Hypertension, or high blood pressure is increasingly common with modern diet and lifestyle trends. We are too busy and stressed to cook and exercise. We also have plenty of unhealthy food options available to us that can perpetuate our lifestyle and health problems.
Optimal blood pressure readings are 120/80 or slightly below. The first number is a measure of the pressure your blood exerts on your blood vessel (artery) walls as your heart contracts with the second number measures the pressure when your heart muscle is relaxed. The harder your heart is pumping and the narrower your arteries, the higher your blood pressure and your risk for heart diseases including heart attacks and stroke.
Many people never experience any signs or symptoms of hypertension even if their levels are dangerously high! In the later stages of the disease, one might experience dizziness, fatigue, frequent nose bleeds, headaches, nervousness or other symptoms. Make sure to have your BP check regularly, especially if you experience any of the above symptoms.
Here are some guidelines to help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level:
A diet low in saturated fats and high in complex carbohydrates is recommended. Such a diet includes whole grains, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes, fish, soy products, onions, garlic, foods rich in potassium, calcium, and magnesium (carrots, spinach, celery, alfalfa, mushrooms, lima beans, potatoes, avocados, broccoli, and most fruits), and restricts salt.
Minimal intake of processed foods (foods in packages, pre-made, cans, etc)
Eat 4 stalks of celery every day. The compound 3-n-butyl phtalide in celery has been shown to lower blood pressure.
Minimize coffee and caffeine consumption: caffeine causes the body to release stress hormones that elevate blood pressure
Eat onions and garlic liberally: the sulfur containing compounds in garlic and onions have been shown to lower blood pressure
Adequate sleep: insufficient sleep can contribute to blood pressure. This may be due to increased sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous activity during the night.
Stress management and relaxation: take time every day to do something you find calming (yoga, meditation, walking, etc)
Exercise regularly! A minimum of 30min three times a week. In women, walking for a total of 2 hours/week and significantly reduce the risk of stroke!
Diet and lifestyle interventions are great preventative and curative options for treating hypertension and all cardiovascular health risks.
Book your consultation today and get your blood pressure under control while reducing your risk for serious cardiovascular disease!