax and slow down in stressful situations in order to prevent serious health problems, including heart disease.
You can also use the Emotional Freedom Technique to release your negative emotions. It includes calm and relaxed breathing, visualization, and more.
Optimize the Levels of Vitamin D in Your Body
Are you familiar with the fact that the farther you live from the equator, the greater your chance of hypertension
This means that sunlight has a positive impact on blood pressure levels:
- Getting adequate sun exposure can cause your body to create vitamin D. On the contrary, not getting adequate sun exposure decreases your vitamin D stores as well as elevates the production of parathyroid hormone, thus raising your blood pressure.
- Lack of vitamin D has been associated with insulin resistance and Metabolic Syndrome, also referred to as Syndrome X. Metabolic syndrome is actually a set of health issues characterized by high blood pressure, insulin resistance, increased triglyceride and cholesterol levels, and obesity.
- Lack of this vitamin D can also negatively affect your body’s renin-angiotensin system that plays an important role in keeping your blood pressure levels under control.
- UV exposure is believed to stimulate the secretion of endorphins, i.e., chemicals in the brain, which create feelings of pain relief and euphoria. Furthermore, endorphins can naturally reduce stress, thus helping in the regulation of your blood pressure.
The best option to get optimal vitamin D is through safe sunshine exposure or a safe tanning bed. However, you can also take a high-quality vitamin D3 supplement. You should not allow your doctor to give you a “prescription” vitamin D because it is actually vitamin D2, a synthetic vitamin and not effective as the vitamin D3.
If you take oral vitamin D3 supplements, you have to observe the vitamin D levels in your blood in order to prevent overdosing.
Get Regular Exercise
A comprehensive exercise regimen, including Peak Fitness program, is extremely beneficial for hypertension patients. You may want to practice anaerobic sprint or burst-type exercises 1-3 times within a period of 1 week, since they are more useful for decreasing your likelihood of dying from a heart attack.
In case you suffer from insulin resistance, then you should incorporate weight training in your daily exercise program. Working individual muscle groups elevates blood flow to those muscles, thus elevating insulin sensitivity. Moreover, depending on your physical condition when you start practicing these exercises, you should consult a health care professional to help increase the intensity needed to reduce your insulin level.
Researchers have found that chronic heart failure patients who got regular exercise and took a L-arginine supplement fixed the abnormal functioning of their blood vessels.
Additional Recommendations to Normalize Your Blood Pressure:
Even though many supplements are beneficial, keep in mind that you should not use them as an alternative to basic lifestyle choices. Taking supplements without making any dietary and lifestyle changes is an allopathic approach similar to taking drugs. This approach may not be effective.
After you have made the above mentioned dietary and lifestyle changes, you should take these supplements to regulate your blood pressure:
- Supplement with olive leaf extract. It has been found that taking 1,000 mg of the extract every day within a period of 2 months resulted in a dramatic reduction in bad (LDL) cholesterol and blood pressure levels in borderline hypertension patients. However, it is important to use fresh leaf liquid extracts to get best results. Also, you can make olive leaf tea. Simply place 1 tsp. of dried olive leaves in a herb sack or tea ball. Moreover, place it in 2 quarts of boiling water. Finally, leave it to steep for about 10 minutes.
- Take vitamin E and vitamin C. Many studies have proven that both vitamins are beneficial for reducing blood pressure. The best option to get the right amount of these vitamins is through your diet alone. But, if you want to take supplements, you should use only natural form of these vitamins. It is important to know that the natural form of vitamin E is listed as the “d-” form (d-beta-tocopherol, d-alpha-tocopherol, etc.), whereas the synthetic form of this vitamin is listed as “dl-” forms.
- Take high-quality magnesium and calcium supplements. Taking magnesium and calcium supplements can be quite effective at decreasing your blood pressure, particularly if it is on the high end of high.
- Increase nitric monoxide in your blood. By elevating nitric monoxide in your blood you can actually open your constricted blood vessels and reduce your blood pressure. This technique includes consuming bitter melon, packed with vitamin C and amino acids; breathing out and in through one nostril; and taking a warm bath.
- Use electrical acupuncture. Researchers have found that acupuncture along with electrical stimulation temporarily prevented an increase in blood pressure in animals by a whopping 50%. This holistic approach to regulate blood pressure is currently undergoing testing in human subjects.
Simply evaluate your lifestyle as well as make the necessary lifestyle and dietary changes in order to keep your blood pressure levels under control.
- Houston, Mark. ”What Your Doctor May Not Tell You about Hypertension”;
- Braverman, Eric. ”Hypertension and Nutrition”;
- Selzer, Arthur. ”Understanding Heart Disease”;