About 30% of American adults have high blood pressure (hypertension), and 30% of those don’t know they have it. If untreated, it causes deterioration of the blood vessels, heart, kidneys, eyes, and what I’d call the biggest ‘whoops’ — a stroke, which can leave a body paralyzed (or dead, which might be easier).
Gloom and doom aside, it makes sense to keep track of your blood pressure. But not in a worried way, because stress will ramp up the pressure, eh? You’d want to keep your weight down, eat smart, exercise regularly, don’t smoke, and reduce stress – to keep your BP normal.
Current guidelines say:
Good BP is less than 120/80.
Be attentive and do something if yours is higher than 120/80, up to 139/89.
If you get to 140/90, the doc will put you on meds and call you Stage 1 Hypertension.
If you get to 160/100, stronger meds, lots of them, and Stage 2 Hypertension.
(A stroke arises from many variables, but personally I would head for the ER at 190/110 or sooner.)
(But live your own life and don’t rely on this little blog – take care of yourself, okay?)
What do those BP numbers mean? The first or top number is systolic and represents the pressure when the heart pumps. The lower number is diastolic and represents the pressure when the heart is at rest (which is about 66% of the whole cycle of the heartbeat).
So you can see that if the resting pressure (diastolic) is high, your poor body is under constant pressure down to its tiniest parts.
We don’t want to blow a gasket, so the doc prescribes a BP med. Maybe some folks get to float along on one nice little pill, but in my experience, BP meds lead to higher doses and more meds as the pressure rises through the years. Not to mention side effects. Oy.
All of the following hypertension relief methods have been fully researched. Some are listed on the ‘net with official studies attached, and in great books — so I won’t delve deep here. (Suggestion #2 is gonna sound outrageous, and yet people get results . . . 😉
You are unique and so is your body. Choose the methods that sound good for you. Follow your own best guidance. (Or go see the practitioner of your choice . . . with conventional pharmaceuticals, we will try a pill for a month and see how your body reacts, how those side effects go, see if this pill does anything, or if we have to try another, then another . . . )
1) Daily Meditation and other stress-reducers like yoga and laughter. Try 5 minutes meditation each morning upon awakening. Meditation simply means learning to focus your attention and broaden your view, so during your busy day you’ll know that any pinched moment, whatever it is, is actually small potatoes in the face of the Lovingkindness that infuses all things.
2) “Watercure” – drink salt water. Say What? Not iodized table salt at 560mg/gm but celtic sea salt at 330mg/gm (or thereabouts, depending on the brands of each).
We have blacklisted salt for too long — the right amount of good sodium helps us stay hydrated and not shrivel up so much, inside and outside, as we age.
Dr Batmanghelidj MD wrote several books in the 1970s, urging us to drink a lot more water and ingest a reasonable amount of trace-mineral sea salt.
Dr. B shows how the origin of hypertension is chronic cellular dehydration, which causes less fluid in the bloodstream, which causes arterioles to clamp down to maintain pressure, and stay clamped down because you can’t rehydrate the cells unless they have enough trace minerals and sodium.
Dr. B recommends we drink half our body weight in ounces of water each day (my 140# body needs 70 oz or more). This is slightly salted water – which tastes like softened water. Read the whole scoop.
Many people have corrected their blood pressure using only this watercure (although it may increase blood pressure initially for 2 to 3 weeks). If your heart and kidneys are still strong and your ankles are not swelling yet, I would highly recommend trying this, if you wish.
If nothing else, drink a glass of plain water every 2 hours.
3) High fiber diets have been known to control or reverse high BP. Try raw veggies, brown rice, oats.
High potassium diets help: apples, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, cabbage, asparagus, kelp, alfalfa.
4 stalks of celery per day has reduced BP (this is partly from the natural sodium found in celery, although some studies say celery relaxes blood vessel walls).
Apples have potassium, pectin, and fiber – apples are a superfood for hypertension.
Onions, garlic, parsley, all bring down BP (for various reasons).
4) Avoiding sugar and caffeine helps reduce BP.
Avoid alcohol, margarine, fried foods, refined white flours and carbs, processed foods, stimulants.
6) Daily aerobic exercise like walking can lower blood pressure over time, plus help lose weight.
7) Supplements proven to reduce Blood Pressure:
Coenzyme CoQ10 – 100 mg twice or thrice a day
Garlic extract 600 mg twice a day – or simply eat lots of garlic and onions
combination of Calcium 500 mg and Magnesium 250 mg twice a day
Fish Oil 3000 mg twice a day (helps over time – and also thins the blood)
Potassium – up to 2000 mg per day with CAUTION (possible to overdo it)
(If taking Potassium, combine it with Magnesium for good absorption. Even better, get your potassium from fresh fruits, veggies, beans, and avoid the risk of too much supplement.)
Chromium Picolinate 200 to 600 micrograms per day will lower insulin levels, reduce sugar cravings, and increase weight loss – all of which helps to lower BP.
Taurine 1 to 3 grams (1000 to 3000 mg) each day, in divided doses, with meals, will lower BP.
Many folks with high diastolic pressure are deficient in vitamin C. Studies show that people with the most vitamin C in their blood had the lowest BP. 1000 mg vitamin C per day decreased BP.
8) If you have “white coat syndrome” as in, when any medical person in a lab coat approaches to check your BP, it always reads high – – then start checking your own BP at quiet times, by using the free machines at some drugstores or buy your own BP machine. Record the date, BP reading, and which arm it was. Take this record to your doctor.
IF YOU ARE ALREADY TAKING MEDICATION for your high blood pressure, DO NOT QUIT by yourself. The smartest thing to do is to create your own record of BP readings at home, while trying your natural methods and continuing your medication.
DO watch your pressure, and the effect your choices have upon it.
As your pressure normalizes or lowers, take your home records to your doctor and let the doctor trim back your medication. (But see the doctor promptly if your systolic top number is less than 105 or if you feel dizzy – because that would mean it’s really time to reduce the medication.)
Which pieces of this puzzle sound good for you and your wondrous body?