Article by Gemma Hurditch
Give yourself the best chance of fighting high blood pressure naturally, with these tips from CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine).
High blood pressure, (hypertension), is a common condition in which the force of the blood against our artery walls is high enough to eventually cause health problems, such as heart disease. Since much of the problem is related to diet and lifestyle, fortunately there are numerous steps you can take to help avoid or reduce high blood pressure.
A healthy diet loaded with fresh vegetables, whole grains and fruits, legumes and nuts and can go a long way to keeping our blood pressure in check. Plant foods contain natural antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight the damaging oxidant and pro-inflammatory wave that you get when under stress or eating a less than exemplary diet. Whole, organic foods in their natural state are ideal, and form part of the ‘naturopathic’ or ‘nature cure’ approach to helping your body get what it needs to rebalance itself.
The naturopathic approach is also all about balance; fats are essential for health, but be picky! Stick to lean and unprocessed meats to reduce your intake of saturated fat. Good oils, such as our olive oil or flaxseed oil should be added at the dinner table, not cooked with. A dessert spoon is enough, don’t go overboard! If you must cook with fats, try coconut oil. Eliminate white flour/sugar foods and processed foods from your diet. These often contain unhealthy ‘manufactured’ fat such as ‘transfats’.
Salt causes your body to retain water and this can cause blood pressure to rise. Avoid adding salt to your diet and where you must use it, use salt preferably from plant based sources or Himalayan Crystal Salt, in very limited quantities.
In people who are overweight, even a slight weight loss (5 pounds) can significantly reduce their blood pressure.
Nicotine, one of the main active ingredients in smoke, increases blood pressure. It also causes damage to the blood vessel walls (hardening of the arteries or atherosclerosis) which causes a permanent increase in blood pressure. Give it up!
Drinking too much alcohol causes your blood pressure to go up, even if you are healthy.
Physical activity lowers blood pressure. In today’s world of screen-based work and entertainment, many people no longer engage in ANY meaningful physical activities! Start very slowly with 30-minute walks just around the block. Do this three times per week and build up from there.
There is now a proven link between stress, hypertension and heart disease. Reducing stress is one of the best natural cures for hypertension, so tackle what’s causing the stress, improve your diet, and get out into the fresh air for some exercise!
These tips have been provided by Gemma Hurditch and other lecturers at CNM (College of Naturopathic Medicine). CNM is the UK’s leading training provider in a range of natural therapies, with colleges across the UK and Ireland. To find out more about CNM courses, visit www.naturopathy-uk.com