High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is an extremely common condition that affects nearly everyone at some point. The heart has to work to pump blood through the arteries. If the arteries are narrow and the heart has to pump more blood, the person will likely have higher blood pressure because of the restricted blood flow. A person with a blood pressure reading of 140/90 mm Hg or higher is considered to have High Blood Pressure. If you don’t take action and treat High Blood Pressure, there is a higher risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or even having kidney failure.
Symptoms of High Blood Pressure
Most people with High Blood Pressure rarely experience symptoms. If blood pressure readings are extremely high, then the person may still be without symptoms. Symptoms don’t usually occur unless there is an extreme spike in blood pressure, or if blood pressure reaches a life-threatening level. The few symptoms include:
- Shortness of Breath
- Dizzy Spells
Causes of High Blood Pressure
1 in every 3 American adults has High Blood Pressure and women are just as likely to develop it as men. The exact cause is unknown, but High Blood Pressure is believed to occur from a combination of issues. High Blood Pressure affects more men under age 45 than it does women, but the percentage of women increases after age 55. The reason the for the increased percentage of women is because estrogen levels fall after menopause. Contraceptive pills may increase a woman’s risk for High Blood Pressure, so check it regularly if on a birth control pill. Other causes include:
- Physical Inactivity
- Poor Dietary Choices
- High Salt Intake
- Contraceptive Pills (for women)
- Extreme Alcohol Consumption
- Older Age
- Adrenal or Thyroid Issues
When your diet has a high amount of salt in it, your body will hold extra water, which increases blood pressure. In addition to avoiding salt, it’s best to steer clear of fast foods, processed foods, or canned foods. Use salt-free seasonings, or Himalayan or sea salt in low amounts. A salt alternative, which is more beneficial to the body, is Dulse. Dulse provides sodium and potassium, which is an essential sodium-balancing mineral. Both sodium and potassium work together to provide proper fluid balance inside and outside each cell. Additionally, keep a heart-healthy diet, which avoids hydrogenated ingredients, high fat content, and incorporates fresh fruits and vegetables.
A little exercise goes a long way to helping reduce High Blood Pressure. It’s important to exercise daily, as this can reduce stress and promote healthy circulation. Start off by incorporating a daily walk into your routine. Make a scheduled time every day to exercise and stick to it. If you are limited by knee, hip, or back injuries, try swimming, yoga, rebounding, or using a recumbent bike. Aim for 40 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity 3-4 times per week if you want to lower blood pressure or cholesterol.
If you have a poor diet or eat lots of sodium, chances are that your body’s pH balance is heavily acidic. It’s best to avoid alcohol, sugar, meat, processed foods, and grains because these are the top 5 acid forming foods. To keep your heart healthy and lower blood pressure it’s ideal to have a neutral pH balance. You can do this by incorporating alkaline foods into your diet. Eat dark leafy greens, organic apple cider vinegar, berries, peaches, or root veggies like beets and turnips.
Lemon juice is high in vitamin C, which is an antioxidant that helps neutralize the damaging effects of free radicals. Lemon keeps blood vessels soft and loosens things up, which can help reduce your blood pressure. Do not drink bottled lemon juice or anything from concentrate, as it can have sweetener or added sugars. Take the juice of half a lemon, mix it in a cup (8oz) of warm water, and drink in the morning on an empty stomach.
This may seem like it is easier said than done, but there are many ways one can easily reduce stress. First, identify what makes you stressed and then eliminate it or channel that energy towards something like yoga, meditation, or tai chi. You can also increase your daily intake of magnesium, as it helps to naturally lower stress. You can take a magnesium supplement, or you can incorporate magnesium-rich foods like bananas, avocados, spinach, raw almonds, pine nuts, cashews, lima beans, chickpeas, or Swiss chard into your diet.
Things You Should Eat
- Dark Leafy Greens (spinach, kale, chard, & collards)
- Lima Beans
- Raw Almonds
- Pine Nuts
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Dark Berries (blueberries & blackberries)