Darlene Norris has studied natural health and healing for many years. She enjoys sharing her knowledge about alternative remedies.
Do You Have Hypertension?
Are you among the one-third of Americans who have high blood pressure? If your doctor says you have hypertension, you may think you have no choice but to be on prescription medication for the rest of your life. The truth is that if you make a few simple lifestyle changes, you can lower your blood pressure naturally and live a healthier life as well.
How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally by Dr. Josh Axe
Are You Potassium Deficient?
Many people think that too much salty food causes high blood pressure. But what may surprise you is the role potassium plays in keeping your blood pressure at a healthy level. Potassium is an essential mineral, but it's also an electrolyte. Too much sodium and not enough potassium could be at the root of the problem.
Symptoms of potassium deficiency are:
- High blood pressure
- Muscle weakness and paralysis
- Abdominal pain and cramping
- Abnormal heart rhythms
So what foods contain potassium, other than bananas? You'd be amazed at how many are there are:
- Swiss chard, spinach, and other leafy greens
- Broccoli and brussels sprouts
- Celery and romaine lettuce
- Sweet potatoes
- Cantaloupes and watermelons
- Oranges and apricots
- Sunflower seeds
- Wild-caught salmon
- Pomegranate juice
And just about everyone's favorite food, dark chocolate.
Sugar and High Blood Pressure
Did you know that too much sugar in your diet can lead to high blood pressure? I can hear you right now, saying, "Oh, come on, I don't eat that much sugar!"
The truth is that you probably don't have any idea how much sugar you're really eating every day. This is because sugar is hidden in many processed foods. Start reading food labels on cans and boxes, and I guarantee that you'll be shocked. Just about any processed food you can buy in the grocery store is loaded with sugar.
Grains, including pasta and bread, are high in carbohydrates, which are broken down by your body into, you guessed it, sugar. Organic grains are a problem too since they are also broken down into sugar during the digestive process.
So what does sugar have to do with high blood pressure? When you eat too many carbs or too much sugar, your body produces large amounts of insulin to break it down. Insulin stores magnesium, a mineral your body needs to relax your muscles and blood vessels. To make a long story short, too much sugar keeps insulin from storing the magnesium, and it passes out of your body in the urine.
What happens when you don't have enough magnesium? Your blood vessels constrict, and your blood pressure rises.
Cutting back on sugary processed foods and carbs can help you drop those extra pounds too. Losing as little as five percent of your weight can lead to a significant drop in your blood pressure levels.
Avocados Are a Nutritional Powerhouse
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The Magnesium Connection
Are you deficient in magnesium? Up to 80% of people in the US are deficient in magnesium, and most people don't even know it.
Tip: if you crave chocolate, you may be deficient in this vital mineral.
As mentioned above, a magnesium deficiency can cause your blood vessels to constrict, thus raising your blood pressure. A recent study showed that patients with hypertension who took a magnesium supplement for 12 weeks had much lower blood pressure readings at the end of that time.
Other benefits of magnesium include:
- Healthy bones and teeth.
- Evens out ups and downs in blood sugar.
- Keeps your heart muscle healthy. Doctors have been prescribing magnesium for heart health since the 1930's. Studies have shown that an IV containing magnesium can reduce the death rate from heart attacks.
- Good bowel function - remember Milk of Magnesia? There's a reason this remedy was used as a laxative. Muscle relaxation has more than one benefit.
Magnesium deficiency can also result in:
- Reduced appetite, which leads to feeling tired and weak all the time
- Upset stomach and vomiting
- Muscle cramps and seizures
- Numbness and tingling
- Personality changes
Green leafy veggies, along with avocados, almonds, and beans, are full of this mineral. If you decide to take a magnesium supplement, remember that you need to take calcium with it.
Five More Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Without Drugs
1. Exercise! Somebody told me that walking as little as a half hour a day will keep you healthy. This should be a brisk walk, not a leisurely stroll. For the more athletically inclined, aerobics and strength training can help to keep your blood pressure under control. An added bonus is that exercise helps to reduce insulin levels in your blood.
2. Start reading food labels. Avoid highly processed foods with added sugar, along with high-carb foods like bread, pasta, potatoes, and grains. Eat lots of fresh vegetables and wild-caught fish as well. Tip: avoid the middle aisles of the grocery store, since that's where most of the highly processed food is found. Healthier foods like produce, meat, and dairy products are usually on the outer walls.
3. Crushed raw garlic is a superfood. It's easy to make your own salad dressing with fresh-squeezed lemon or lime juice, apple cider vinegar, and olive oil. Add a clove of crushed fresh garlic, and a little salt and lemon pepper, whisk together, and you're good to go. Tip: avoid bottled salad dressings as they often contain fructose (a type of sugar), MSG, and other harmful substances.
4.Cut out as much stress in your life as possible. Regular exercise can help with this, as well as prayer or meditation.
5. Are you getting enough vitamin D? Many Americans are deficient in this vitamin, which is essential for good health. Mushrooms are the only vegetable that contain vitamin D. Eggs, wild-caught salmon, raw milk, tuna, sardines, and cod liver oil are other sources of this nutrient.
The Little Things Add Up
You may be surprised at how small changes in your lifestyle can make such a big difference in your health. Every single day you make decisions about what you eat, or how much you exercise.
Start with small simple changes, like taking a short walk every day or so. Try to go a little farther each time. Eat at home more often. You're not going to add huge amounts of sugar when you're cooking at home. Grab a salad for lunch instead of a burger and fries. Small doable steps are much easier to stick with, and over time, they can yield big results in your overall health.
- Lower High Blood Pressure With More Potassium-Rich Foods
Relaxing, deep breathing, walking, regular exercise, potassium-rich foods and losing weight are all ways you can lower your blood pressure levels.
- Study: Sugar Is Worse Than Salt for Blood Pressure
To maintain a healthy blood pressure, you should cut back your consumption on both salt and sugar.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
clothespinnedlove from Wisconsin on June 05, 2012:
Lots of good veggies listed there. Keep eating the goods, guys! & Exercise often and daily!
bingskee from Quezon City, Philippines on February 05, 2012:
interesting. this will be very helpful in our battle with hypertension.
kellyjean on February 13, 2008:
Olive leaf tea is supposed to be good too to help lower blood pressure. I just discovered it! It is supposed to help with general immmunity too.