High blood pressure – lowering it naturally


If you are suffering from elevated blood pressure, there are plenty of things you can do to help lower it naturally. Implementing dietary and lifestyle changes can have a positive impact on blood pressure.

SALT … All salts are not alike! The commonly purchased table salt has been bleached, refined, had chemicals added and stripped of all the natural minerals. Ditch your table salt and replace it with a quality Himalayan salt, which contains plenty of minerals, including magnesium and potassium which are known to help lower blood pressure.

FAT … Thanks to a lot of misinformation, a lot of people are “scared” of fats and oils, but they are an essential part of our diet … as long as they are the correct type. Increase your intake of fatty fish. The omega-3 fat will help reduce dangerous triglycerides and improve the elasticity of your blood vessels. Use olive oil or coconut oil for cooking, avocado oil, olive oil or macadamia oil for salad dressings and eliminate trans fats, found in margarine, processed foods like pies, cakes, cake mixes and deep fried foods.

POTASSIUM FOODS … Eating foods high in potassium is a great way to help reduce your blood pressure. Try eating more bananas, coconut and coconut water, avocado, parsley, sunflower seeds, almonds, cashews, pecans and sweet potato. In fact, all vegetables contain potassium.

MAGNESIUM FOODS … Magnesium is another blood pressure lowering mineral. It does this by allowing the blood vessels to relax, which in turn improves blood flow.  Magnesium is found in green leafy vegetables, almonds, cashews, barley, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds.

VITAMINS … Vitamin C, D and E have all been shown to lower high blood pressure, so eat more oranges, capsicum, kiwi fruit, strawberries, egg yolk, almonds and hazel nuts and get a healthy amount of sun every day.

SUGAR AND GRAINS …  Research has shown a connection between insulin resistance and high blood pressure. Insulin resistance is caused by a diet high in sugar and processed grains, and most people who are insulin resistant are not even aware of it, so if you have a diet high in sugar and processed grains, cut down as much as possible on these two things.

COFFEE …  If you have high blood pressure, research has shown that consumption of caffeine can exacerbate your condition, although the connection is not well understood.

STRESS … Everyone has daily stresses in their lives and if we don’t deal with them in a healthy way, they can have a severe impact on blood pressure. Make sure you find time to relax. Take up yoga or meditation, go for walks, take relaxing baths. Just make sure that the stresses of daily life don’t get on top of you. If you find you don’t have a 20 minute block of time to relax, make a habit of taking one or two minutes every hour to close your eyes, deep breath and totally relax.

EXERCISE … Regular exercise can help lower blood pressure by strengthening your heart. When your heart is stronger it can pump more blood with less effort which reduces the force on your arteries, lowering your blood pressure. So include a regular exercise routine in your life. You don’t have to run a marathon, just go for a brisk walk for 20 – 30 minutes four to five times a week. Even household chores like vacuuming, cleaning and scrubbing can get your heart rate up.

WATER … Don’t forget to drink lots of filtered water. Becoming dehydrated increases your blood pressure because the blood literally thickens and is harder to pump around the body. Don’t wait until you are thirsty before you drink, because that is a sign that you are already dehydrated. A general rule of thumb is to drink around 30ml of water per kilogram of bodyweight, plus more if you exercise and during summer.

There are also some fantastic herbs which will work at a stronger level to help reduce your blood pressure, so if these measures don’t reduce it enough, contact a Naturopath who can prescribe some herbal supplements.

If you are already on blood pressure medication, do not stop taking it until you have consulted with your doctor. Try these natural methods, and if you decide to contact a naturopath, he or she can work with your doctor to reduce or eliminate the blood pressure medication.

By Andrea Southern,                                                                                                Naturopath, Nutritionist, Herbalist                                                                           at Stafford and The Gap in Brisbane.                                                                     For an appointment phone 0412 791 705

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