Ok, you are probably wondering why a picture with a cat? Lol….well first of all, if you know me, I LOVE CATS…. But seriously, I will relate the cat picture soon enough.
We all likely have heard about how important it is to have good blood pressure. But, did you know with extended high blood pressure, you are damaging your heart permanently?? In fact, high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and the number ONE risk factor for stroke.
You don’t want that, nor do you want to be at higher risk of developing Dementia. Yep, that’s in the research. Come to one of my Optimal Brain Health webinars, and you will learn all about it.
Ok, so here is a bit of an overview so you can feel good about how your blood pressure is fairing.
What is high blood pressure? This is when the blood pressure in your arteries rises, and your heart must work super hard, harder than normal, to pump blood through your blood vessels.
To break it down further, Systolic the top number is the measure of the pressure when your heart contracts and pushes blood through the arteries. The bottom (Diastolic) measures the pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
Here are the categories. I recommend you get your blood pressure checked by a health practitioner fairly often. Maybe get a blood pressure cuff and check it at home. It’s easy to learn how.
Low risk 120/80, Medium risk 121-134/80-84, and High Risk 135+/85+
There are exceptions, such as if you have Diabetes, the high-risk category is lower.
So how do you control your blood pressure? There are many factors to take into consideration. Unfortunately, age, ethnicity, and gender are out of our control. However, diet, exercise, and smoking can be addressed.
Let’s dive deeper into what you can do to improve your blood pressure.
- Reduce your salt intake from highly processed foods. I am a fan of good quality salt, and yes, I like to use salt, but I mean, Celtic salt, sea salt, Himalayan pink salt. Believe me, processed and packaged foods use cheap salt!
- Improve your potassium intake by eating fresh fruits, vegetables, beans, and lentils. (Check to ensure more potassium does not contradict any of your medications.)
- Move your body! Try for 20-30 minutes a day of whatever you enjoy.
- Strive for a healthy weight. Easier said than done. But if you can maintain a healthy weight, you reduce your risk of high blood pressure, not to mention stroke and heart attack.
- Run away from smoke. Literally, don’t be a second-hand smoker! I won’t get into SMOKING because if you are a smoker, you know it’s bad for you! Please seek support to stop this habit.
- Did you know that drinking alcohol increases your blood pressure? Yup. Try to limit to 0-2 drinks in a day. Should I also mention drinking caffeine? I won’t really mention it, but yes….reducing caffeine will reduce your blood pressure, but you didn’t hear from me.
Now for the good stuff. Reducing your stress. Because reduced stress = lower blood pressure. So many great ways to do this. For example: stop watching the news! Stop opening your bills! Ok, no, you must do this but how about, pay your bills on time. In other words, eliminate anything in your life that is causing or could cause you stress. That does not mean to trade or exchange your spouse, BUT if there is someone in your life that is always negative and causes you strife, make the positive changes you deserve.
Get a professional massage, go to a meditation class or download a meditation App, cuddle a pet, i.e., a super cute cat! This is why you see therapy…yes, dogs in airports and hospital lobbies. What else can reduce your stress? Aromatherapy, afternoon nap, using a weighted blanket, eating a healthy diet, taking appropriate breaks in your day, getting good quality sleep, have a bonding conversation with a close friend.
Lastly, a few food hacks, did you know that eating bananas can reduce your blood pressure? That one was easy because of all the potassium. Sweet potatoes, again because of the potassium. Garlic naturally lowers blood pressure since the compound Allicin in garlic helps relax and dilate our blood vessels. Oatmeal because it is low in sodium and high in fiber. Berries, my favorite Blueberries because they are shown to reduce blood clots and promote relaxation of blood vessels. And…. Dark chocolate because the flavonoids relax our blood vessels… you’re welcome. 70% or higher cocoa.
I hope you found this article helpful!
Posted September 23, 2021