How to Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally
High blood pressure affects 50 million Americans and is nothing to take lightly. High blood pressure can cause kidney damage, stroke and heart attacks. There are some simple and natural ways to lower your high blood pressure. The best time to lower your high blood pressure is before you are diagnosed with it.
High blood pressure (Hypertension) is defined when the top number (systolic) is at or above 140 and the bottom number (diastolic) is 90 or greater. So if you took your blood pressure and it read 140 over 90 or above, you would be considered as having high blood pressure. Systolic pressure is the pressure in the vessels when the heart contracts and the diastolic pressure is that of the blood between heartbeats when the heart is at rest. Normal is 120/80 and very good is 110/70.
Stages of high blood pressure
· Normal: 120/80
· Pre-hypertension: 120-139/80-89
· Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159/90-99
· Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 or higher/100 or higher.
Once again, studies and doctors opinions are confusing us. Some say caffeine doesn’t raise blood pressure. Drink a lot of coffee and have your blood pressure taken and see just how high it is. For a long time it was said too much salt caused high blood pressure, then the medical community told us salt wasn’t the cause. And now they are back to telling us salt is a cause of high blood pressure. Maybe the main cause of high blood pressure is all of these studies and the medical groups constantly changing their story.
According to the American Heart Association, in 95% of high blood pressure cases, the cause is not known. This is called essential hypertension. Then they then go on to say that diet is most likely the cause. The known factors of high blood pressure are:
· Being overweight or obese
· Lack of physical activity
· Too much alcohol
· Too much salt in the diet
· A diet high in animal foods, cholesterol and fat
· Genetics and family history of high blood pressure
· Adrenal or thyroid disease
· Chronic kidney disease
· Insufficient intake of potassium, magnesium and calcium
· Use of birth control pills
· Certain drugs like amphetamines in diet pills and some cold and allergy medicines
A change in diet is the most important change you can do for yourself if you have high blood pressure. Today it is easier to just go to the doctor and get a prescription for one of the many drugs that lower the blood pressure while the patient continues to eat a diet that causes the high blood pressure to begin with, relying on the expensive drugs with odd side effects.
Saturated fat in the diet is a cause of high blood pressure. The fat causes fatty deposits in the arteries and blood vessels and can partially clog them. This narrows them; then since they are narrower than normal, the heart pumps harder and this is one of the ways diet causes high blood pressure. This doesn’t happen overnight but it does happen, it is called atherosclerosis. Do not eat fried foods. Limit the amount of animal foods you eat which are high in fat and cholesterol. If you eat meat, eat skinless organic or natural chicken or turkey breasts. Eat lean meat such as grass-fed beef or buffalo, which are also higher in nutrients than the normal feedlot type of beef. Do not eat smoked, cured or processed meats like bologna, hotdogs or smoked meats.
Sodium and Salt. There is sodium in all food, especially processed food. For example, look at a small can of condensed soup. A 10.5-ounce (298 g) can of Campbell’s French onion soup with beef stock has 900 mg (milligrams) of sodium per serving. But you have to look at the serving size. This can says there are 2 ½ servings per can. Most people will eat the whole can of soup, which is only one normal size bowl. Multiple 900 mg by 2.5 and you have a whopping 2,250 mg of sodium. The daily RDA for sodium is at most 2,400 mg. And this one can of soup has almost the entire daily amount. The average American eats 4,000 – 5,000 mg of sodium per day. Limit the processed foods and processed meat you eat and don’t add salt to any of your meals. Always look at the sodium amount on the package and the serving size. I think you will be surprised at just how much sodium is in these packaged foods.
Potassium, magnesium and calcium; More studies are showing that these nutrients are important for keeping blood pressure normal. Eat more foods containing these nutrients. You need to get your potassium from food and we need at least 3,500 mg per day. For adults the RDA for magnesium is 300 – 400 mg per day. For calcium the required daily amount is 1,000 mg.
A vegetarian diet will certainly lower your high blood pressure. Eat plant foods like beans, legumes, whole grains, brown rice, vegetables and fruits. These foods can lower your blood pressure. A high fiber diet is a great way to lower high blood pressure.
Limit alcohol to one drink per day, that’s one beer or one glass of wine. Some people are more sensitive to alcohol and their blood pressure can rise with any alcohol. If you feel your blood pressure rise with just one drink, you shouldn’t drink any alcohol.
Caffeine does raise blood pressure. All you have to do is drink too much coffee and feel dizzy or your heart beating faster. Limit your coffee to a couple of cups per day or switch to tea. Tea is healthy and there are many teas to choose from.
Limit sugar. More studies are showing that sugar raises blood pressure. It is thought that this happens because sugar stimulates the adrenal glands. New studies show that corn syrup in soda and other products is another cause of high blood pressure.
Stress is a cause of high blood pressure. Exercise will help relieve stress. Even if is just something like walking around the block a couple of times, riding a stationary bike to get started or yoga and tai chi. You should talk to your doctor before starting an exercise program.
Losing weight is, of course, an obvious way to lower high blood pressure. And a change to a healthier diet is a great start to losing weight.
Meditation has been shown to reduce stress and high blood pressure. Meditation takes practice, but once you get the hang of it, it will make you feel much better.
There are other reasons for high blood pressure, which can be corrected. If you have stage 2 high blood pressure, your doctor might want to put you on medication to lower your blood pressure. If you combine an exercise program and a change in diet, you won't have to be on the medication very long.
© 2009 Sam Montana
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