1) Stop smoking. Tobacco hardens your arteries and the walls of your blood vessels. If you canât quit cold turkey, ask your doctor for help in developing a plan. Plus, letâs face itâ¦ smoking is soâ¦ last century.
2) Time to get some exercise â normally an average of at least 30 minutes a day. You donât have to join a health club and start grunting in the weight room â even moderate walking is great. Ask your doctor to help you develop a plan thatâs right for your needs. Exercise is a habit just like any other, once you get in the swing, youâll get addicted to feeling great.
3) Watch the salt (sodium). Youâve probably heard this advice before, and itâs true, but not for everyone. Around 58% of people with high blood pressure are âsalt sensitive.â If you are salt sensitive, itâs best to keep sodium intake to no more than 2,400 milligrams a day, or ideally under 1,500 mg a day. Processed and fast foods are packed with sodium. If you keep a âsalt logâ for a single day youâll be amazed at just how much is in our diets. You can easily exceed the entire days recommended amount in a single fast food meal.
4) Get your potassium. Most people eat a sodium to potassium ratio of 2:1 – we eat twice as much sodium as we do potassium. The ideal ratio for blood pressure control is 1:5 – we should be eating five times more potassium than sodium. Excellent dietary sources of potassium are: apricots, avocado, bananas, cantaloupe, honeydew, kiwis, lima beans, milk, oranges and OJ, potatoes, prunes, spinach, tomatoes and squash. Another way to reduce sodium and get more potassium is by switching your table salt to potassium-salt products like ‘NoSalt’ and ‘NuSalt’ – both are available at most supermarkets.
5) No more “Heavy Metal”. Now, we’re not talking about the music here – we’re talking about lead, cadmium and mercury – all of which are linked to hypertension. For example, if you live in an old house with lead pipes, you might have lead poisoning – which can impair the liver and cause high blood pressure. Smoker? Cigarette smoke contains cadmium. Dental fillings? Many, but not all, contain mercury. You can find out if you have unhealthy levels of heavy metals in your body through a simple test called ‘hair mineral analysis.’
6) Time to get your weight on target. Do you know what your ideal weight is? Most people donât. Simple solution: ask your doctor. Added pounds make your heart work overtime. In nearly all cases, high blood pressure is reduced or eliminated along with unwanted weight. Losing weight isnât one size fits all (no pun intended), everyone is different. Ask your doctor to help you develop a custom plan thatâs right for you.
7) Avoid refined carbohydrates (sugar). Sugar is a key factor in atherosclerosis (a condition in which fatty material collects along the walls of the arteries). Sugar causes spikes of the hormone insulin. Elevated insulin, in turn, is associated with increased triglycerides, cholesterol, higher risk of cardiovascular disease, type II diabetes and… high blood pressure.
8) Time to watch that alcohol. No more than one drink per day for women and two for men. Watching your alcohol is also clinically proven to prevent cocktail party gaffes.
9) Avoid Caffeine. In some, but not all people, caffeine triggers blood pressure spikes.
10) Eat fresh, eat healthy. Check out the DASH Diet (DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) for an overview of the fruits, veggies, whole grains and âlow-fat, high-proteinâ smart options. You can get a free copy at www.LowerBloodPressureDrugFree.com. People who followed this diet in a clinical study had average blood pressure reductions of 11.4 systolic and 5.5 diastolic. You know the all too true old clichÃ©: You are what you eat.
11) Get enough sleep. Emerging research suggests that sleep deprivation and high blood pressure are linked. Whatâs more important â that last hour of late night TV or waking refreshed and feeling great?
12) Manage your stress. We live in a time when people are exposed to more stress than frankly our bodies were designed to handle. Just like you wouldnât skip a shower, or brushing your teeth, or not eat for a whole day, you need to make time every day for deep relaxation. TV time and surfing the net donât count – those are the potato chips of the relaxation world. Guided Breathing, through techniques such as the Breathtaking Nature Method, is one of the easiest, fastest and most powerful ways to get your daily dose of deep relaxation.
profession:Â Naturopathic Health Product Designer
credentials:Â Creator of The Breathtaking Nature Method, Whole Brain and Body, Calm Me For Life
specialties:Â Digital Information Product Design
institutions:Â Arizona State University
topic of interests:Â Naturopathic Cures for High Blood Pressure, Mind-Body Balance