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Nutrition and High Blood Pressure – A Lifestyle Strategy

Your heart is a dynamic force beating within your chest. It’s dependable and, without ceasing, rhythmically pumps blood through your body in a smooth undemanding process. It happens automatically, and we hardly give it a thought — normally. So, it is possible to have high blood pressure (hypertension) and be totally unaware or it. That is why it is regarded as dangerous, sometimes referred to as the ‘silent killer.’

When a blood pressure reading is taken, there are two numbers involved. The top number is called the systolic reading, being the pressure within the arteries as the heart beats out blood. The lower number is called the diastolic reading and that is the pressure within the arteries as your heart rests between beats.

At first, these numbers may appear confusing to the patient, but as you will see, it is fairly straightforward. The normal systolic pressure is 120, normal diastolic pressure is 80. That is presented as 120 over 80 (120/80). One’s age should be taken into account as blood pressure naturally changes over the years. Roughly, if you are under 40 you are deemed to have high blood pressure (or hypertension) at 140/90. Over 40 and a reading of 160/95 is considered too high.

Untreated, it opens the way to a number of other health problems. These vary according to the severity and the duration of hypertension but it includes strokes and heart attacks.

Hypertension carries the same risk factors as cardiovascular disease. Please pay extra attention to your diet and lifestyle if you are overweight, diabetic, a smoker, a post-menopausal woman, live a sedentary lifestyle, or have to cope with too much stress.

Nutrition

Include fresh broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, celery, garlic**, onions, parsley, spinach and tomatoes in your diet. Sprinkle your food with cayenne pepper. Recommended fruits are peaches, pears, pineapple, strawberries and oranges — all fresh, of course.

Magnesium is best found in organically grown fruit and vegetables. When these foods are eaten fresh and raw, the magnesium in them lowers blood pressure, and reduces angina and palpitations.

Eat sensibly. Improve your nutritional knowledge by learning to read food labels for ingredients and nutritional guidelines. Help your body combat high blood pressure by giving it the best nutrition. Nature is generous, providing us with delicious remedies in the form of food. Some of the foods listed above will appeal to you more than others. That’s OK; just make sure you have reasonable quantities on a daily basis of those items that appeal to you most.

**Garlic benefits both high and low blood pressure.

What to Avoid

Alcohol and smoking aggravate high blood pressure.

Avoid the herb rosemary whether used in food, or as an essential oil in aromatherapy.

Avoid high doses of vitamin D. Vitamin D is found in eggs, milk, fish and fish liver oil as well as in sunflower seeds.

Avoid salt. It swells up the cells, increasing blood pressure.