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For many years I tried to live a healthy lifestyle by exercising regularly and adopting what I considered to be healthy eating habits. A few years ago, I started to notice that when I was really busy at work I would feel a little light-headed or dizzy. I often felt light headed or dizzy when standing up after squatting down for a short time. The dizziness would last a few seconds and then disappear. Also, my heart would start racing when I felt anxious or really stressed out about something. Even minor issues that I normally did not worry about too much would start my heart racing. I became concerned that something was not quite right with my health.

I decided to have a health check. When I went to my doctor for a check up, my blood pressure was measured at 145/90 mmHg. My doctor advised that I had borderline hypertension (hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure) and recommended that I take medication to get it under control. I checked my blood pressure a number of times over the next few weeks and similar blood pressure readings were recorded. I knew that high blood pressure is linked with a number of illnesses and they all scared me. Untreated hypertension can lead to strokes, heart attacks and can cause damage to organs such as the eyes and kidneys. Fortunately the light-headedness and dizziness was a sign that something was not right and prompted me to do something about it. I was determined to lower my blood pressure without the use of medication, as I did not want to enter a cycle of taking pills to regulate my blood pressure level.

At this stage, it may be useful to understand a little bit more about blood pressure and how it is measured.Blood pressure relates to the flow of blood pushing against the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood. It is measured by systolic (higher number) and diastolic pressure (lower number). Systolic blood pressure relates to the pressure of blood flow as your heart squeezes out blood after every beat. Diastolic blood pressure and refers to the pressure of blood flow as your heart rests in-between beats.

As pressure inside the arteries increases, fat deposits build up within the arterial walls causing the arteries to stiffen up and harden. As the arteries become increasingly hardened and narrowed, blood has more difficulty getting through. Therefore it is important to keep your arteries as elastic and supple as possible in order to absorb the pressure inside them. Normal blood pressure is considered to be 120/80mmHg. While a blood pressure reading higher than 140/90 mmHg is the accepted threshold for hypertension, if your blood pressure is more than 120/80 mmHg you should be taking steps to lower it. The longer that one’s blood pressure remains over 120/80mmHg the greater the risk of damage down the track.

Here are five tips to help lower your blood pressure:

1. Reduce your salt intake. There is a correlation between high consumption of salt and high blood pressure. The more salt consumed results in the blood vessels retaining more water. This in turn increases the volume of blood in our arteries, causing higher blood pressure. It is the hidden salt in processed foods that you need to be careful about. You will also find high salt levels in bread, canned foods, biscuits and cheese. Reduce the amount of soy sauce when cooking and look for reduced salt alternatives.

2. Eat plenty of fruit, vegetables and whole grains in place of commercial cereals and fast foods. Eating more fruit and vegetables will help to keep your arteries more supple and elastic and better able to absorb the pressure changes inside our arteries. Juicing is a great way of boosting your intake of fruit and vegetables conveniently and quickly. Combine fruits such as apples or pears with cucumber and leafy green vegetables such as spinach to create a nutrient rich and blood pressure lowering juice.

3. Increase your intake of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acids help to maintain a health heart and lower blood pressure. They are present in oily fish such as sardines, mackerel, salmon and herring. Be aware of the mercury content in certain species of fish. Generally, smaller fish will contain lower levels of mercury and therefore are a better choice. Try a good quality fish oil supplement can be taken on a regular basis. Seaweed is also a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. As plant based alternative of omega-3 fatty acids consider incorporating flaxseed as part of your diet Add some ground flaxseed to your porridge or muesli. If you love eating meat, don’t despair. Organic grass fed beef and game meat such as kangaroo, rabbit, and venison are also good sources of omega-3 fatty acids.

4. Take some magnesium. Magnesium helps to lowers blood pressure and maintains normal cardiac rhythm. Incorporate magnesium rich foods into your diet. Examples of magnesium rich foods include green leafy vegetables, nuts, citrus fruits and unrefined grains such as brown rice. Where possible eat organically because organic soils contain higher levels of magnesium. A magnesium supplement is another alternative. If you are considering a magnesium supplement, the most effective way to take magnesium is when it is absorbed through the skin. Magnesium chloride can be bought as a liquid that can be massaged into your body. Alternatively, buy magnesium chloride salts that can be used when bathing or as a footbath.

5. Meditation and yoga are activities that can be used to help you relax and relieve tension. Stress and anxiety is a contributor to elevated blood pressure and hypertension. Regulating your breathing is a great way to relax and push out all that unwanted stress. Find a quiet spot and sit comfortably. Take a slow deep breath, inhaling through your nose. Hold your breath for 3 seconds and then exhale slowly through your mouth for 5 seconds. Practice for 5-10 minutes. You will feel the weight of the world slowly being released from inside your body. Practice regularly. It will be worth it. There are plenty of meditation and yoga exercises that you can find by searching on the web. Practice regularly and you will feel all the better for it.

Within six months of incorporating making these changes to my lifestyle I was able to lower my blood pressure to 110/70mmHg. There are plenty of other ways you can lower your blood pressure without the use of medications. I have simply highlighted five tips that have worked for me.


Street Talk

Justin101  

Thanks for the tips, I'm 17 and show signs of early HBD. It hurts to not eat salt.

Reply
  about 9 years ago

Good tip on the Magnesium. Exercise can't hurt either.

Reply
  about 1 decade ago
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