Q & A: Blood Pressure

Nov 21, 2011

Q: I’ve been reading your blog for years now and there has been quite a bit of information on heart disease prevention but I haven’t found anything about blood pressure. My father was just told by his doctor that his blood pressure was too high. Is there any natural ways to reduce this?

A: The measure of “blood pressure” is the force of the blood as it pushes against the artery walls, and when there is a tremendous amount of pressure in the arteries, it can lead to many health problems. It is also a sign that something is “wrong,” but is often an issue that can be addressed through some simple lifestyle changes.

While many of these changes are basic and easy to implement, there are also some that are a bit more complicated. For example, if you increase the amount of dietary fiber and essential fatty acids in the daily diet, you will improve your n-6 to n-3 ratio. Now, that sounds very complex! The basic facts, however, are plain – n-6 and n-3 are fatty acids that all humans have to consume in their diet. They should be in a from 1:1 to 1:4  ratio for optimal health, and this describes a diet that contains quality fatty acids like fish. Our ancestors used to consume much more omega 3 fatty acids than we do now a days through brain and bone marrow which is not common in our diet anymore.

In addition to paying attention to fatty acids, it is a wise idea to limit use of all refined and processed foods.  Whether your father eats a lot of oils or prefer meals out of cans and boxes, he is consuming high quantities of sodium, preservatives, and simple carbohydrates that are going to increase cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, and impact his health in a very negative manner. Instead, he should base his diet on natural foods that we have eaten for millions of years.

Many health experts also point to garlic, onions and celery as foods that will help lower blood pressure too. Generally, it is essential to aim at reducing sodium, sugar in all forms, and any trans fat foods if he wants to create a situation in which blood pressure is regulated and safe.

If he’s a type A personality that is always on the go, he must also consider the right types of exercise that include relaxation training in addition to cardiovascular and general conditioning. The use of stretching, yoga and/or meditation has been shown to help with blood pressure management simply because they provide complete relaxation and ask the individual to focus on breathing.

Lastly, if he has done all of these things and still has higher blood pressure, I would suggest visiting a lab to have his hair tested for cadmium, as this is a heavy metal known to raise blood pressure through environmental exposure.

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