by Mary Broedell, Certified Health Coach
What is Blood Pressure?
It is measured by the Systolic Pressure / Diastolic Pressure
- Systolic Pressure = the force of blood against the walls of the arteries when the heart contracts to pump blood to the rest of the body
- Diastolic Pressure = the pressure within the arteries as the heart relaxes and refills with blood
Blood Pressure Levels:
- Normal: Less than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120-139/80-89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159/90-99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
- Weight – The greater your body mass, the more pressure there is on your artery walls and the more blood is produced to supply oxygen and nutrients to tissues in your body.
- Activity level – Lack of physical activity tends to increase heart rate, which forces your heart to work harder with each contraction. Twenty minutes of sustained activity a day is recommended, i.e. walking…
- Stress – Stress can raise blood pressure. Meditation, yoga or a peaceful 20 minute walk can help lower blood pressure.
- Caffeine – is a cardiovascular stimulate which raises blood pressure
- Tobacco – Chemicals in cigarettes and tobacco can damage artery walls.
- Limit alcohol intake – Blood pressure increases as your body metabolizes alcohol.
- Avoid processed foods – These are the biggest sources of processed sodium in today's diet an the least nutritional.
- Eat 8 to 10 servings of whole fruit and vegetables per day.
- Water – drink six to eight 8oz glasses of water a day
- Limit animal protein to 6 oz per day, emphasizing lean sources.
- Sodium – Excessive sodium in the diet can result in fluid retention and high blood pressure, especially in people sensitive to sodium. Reduce sodium intake an use a non-processed salt, like Celtic salt or sea salt.
Potassium. Low potassium can result in elevated sodium in cells, because the two balance one another.
Foods with potassium:
- sweet potatoes,
- beet greens,
- white potatoes,
- white beans,
- and raisins.
- Garlic – Has a modest effect on lowering blood pressure and may help relax blood vessels.
- Consume 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds and dry beans per week (2 Tbsp nuts or seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans).
- Eat plenty of fish – Include at least three servings of fish a week, emphasizing cold-water fish like wild Alaskan salmon and sardines, which are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Take fish-oil supplements if you cannot get enough omega-3-rich foods.
- Calcium – Inadequate intake of both of these minerals has been associated with high blood pressure. Women should get between 1,000 and 1,200 mg of calcium a day from all sources, while men may want to get no more than 500-600 mg daily from all sources.
Magnisium – Most dietary magnesium comes from vegetables, particularly dark green, leafy vegetables. Other foods that are good sources of magnesium are:
- Legumes and seeds
- Nuts (such as almonds and cashews)
- Whole grains (such as brown rice and millet)
- Fruits or vegetables (such as bananas, dried apricots, and avocados)
- Vitamin C – A supplement of this antioxidant vitamin has been shown to lower blood pressure in people with mild to moderate hypertension
- Medications – Some prescription drugs, including steroids, birth control pills, decongestants, NSAIDS and diet pills can raise blood pressure. Some over-the-counter medicines, such as those containing licorice root, ephedra, guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, ginseng and yohimbe, may also raise blood pressure.
Supplements that may help reduce high blood pressure:
- Fish Oil
- Folic Acid
- Cayenne Pepper
A recommended Whole grain Diet to help reduce high blood pressure:
- 7 to 8 servings of whole grains
- 4 to 5 servings of whole vegetables – raw or lightly steamed
- 4 to 5 servings of whole fruit – raw or lightly cooked
- 2 or less servings of meat, fish, or poultry
- 2 to 3 servings of fats and oils
- 4 to 5 servings per week of nuts, seeds, and dry beans (walnuts are highest in Omega 3 Fatty acids of all the nuts)
- Less than 3 servings a week of sweets
- 1/2 cup cooked whole grain rice or pasta
- 1 slice whole grain bread
- 1 cup raw vegetables or fruit
- 1/2 cup cooked vegetables or fruit
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 3 ounces cooked meat
Essential Oils that may help reduce high blood pressure:
The following is a good list of oils most often mentioned:
Most Common Essential oils:
- and ylang ylang
Other Essential oils and blends:
- Citrus Bliss,
- and Serenity
Essential Oil Application:
Those that have been successful have selected oils and/or blends from the following list mixing them with a carrier oil and consistently applied them topically at least three times a day.
Key points for application have included:
- the feet,
- the wrists,
- over the heart,
- on the carotidal arteries,
- to the back of the neck
- to the reflexology points on the hands and feet
- one drop of the essential oil in honey or a 4oz beverage