If you are healthy your heart and blood vessels work together in a balanced manner to deliver blood to every tissue and organ in your body keeping you alive and well. If you have high blood pressure, there is a narrowing in the veins and arteries that deliver blood around the body which leads to increased pressure. Continuous exposure can damage your heart, kidneys, eyes, and blood vessels in the brain.
How is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed?
Your general practitioner will usually take your blood pressure as part of a routine check up. Typically, the danger zone are readings over:
- systolic – greater than or equal to 140 mmHg, or
- diastolic – greater than or equal to 90 mmHg.
If you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure you can also purchase home test units that allow you to easily monitor your pressure yourself.
Lifestyle Strategies to Control Blood Pressure
The major causes of high blood pressure are largely lifestyle related and living a healthy, well balanced, lifestyle can help you to keep you well out of the danger zone. Try some of the following suggestions to improve your control:
- Modify your diet to increase energy from good fats and protein sources. Limit your intake of simple carbohydrates and grains which lead to metabolic acidosis and causes your body to release calcium into the blood stream to maintain internal pH. Free calcium is one of the key ingredients in the arterial plaques that lead to narrowing of arteries and veins.
- Control your cholesterol levels by emphasising good fats and avoiding trans fats. Oxidised bad cholesterol sticks to walls of arteries and veins making them thicker and reducing the space.
- Reduce or modify stress levels. Our bodies natural response to stress includes a combination of constriction of arteries and veins in many parts of the bodies and dilation and an enlargement in the muscles. This increases blood pressure to fuel muscles with the needed nutrients to fight or flee.
Nutrients for Blood Pressure
Considering how wide spread this problem is, it is not surprising that there are many well researched nutritional and herbal medicines available.
Magnesium is one of the most widely used minerals in the human body and it’s role in controlling high blood pressure is no exception. It has consistently been found that higher concentrations of Magnesium in the blood lead to lower pressure and that Magnesium supplementation effectively and rapidly reduces pressure by allowing relaxation of the cardiac muscle tissues.
The use of powdered Magnesium supplements offer better bio availability than tablets and make it easier to consume a therapeutic dose. Results can usually be seen in as little as one to two weeks of regular use.
Long term, ensuring optimal Magnesium levels means regularly consuming dark, leafy, green vegetables. Plants such as Kale and Dandelion greens are particularly high in Magnesium and are great additions to salads or stir fries.
The Mediterranean diet is widely regarded as one of the most effective diets for controlling all forms of cardiovascular disease and improving heart health. This diet, emphasising energy from good fats and lean protein sources is also exceptionally high in dietary levels of Omega 3 essential fatty acids, particularly EPA and DHA.
Typical Western diets, low in Omega 3 and high in Omega 6 essential fatty acids, have been shown to predispose towards increased production of inflammatory agents that lead to a constricting of veins and arteries within your body. Increasing the supplemental, or dietary, level of Omega 3’s helps to reverse this effect.
Omega 3 essential fatty acids can be obtained from many dietary sources including oily fish, eggs, and grass fed organic meats. If you have already been diagnosed, or are on medications, the use of a high strength liquid fish oil supplement may be necessary.
This secret, fishy, ingredient in many Japanese culinary masterpieces has been shown to be an effective way of controlling high blood pressure.
Bonito functions by reducing your bodies production of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II is commonly secreted by the liver and is one of the chemical messengers responsible for constriction of blood vessels. Where high blood pressure is a problem, reducing the production of angiotensin II can help to bring down blood pressure.
The therapeutic dose of bonito peptides is usually about 1.5 – 3 grams per day, which would involve quite a lot of miso to obtain from food sources alone. Supplemental preparations of bonito peptides are fast acting and many people report significant drops in blood pressure within seven days of use.