High blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the top 4 silent killers because it has no early significant symptoms. The American Heart Association estimates that up to one third of people living with high blood pressure are unaware of the fact that their blood pressure is high, and many people are unaware of the risks of high blood pressure.
High Blood Pressure: Major Risk Factor for Heart Disease
The danger from high blood pressure is the extra load on the heart, leading to complications such as hypertensive heart disease. High blood pressure can also seriously damage the kidneys. And it does all this silently, without any major symptoms, except when the high blood pressure gets extreme.
High blood pressure is usually one of the first signs that the cardiovascular system is lacking key nutrients and is under serious stress and deterioration. This is due to the heart’s extra force required to push the blood through the arteries eventually causing damage to the inner lining of the arteries.
This, in turn, causes inflammation and oxidative stress, leaving the arteries susceptible to the buildup of fatty plaque that can narrow or block the arteries and reduce blood flow to the body’s organs.
In some men, this can lead to erectile dysfunction, which may be an early sign of endothelial dysfunction, which is a precursor to cardiovascular disease. However, because of the success and popularity of ED drugs such as Viagara and Cialis, most men fail to address their cardiovascular health. As a result, a heart attack or a stroke is imminent unless there is some form of intervention, e. g. dietary, lifestyle changes.
WARNING! When left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to cardiovascular disease (aka heart disease), congestive heart failure (CHF), kidney damage, heart failure, stroke, and loss of vision from damage to the retina.
Unfortunately, high blood pressure is a “silent” symptom that goes undetected for years until another problem arises that triggers the need for a physical exam, e.g. blurry vision, constant headaches, heart arrhythmia, kidney problems.
The key organs that are involved with high blood pressure include the heart, kidneys, arteries, and the neural and hormonal systems. The combination of high blood pressure, obesity and diabetes is particularly stressful on the kidneys.
High blood pressure affects millions of people around the world. This condition goes unnoticed for years unless we have the insurance to receive annual physicals and blood tests from our primary care physician.
For the people who are able to afford insurance and get annual physical exams, they end up "controlling" their blood pressure by taking drugs that mask the real problem and give them the false sense of security that everything is fine. But, over a period of years, they find themselves having to take more and more medication to "control" their blood pressure.
Definition of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is generally defined as a level exceeding 140/90 mm Hg on multiple occasions. The systolic blood pressure, which is the first number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart contracts and pumps blood throughout the circulatory system. The diastolic pressure, which is the second number, represents the pressure in the arteries as the heart relaxes after the contraction.
An elevation of the systolic or diastolic blood pressure increases the risk of the cardiovascular system developing heart (cardiac) disease, kidney (renal) disease, hardening of the arteries (arteriosclerosis), glaucoma (eye damage), and stroke (brain damage). Usually a high systolic number indicates problems with the cardiovascular system and the liver, while a high diastolic number indicates problems with the kidneys and the liver.
Warning: High blood pressure can cause kidney disease. Therefore, all patients with high blood pressure should be evaluated for the presence of kidney disease so that they can be treated appropriately. In addition, high blood pressure can increase the risk of blindness and dementia.
And, when high blood pressure is accompanied by high cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to your arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially.
Unfortunately, most people end up taking a pill to "control" their blood pressure; plus, another pill to lower their cholesterol; and, eventually, another pill to lower their blood sugar. So, within a matter of just a few years, you go from taking no drugs to taking a couple pills; and, within another few years you find yourself taking several pills and wondering how you got there!
The Solution: Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally | Diet & Exercise
Your blood pressure is one of the most important tests that your doctor performs. It is the key indicator of your cardiovascular health, even more important than cholesterol.
According to the latest (real) science, a proper balance of sodium, in addition to potassium and magnesium, is more important than severely reducing or eliminating sodium completely to achieve a healthy body.
Sodium, potassium and magnesium help to regulate fluid balance in the body and allow nutrients and oxygen to travel to their necessary destinations within the body.
Magnesium assists in the conversion of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats to energy. In addition, magnesium helps to modulate cellular events involved in inflammation so that inflammation doesn't get out of control.
Everyone knows that calcium is necessary for strong bones, but magnesium is also vital for healthy bones. About two-thirds of the magnesium in the human body is found in our bones. Some helps give bones their physical structure, while the rest is found on the surface of the bone where it is stored for the body to draw upon as needed.
Magnesium, by balancing calcium, helps regulate nerve and muscle tone. In many nerve cells, magnesium serves as Nature's own calcium channel blocker, preventing calcium from rushing into the nerve cell and activating the nerve. By blocking calcium's entry, magnesium keeps our nerves (and the blood vessels and muscles they ennervate) relaxed.
If our diet provides us with too little magnesium, however, calcium can gain free entry, and the nerve cell can become overactivated, sending too many messages and causing excessive contraction.
Insufficient magnesium can thus contribute to high blood pressure, muscle spasms (including spasms of the heart muscle or the spasms of the airways symptomatic of asthma), and migraine headaches, as well as muscle cramps, tension, soreness and fatigue.
Given these effects, it is not surprising that studies have shown magnesium helps reduce the frequency of migraine attacks, lowers blood pressure, helps prevent heart attacks, promotes normal sleep patterns in women suffering from menopausal sleep disturbances, and reduces the severity of asthma.
To obtain a better balance of these minerals (magnesium, potassium, sodium), use Himalayan salt or organic sea salt, which has a sandy color and contains magnesium and other nutrients and is not overly-processed and refined like the traditional (white) table salt. Also, flavor your food with garlic, onion, peppers, herbs, and other organic spices.
More importantly, eat potassium and magnesium-rich foods such as vegetables, beans and nuts/seeds to naturally reduce and normalize the sodium level in the body and lower your blood pressure.
Utilize the following dietary guidelines to help reduce or prevent high blood pressure.
Drink raw vegetable juices and beverages such as green tea and hibiscus tea, which contains flavonoids that may help to lower blood pressure and does not contain caffeine. Add 1-2 tbsp. of chlorella to filtered water and beverages.
Eat green leafy vegetables, which are rich sources of the common salts that can be converted to nitric oxide, which relaxes blood vessels.
Eat magnesium-rich foods to equalize the levels of potassium and sodium and relax the artery muscles.
Foods that are rich in magnesium include: green leafy vegetables (broccoli, spinach), kelp, chlorella, tofu, tomato paste, sweet potato, black beans, nuts, seeds, baked beans, navy beans, beet greens, lima beans, black-eyed peas, pinto beans, squash, kidney beans, chickpeas, yogurt, lentils, okra, and some whole grain cereals.
Eat potassium-rich foods to lower the sodium level and maintain the balance of electrolytes to regulate blood pressure and muscle contraction. Potassium also aids in converting blood glucose into glycogen to be stored in the muscles and liver and released as needed.
Despite what you've heard, a banana is not the best source for potassium. Also, a banana is not the best fruit for diabetics. A typical banana gives you just 490 mg of potassium. You'd have to eat 10 bananas to get the 5,000 mg a day, which most people need. And when you figure in the glycemic index (GI) of bananas, eating 10 a day would make you put on fat.
Instead, try an avocado, which will give you 1,483 mg of potassium with a much lower GI. Other good sources of potassium are nuts and seeds, e.g. almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds. They are quite high in potassium (and magnesium) and have a much lower glycemic index.
Vegetables and fruits that are rich in potassium include: avocado, barley grass, wheat grass, spirulina, bananas, beet greens, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, celery, collards, cucumbers, parsley, spinach, tomato, black-eyed peas, squash, black beans, lentils, navy beans, pinto beans; apricot, cantaloupe, grapefruit, honeydew, orange juice, papaya, peach.
Eat foods rich in monounsaturated fats and Omega-3 EFAs, especially cold-water fish, flaxseed, nuts, extra virgin olive oil, organic flax oil, and avocado. Avocado contains folate, potassium, beta-sitosterol, Vitamin E, and fiber.
If you don’t like fish, take a tablespoon of unprocessed cod liver oil or a pharmaceutical-grade fish oil capsule (1000 to 1500 mg daily), plus extra Vitamin E to protect the oil from peroxidation.
Eat foods rich in l-arginine, which is an amino acid that increases the production of nitric oxide to relax artery walls. Foods rich in arginine include fish, poultry, organic eggs, nuts, seeds, beans, and tofu.
Eat sulfur-rich foods such raw garlic and onions. Add 2-3 garlic cloves (minced) to your salad, vegetables, soup, sandwich, etc. Add onions (sliced) to your salad, vegetables, soup, sandwich, etc. These foods help to release nitric oxide, which relaxes the artery walls.
As a bonus, these two foods provide anti-bacterial and anti-viral protection, which is very important because some diabetics experience frequent infections.
Beetroot (or beets for short) is very effective at lowering your blood pressure because it contains naturally occurring nitrates, which are converted into nitric oxide in your body. Nitric oxide, in turn, helps to relax and dilate your blood vessels, improving blood flow and lowering your blood pressure.
However, if you're diabetic, use beets sparingly because of the high sugar content; or, use organic beetroot powder instead.
Eat other nitrate-rich foods that contain these naturally occurring nitrates, such as arugula, celery, lettuce, beets, spinach, watercress and chervil. These foods contain more than 250 milligrams of nitrates per 100 grams, or 3.5 ounces.
Other high-nitrate vegetables include endive, fennel, leek, celeriac, Chinese cabbage and parsley, with 100 to 250 milligrams per 100 grams.
Also, eat some calcium-rich foods to support vascular muscle contraction.
Foods that are rich in calcium include: raw milk, organic yogurt, sardines, salmon, mustard greens, spinach, seaweed, oysters, broccoli, and tofu.
Note: The following foods provide calcium but contain too much animal protein and fat: skim milk, Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese. Too much animal protein causes the kidneys to overwork, removing calcium from your blood before it can be stored in the bones.
Include three or more of the following supplemental foods and nutritional supplements to complement your nutritional program: l-arginine, cayenne pepper, garlic, ginger, nattokinase, pycnogenol, turmeric, CoQ10, and extra virgin coconut oil.
And, of course, make sure that you avoid processed foods, fast foods, and foods that contain flour, sugar and trans fats. Also, avoid alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, soda, diet soda, and most drugs.
Exercise on a consistent basis, 4-5 times a week, 30-35 minutes; start with walking and add resistance training later.
Reduce the stress in your life to help lower your cortisol (stress hormone) levels. Some lifestyle choices that can help to reduce the stress in your life include avoiding negative people, getting quality sleep, talking to a friend, using meditation (e.g. yoga) or deep breathing techniques, having a hobby, becoming a community volunteer to help others, and tapping into your inner spirit. to help you with the right lifestyle choices to lower your blood pressure.
For more details about heart healthy foods and lowering your high blood pressure naturally, refer to Wellness Protocols ebook, Chapter 15 of the Death to Diabetes book, and the Death to Diabetes Blog.
The Dangers of High Blood Pressure Drugs
Taking a high blood pressure drug may seem to be a good choice if you don't want to make the dietary changes.
But, many of the drugs for high blood pressure can affect certain functions of the body, resulting in dangerous side effects. In fact, some recent studies have shown that the predominant side effect of these drugs is kidney damage. And, the kidneys are needed to control our blood pressure! Another side effect is erectile dysfunction in men.
In addition, other studies now show that some of these drugs (i.e. beta-blockers) actually weaken the heart muscle!
And, some drugs such as NSAIDs, cough medicine and headache medication can cause your blood pressure to rise.
WARNING! If you don't feel any side effects that doesn't mean the drugs aren't causing harm! ALL DRUGS CAUSE SOME KIND OF HARM, SO BE CAREFUL!
Note: If you want to safely wean off these dangerous drugs, start a sound nutritional program and get the DTD How to Wean Off Drugs Safely ebook.
Disclaimer: This site does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
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