Info on High Blood Pressure – and How to Lower It
There’s loads of info on high blood pressure out there. So much so that it can be quite overwhelming. However, lowering your blood pressure doesn’t have to be complicated. The best way to lower your blood pressure and get your body back in balance is through diet and exercise. It’s really as simple as that.
The worst way, in my opinion, is also the most common – taking prescription medication to artificially lower your blood pressure while not changing the factors that led to high blood pressure in the first place.
So what causes high blood pressure?
Some people might object saying that high blood pressure is caused by genetic factors outside of their control.
I would agree that a lot of blood pressure problems can be ascribed to genetic factors. But that’s not the same as saying that nothing can be done about it, or saying that prescription medication is the only solution.
Some people, like myself, seem to be genetically predisposed to high blood pressure. It runs in my family apparently. My mother had high blood pressure and my father, who is still alive, regularly takes half a dozen pills a day for this and that including high blood pressure.
I have taken another path. Instead of resigning myself to a lifetime on pills, I have made an effort to regulate my blood pressure through diet and exercise.
What is considered high blood pressure / hypertension?
The old rule of thumb was that 100 plus your age was an acceptable blood pressure. It was more accepted then that blood pressure naturally rises with age.
The new regime says that everyone should be at or below 120/80. This has been a great boon to international pharmaceutical corporations as it means virtually everyone above the age of forty is now eligible to be prescribed a lifetime of daily pills. If I sound cynical it’s because I am.
(You can read more on this here: Normal Blood Pressure versus Ideal Blood Pressure.)
Lowering my blood pressure through diet and exercise hasn’t been instant. But my blood pressure has been kept down over the months to an acceptable level. No, I’ll probably never enjoy blood pressure consistently below 120/80 – it’s not in my genes. But as long as I consistently remain below 140/105 (usually in the 130/90 range) I figure that’s OK for me. I’m not in a high risk category for heart disease or stroke. And I feel better and more fit than I have for many years.
But what’s the problem with taking blood pressure medications?
So why do I shun hypertension medications? It’s not the cost. I could get them for free here in the UK. No, it’s because blood pressure-lowering medications do not fix the problem. If they did, after your blood pressure was down you could stop taking them. But the pharmaceutical industry has yet to create a drug that can really fix blood pressure. Sure, their drugs artificially lower your blood pressure. But stop taking them and it shoots right back up.
Statistics show that more people die from heart disease and stroke while on blood pressure-lowering medication. That’s not to say that these medications are causing heart disease or strokes. But if you think that you’re safer on them then think again.
And then there’s the high blood pressure medication side effects. My only experience with a blood pressure lowering medication was for 8 week with Rampril – an ACE inhibitor. For 8 weeks I had an irritating dry cough day and night while my blood pressure refused to come down from its 190+/120+ readings. I’ve read about even worse side effects with some other medications but have no experience to validate.
So .. the Rampril went in the bin and I embarked on a new regime of diet and exercise. Within one month my blood pressure was beginning to drop. Within 3 months my blood pressure readings were consistently below 135/95 and occasionally as low as 118/79 (rare but does happen).
Diets to control high blood pressure or recipes for hypertension 😉
Moving to a blood pressure-lowering diet means eating less of somethings and eating more of others. It’s not all about moving simply to a bland diet of ‘healthy foods’ that suck much of the culinary pleasures out of life. Not at all. My new diet included things like a glass of red wine and dark chocolate once a day, among other things.
My new diet also involves a bowl of oatmeal every morning and some vitamin supplements. Currently I take each morning calcium, magnesium and vitamin D, vitamin C, and cod liver oil capsules. I also have 20 odd drops of Hawthorn tincture in a glass of water every day. I make the tincture myself as we are blessed with many Hawthorn trees here growing up on the mountains.
My blood pressure-lowering exercises involve walking more. For me it’s a 20 minute hike up the mountain when the weather is friendly. (I live part way up a mountain in Wales.) When I get to the summit I eat an apple I usually take with me. Yep, that’s part of my diet.
Other exercises involve slowing your system down with breathing exercises and the like.
UPDATE: Click here to try out the new slow breathing program I’ve created to lower your blood pressure: Breathe-Slow.com
Here are 9 quick tips on lowering your blood pressure naturally:
Get more physical activity
To keep your heart healthy it needs exercise to keep fit so that it can pump blood efficiently through your body. Aim for 30 minutes of reasonable exercise a day, though this can be in shorter chunks of e.g, walking, cycling, going up and down the stairs. Keeping fit is good for your physical health and keeps your blood pressure under control.
Smoking increases blood pressure. A smoker is twice as likely to have high blood pressure than a non smoker. The good news is that when you stop smoking, blood pressure will start to come down.
Make sure you’ve got a well rounded diet
A balanced diet can help to reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure. Plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, nuts and seeds, and wholegrains. Try to cut down or avoid altogether foods that are high in trans fats and sugar – like biscuits, cakes, pastries, and many processed foods. (Watch out for low-fat foods too – often full of sugar instead of fat, which is worse for you!)
Eat less (or no!) processed foods
Processed foods tend to be full of the things that tend to increase blood pressure: salt, sugar (even artificial sweeteners), trans fats, and all kinds of other unhealthy additives. Probably the simplest and most effective thing you can do to improve your diet is to cut down – or cut out – processed foods, ready-made meals, and take-out foods. For example, don’t buy a jar of pasta sauce (most now contain sugar) but make your own from canned or fresh tomatoes, herbs, onions and garlic. Don’t eat breakfast cereals and granolas which contain added sugar, but eat a bowl of oats. And if you really want a slice of cake, make it yourself and use honey instead of white sugar.
Reduce salt and use better salt
Too much salt can lead to hypertension. Eat less processed foods with a high salt content. Avoid pouring too much salt on your meals and use naturally harvested sea salt for additional nutrition.
Lose extra weight
Extra weight increases the risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Losing weight can be a good way to look and feel healthier as well as lower your blood pressure.
Get enough water
Drink plenty of water. It can improve your concentration and help you from over eating. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty water throughout the day. More information on this here: How Much Water Should You Drink Per Day? (Fitness Jockey website)
Go easy on the sugar
Too much sugar can affect your health leading to diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Reduce intake of foods rich in sugar content. (Again, read the labels of all processed foods you buy as even foods that aren’t sweet often contain added sugar. Anything ending in ‘-ose’ is a sugar.)
Reduce stress and generally relax more
There is a definite link between stress levels and hypertension. Reduce stress and your blood pressure will lower accordingly. Laughing a lot is a good way to reduce stress and blood pressure so watch funny films or hang out more with your funniest friends 😉
I hope over the coming weeks to fill in all the details of my diet and exercise that have worked so remarkably well in lowering my blood pressure from dangerously high levels as a resource for others struggling with high blood pressure problems too.
If you have any questions and or suggestions please leave a comment. I will attempt to answer all feedback.
Take care, we’re all in this together.
P.S. If you suffer from high blood pressure and are considering alternative treatments being promoted on the web, be sure to check out my review pages (links in the top menu). I’ve checked most of the popular ones out and give you an objective assessment – warts and all!
More info on high blood pressure and how to lower it!
We did this because the most popular book, and the one I used – Get Natural! by David Riley – is no longer available. So we have researched and written our own guide. It’s up to date and comprehensive, covering everything you need to know about how to lower your blood pressure naturally. But don’t worry. While it contains a LOT of information, the book is laid out in nine easy-to-follow steps.
As such, we’ve imaginatively titled it: Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally – The Complete 9 Step Guide
You can work through each of these steps at whatever pace suits you – one a week, one a month. You just make small changes, bit by bit, and before you know it, you’re eating a healthier diet, being more active (in a way that’s integrated into your daily routine), and making a little time to ensure you’re relaxed and unstressed… And ultimately having not only lower blood pressure but a healthier and happier life in general!
Just click on the pic for more information. At the moment, we’re also giving away our guided slow breathing program for free when you buy the book. Enjoy!