Blood pressure is the force of the blood against the walls of the arteries, Blood pressure is determined by two factors: the strength of the heartbeat and the resistance of the arteries and capillaries. The tiny arteries which lead into the capillary network, regulate blood pressure more than any other body part.
They contract or relax in rhythm with the heartbeat as a result of muscular tissue in their walls. A reading in the normal range would be 120/80 or less. The first number is called systolic pressure and the second, diastolic.
Each time the heart beats, there is an increase in pressure.This high point is called systolic pressure. In between beats is
the low point called diastolic pressure. Diastolic pressure is given the most attention because if it is too high the arteries are under excessive pressure.”While some people need drugs to lower their blood pressure, millions can do it through diet,” says Norman Kaplan, M.D., the nationally known blood pressure expert, Add to that stopping smoking, keeping alcohol intake at a minimum (or not at all, depending on blood pressure levels), learning relaxation techniques, exercising regularly, and taking nutrient supplements to combat toxins, address any dietary inadequacies, and support your physical and mental health
Eating an ideal diet will not only lower blood pressure but restore health to damaged blood vessels, kidneys, hearts, and brains. Whole fresh foods; lots of fresh fruits and vegetables, especially leafy greens; grains and legumes; nuts and seeds; only low fat or no fat dairy foods; lighten up on meat and have deep water fish at least once a week. This diet ensures high fiber intake, increased unsaturated fat and decreased saturated fat intake, a beneficial mineral balance, and, weight loss, if required. A natural diet also provides greater fiber intake and the use of vegetable-based (rather than animal-based) oil sources. Both high fiber levels and low fat intake, emphasizing unsaturated fats, have been shown to have benefits in lowering blood pressure. As naturopathic physician Michael Murray has stated, “The lack of dietary fiber is a common underlying factor in many diseases of western ‘civilization.'”
Concerning fat intake, in cultures where the diet is high in poly- or mono-unsaturated fatty acids, blood pressure levels are more healthy. This is because the body uses vegetable fatty acids to make those little cellular hormones called prostaglandins. Some of these, the “E” series, regulate blood pressure and are known to be decreased in hypertensive people. In addition, a wholesome diet is low in sodium, provides sufficient potassium, magnesium, and calcium (necessary to healthy blood pressure), and is free of foods like salt, sugar, hydrogenated fats, caffeine, and white flour. These response, using up nutrients and weakening the body’s ability to recover from emotional stressors. Last, even moderate amounts of alcohol can produce acute hypertension in some people. The problem is labeled acute because researchers at Northwestern University have found that blood pressure goes down when drinking ceases and gradually returns to unsafe levels when drinking resumes, smoking is out. Not only is it a major heart disease risk factor, nicotine actually constricts the small blood vessels, directly affecting blood pressure levels.
Blood pressure rises in two ways: 1) the arteries constrict, creating a
greater resistance to blood flow; 2) fluid in the cardiovascular system is increased.
Sodium can effect both of these. Although sodium occurs naturally in food, it
accounts for only about the cause 10 percent of total sodium intake. It is sodium chloride, salt, which is
the culprit. In cultures where salt is used, people tend to have higher blood pressure
in salt-using cultures, blood pressure levels escalate with age. Although
only 200-1000 mg of sodium a day are essential for health, the average
American consumes 10-50 times that amount.
The British Medical Journal reported that a modest reduction of sodium (from 8
grams down to 5 grams per day) will reduce the risk of stroke by 22 percent
and heart disease by 16 percent. Even if you are not at risk, The higher your salt intake, the more water retention and weight gain you may experience Further, salt may increase the risk of premature osteoporosis. The more salt in your diet, the more calcium will be excreted from your body. Moderate salt intake is considered to be no more than 4-6 grams per day. It is important to remember that 75 percent of the salt in the average diet comes from processed foods, so read those labels! We add only 15 percent to food at the table.
Health Counselor editor Karolyn Gazella reports that the typical American diet includes twice as much sodium as potassium. This results in water retention and the loss of potassium through the urine. In fact, Researchers from the University of Mississippi report that too little potassium combined with too much sodium may be a major contributing factor in the development of hypertension.
Animal studies have shown potassium to be protective against both kidney damage and strokes, two of the major health problems which can occur as a result of ongoing high blood pressure. When high blood pressure occurs, patients are given diuretics to stimulate the excretion of excess fluids. Since this process robs the body of potassium, potassium supplements are often prescribed. However, magnesium, which has been called “one of the most promising and least-used minerals” for blood pressure control, is also lost. It is not replaced. Unfortunately, the body cannot store potassium without magnesium. In the presence of adequate amounts of both potassium and magnesium, the potassium itself increases the excretion of sodium and excess fluids.
Dietary sources of potassium include apple juice, apricots, avocado, bananas, legumes, beets,
cantaloupe, carrots, oranges, pears, white and sweet potatoes, raisins, salmon, sardines,
watermelon, and winter squash. Amounts of 4-6 grams per day are recommended. Magnesium is highest
in whole grains and leafy greens, but also occurs in many fruits and vegetables. The recommended
intake ranges from 300-500 mg. Dr. Kaplan reports a “major controversy”
surrounding the usefulness of calcium in lowering blood pressure. However, he did indicate that up
to 30 percent of people with high blood pressure also excrete calcium in their urine and that
calcium supplementation. Calcium is found in yogurt and other milk products, soybeans, sardines,
salmon, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and leafy greens.
Stroke is the third leading cause of death in the U.S. High blood
pressure is the most common known risk factor. (It is also a risk factor for heart attack.)
Evidence exists showing that adequate levels of magnesium, potassium, and calcium to be linked with
lower blood pressure. The importance of magnesium in blood pressure control is demonstrated by a
recent study conducted by Honolulu Heart Program researchers. When 61 different dietary factors
were examined, magnesium showed the strongest link between high intake and low blood pressure.
Men getting 330-1,429 mg a day had the lowest blood pressure. A Georgetown University study showed
that persons with high blood pressure had an 11 percent drop following magnesium therapy.
Giving extra potassium to people with mildly elevated blood pressure can also result in
decreases. A Duke University study showed that after two months of potassium supplementation,
hypertensives experienced as much as a 20 point drop in blood pressure.