High blood pressure, although considered a disease in and of itself by conventional medical professionals, is really a symptom of imbalance in the body. It is an indicator of something larger going on, typically inflammation, toxicity, stress and malnourishment or nutrient-deficiencies.
When our bodies are in balanced, not overloaded with toxins and replete with essential nutrients needed for wellness, there should be no presence of high blood pressure or other health conditions, for that matter.
What is high blood pressure?
In blood vessels, we combine systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers or values to provide a way to interpret what are considered normal and abnormal blood pressure readings. Systolic pressure represents the force of blood against the arteries during the heart's pumping action, and diastolic pressure numbers represent pressure in arteries when the heart is at rest.
In a blood pressure reading, the first or top number is systolic pressure. For example, in a 120/75 reading, 120 is systolic pressure and 75 is diastolic.
Systolic numbers in pre-hypertension range from 120–129 with diastolic numbers typically showing less than 80.
Range of blood pressure numbers and what they mean:
- 120/80 mm HG or less is considered normal
- Systolic between 120–129 and diastolic less than 80 is pre-hypertension
- Systolic between 130–139 or diastolic between 80–89 is considered Stage 1 hypertension
- Systolic 140 or higher, or diastolic at least 90 mm Hg is considered Stage 2 hypertension
High blood pressure in the arteries causes distortion in the arterial wall and added stress on the heart. Consequences of long-term high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke and diabetes. Many don't even realize they have high blood pressure until serious problems arise.
Dr. Thomas Cowan M.D. explains that when the pressure of blood inside arteries in your body is too high, this can lead to kidney damage and eventually stroke. While having normal rather than elevated blood pressure is not only preferable for optimal long-term health outcomes, studies have shown that lowering pressure with medicines is not an effective way to manage this health challenge. Many common blood pressure medications have unfavorable side-effects, and some that can contribute to similar outcomes as high blood pressure, such as Beta-blockers which can increase the likelihood of developing Type-II diabetes.
He also asserts that deficiency in Omega 3 essential fatty acids is a common cause of hypertension, all-too common in populations of the industrialized, modern world. This is a good reason to emphasize dietary habits that include traditionally-prepared animal foods such as grassfed meats, poultry, eggs and dairy from healthy animals raised on pasture and without antibiotics, hormones, chemical fertilizers, pesticide and herbicides and genetically-modified organisms. Lowering carbohydrate intake is also advised, and when consuming carbohydrates to remove processed, industrial versions of grains, starches, rice,
Causes of high blood pressure
Poor dietary and lifestyle habits are culprits of high blood pressure and other chronic health conditions. Environmental considerations are also important such as harmful chemicals in the foods we consume and those lurking in our homes and work environments. Anything that places undue stress or inflammation on our well-being and bodies should be suspect, and reasonable and educated efforts made to change our habits and eliminate causes of chronic disease.
Anything that dehydrates the body has the potential to cause a rise in blood pressure. These can include pharmaceutical drugs such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and "water pills", processed food products and beverages, and stress or environmental toxins and conditions.
When fluid is removed from the kidneys, this produces a diuretic effect and robs the body of essential minerals needed for health including sodium, magnesium, calcium, potassium, leading to electrolyte imbalance.
High blood pressure does not exist on its own; other problems will follow which can include renal or kidney failure, indigestion, hyerglycemia which leads to diabetes, including irregular heart arrhythmia, anemia, headaches, uremia, abnormal cholesterol impotence and vision problems.
Avoid the following in the diet, which can cause or contribute to inflammation in the body, leading to high blood pressure:
- Processed foods - a diet including real, whole foods will keep your body in balance and help to maintain normal weight, metabolic and heart function and blood pressure.
- Trans fats including polyunsaturated, highly-processed, rancid vegetable oils such as shortening, margerine, canola, corn, soybean, cottonseed, peanut and
Ways to naturally lower blood pressure:
Obtain regular and adequate rest and relaxation
Don't overload yourself with too many obligations or activities, and ensure you are getting 7-8 hours of sleep nightly that start no later than 10 p.m. Some type of intentional meditation or relaxation can be very successful in treating hypertension, according to Dr. Thomas Cowan, M.D.
Regular, gentle exercise
Walking and stretching are optimal exercises. The key is to slowly build up to something more strenuous (if desired, not required). Moderate hiking or something similar can be added later, but it is important to start off with gentle but persistent movement that supports healing, circulation and well-being. Dr. Cowan's book, The Fourfold Path to Healing addresses holistic ways of addressing hypertension in Chapter 3.
Dietary emphasis on real, whole foods
Recommended, Nourishing Traditions cookbook and food preparation emphasizes traditionally prepared whole foods including intake of mineral-rich Celtic sea salt; supplementing Omega-3 fatty acids, usually in the form of a small amount of flax and cod liver oil. Reduce carbohydrate consumption, especially anything boxed, packaged or processed. This will assist in weight loss and lowering insulin levels to allow the body to eliminate excess fluid and reduce excess "fat".
Use relaxation techniques such as quiet time, deep breathing, prayer and meditation.
Those with high blood pressure are typically magnesium-deficient. Ironically, taking blood pressure and other types of medication lowers magnesium levels in the body.
Many health experts focus on excess sodium as a cause of high blood pressure, which could be a culprit if the person is not receiving adequate minerals but consumes refined white salt (which is mostly sodium chloride minus natural trace minerals). Potassium is critical in wellness and maintaining blood pressure.
Dr. Eric Berg, DC explains here:
Herbs that help with high blood pressure:
Herbs can be an effective and safe component for healing the body from symptoms of high blood pressure. Although there are exceptions, herbs are typically natural, and do not cause side-effects in the same way that pharmaceutical drugs may produce.
The following plants/herbs have been studied by science and observed to assist the body in lowering blood pressure.
Lavender, ylang-ylang, neroli and marjora
Role of natural herbs in treatment of hypertension:
Recommended reading on high blood pressure and ways to approach this symptom in the body that indicates an overall imbalance, read Dr. Sherry Rogers' The High Blood Pressure Hoax.
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