Blood Pressure, the Silent Killer

Denise Tam, Holistic Nutritionist 

Worldwide, hypertension causes about 7.5 million deaths according to the World Health Organization. The American Heart Association had amended its definition of ‘high’ blood pressure to be 130/80 mm Hg,citing that the risk of cardiovascular complications doubled when a person’s blood level reaches these lower numbers. 

However Hong Kong’s definition of ‘high’ blood pressure remains the same.1 in 3 people in Hong Kong have high blood pressure, and 1 in 6 are not even aware of it. What is more alarming though is that only about 40% of those on BP (blood pressure). Medication attains good control of their blood pressure. Fortunately, over 85 percent of those who have hypertension can normalize their blood pressure through lifestyle modifications

Some reasons for Blood Pressure not normally discussed:

Other than the typical reasons of stress, overweight, genetics, salt consumption etc, there may be other reasons your heart may be in danger. 

Inaccurate Reading
You may not actually have hypertension. The white coat syndrome is actually sometimes true and so when your doctor wants to put you on a blood pressure-lowering drug, you can perhaps try monitoring it at home for a week or two first to get a more accurate reading.

Other drugs, like birth control pills, antidepressants, ibuprofen, and aspirin, that are taken on a regular basis and can lead to chronically high hypertension.

A new study published in the journal, Hypertension, shows a direct link of the chemical BPA found in the lining of some cans and plastic bottles and the raising of blood pressure.

Sugar (less so than salt!)
If you have high blood pressure you most likely also have high insulin and vice versa. So we need to be cautious of our sugar consumption and of fructose in particular, the sugar that is generally added to processed foods and drinks. A study showed that those who consumed 74g or more of fructose (equivalent to around 2.5 cans of soda or 1/2 a cup of dried dates) had a 77 percent greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg.

When you’re not sleeping well, your body is in fact in a state of stress. According to the National Sleep Foundation, drops in your blood oxygen level, along with reduced quality of sleep, can also trigger the release of stress hormones, which raise your heart rate and increase your risk for high blood pressure. 

KEEP CALM with these BP lowering tips:

Cut down on processed foods that are usually high in both sugar and sodium.

Avoid foods that raise your insulin, and increase protein, fibre and balance your sodium and potassium levels by eating more potassium rich foods like kale, baked sweet potato and celery. A study shows that celery (often used as a blood cleaner) relaxes the tissues of the artery walls to increase blood flow and reduce blood pressure.

90% of us do this inaccurately. Breathing!
Most of us breathe shallow breaths which do not carry enough oxygen to our cells and blood. Clinical trials have shown that daily RESPeRATE use (a breathing device) lowered blood pressure, as much as a blood pressure pill would have. But you don’t need a machine,simply practice deep breathing techniques for 6 cycles to lower BP. 

Omega 3 Balance

In one of the most comprehensive studies on omega 3 involving 16 countries and over 45,000 participants, it showed that high levels of Omega 3 serum levels have a direct correlation to lower blood pressure. Majority of us are either deficient or have an imbalance of omega 3 & 6 due to our processed foods that are high in vegetable oils like soy and corn.

Because this is an essential nutrient that can’t be made by our bodies and it’s hard to find a good clean, unprocessed source in our diet, my omega intake is a foundational food rather than a supplement. I personally take Udo’s Oil a plant based source of omega 3 and 6’s and sometimes top up with a sustainably sourced and clean processed Krill Oil periodically so that I can get a direct source of the DHA. 

Relax with Magnesium
Magnesium is truly the miracle mineral but particularly in the case of hypertension. It can help relax your blood vessels, improve sleep, increase your circulation, regulate calcium, sodium and potassium levels and can calm nerves among a host of other things. Unfortunately with our depleted topsoil and constant stress, our magnesium levels are also being severely depleted, about 80% of us deficient in this important mineral.

Read more about this important nutrient that 80% of us are deficient in!

How do we replenish our magnesium levels?

  • We can take magnesium supplements, but be sure to choose natural and easily absorbable ones.
  • One of the best ways to absorb magnesium is through our skin through a salt water bath. Foot soaks with high quality and pure salts are a great way to relax after a long day.

Salus Magnesium (Here)

Highly absorbable magnesium derived from fruits, herbs and vegetables. Drink it as is or mix with water or juice.

Lavender Kneipp Bath Salt (Here)

Soak your feet or body in this balancing and calming bath salt. Kneipp salts are taken from Europe’s oldest underground salt mine and are higher in magnesium, calcium and other nourishing minerals.

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