By Guest Blogger: Danielle Lebon, Registered Massage Therapist, Acupuncturist, & Nutritionist Candidate
High blood pressure affects 7.4 millions of Canadians, according to Hypertension Canada. The great news is you can take control with diet and exercise! I want to share some simple and easy tips to help you improve your blood pressure or, if you have a family history or a lot of stress in your life (and who doesn’t!), here some great ideas to help prevent high blood pressure for you.
Some of the big contributors of high blood pressure are chronic and overuse of caffeine, stress, elevated body weight, lack of exercise and chronic shallow breathing – that’s right, breathing just in the upper part of your chest can add to your chances of high blood pressure. Also, not getting enough good fats and a diet low in potassium and high in sodium increase your blood pressure.
So what can you do about it? To start, deep breathing can help. Just breathe into your belly and feel you ribs expand as you take slower and deeper breaths. Go ahead and try it right now. Already you can feel you heart beat slowing down, and your heart is pumping blood more effectively!
Go outside and enjoy a walk around the block. Or go to a washroom on another floor in your office building – and take the stairs to get there and back. Exercise of one of your best defenses against so many diseases that affect us. Yoga or swimming can really help shut out the stress and focus your mind on your breathing (yes, that slow, deep breathing we just talk about), but any moderate exercise is good exercise.
Change up your diet with some easy tweaks. Incorporate 4-6 ribs celery a day to decrease your blood pressure by 12-14%, thanks to a little molecule called 3-n-butylphthalide. Add some high potassium foods to balance that high sodium intake that is often the culprit by adding some sweet potatoes, avocadoes or lentils to your meals. Cold water fish add some good essential fats; try cooking up some Atlantic mackerel, cod, haddock, salmon or canned light tuna or sardines for dinner tonight. Include some pumpkin seeds or walnuts. Ground flax seeds can punch up the fats and increase your fibre; fibre is useful to help eliminate toxins and other crap that can build up.
There are even a few supplements that can assist lowering hypertension. Magnesium is once of my favourites since it relaxes all smooth muscles, that includes your blood vessels. As I motioned earlier, fibre is fantastic and has been shown to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Coenzyme Q10 is an antioxidant that also protects the heart. If you are taking statins drugs to help control your blood pressure, these medications deplete your body’s natural stores of CoQ10, so it is very beneficial to include a supplemental form.
And just a quick note, if you do have high blood pressure already, it’s important to avoid licorice (although, DGL is okay), ephedra (found in some cough medicines) and panax ginseng, as these herbs all raise blood pressure.
Interested to learn more? Join Dr. Lisa Tabrizi, ND at the Locke Street Goodness Me on Monday February 23 at 6:00pm to learn more about how to keep your heart and blood pressure healthy!
To learn more about Danielle Lebon’s practice in Hamilton, Ontario, please visit http://www.lebontherapy.com/