Today my post is going to be a bit different.
Today, I would like to share with you the progress I am making with some of the natural approaches I am using to manage my blood pressure. I hope sharing my story will help each and everyone of you who is dealing with this extremely common condition.
And also, it is my wish that this blog will give you the hope and confidence that there are indeed natural and very effective approaches to managing blood pressure that you can try for yourselves!!
The Doctor Tells me “It’s time to monitor your blood pressure!”
It started innocuously enough in December when I went to see my Doctor to get the results of some routine blood work. Those results were fine.
However, out of the blue he decided to check my blood pressure and that result was not so good!! I had a reading of something like 150+/90+ (Sorry, I can’t remember the exact numbers now). Anyhow safe to say it was of concern to him, and he instructed me to start taking my blood pressure regularly at home and to bring in my results to show him at my next visit in about 3 months.
I went away from this appointment with some very mixed feelings and a certain amount of denial. I refused to believe I had high blood pressure, but knew that due to some previous health issues with my cardio-vascular system I needed to make sure I was right. So I decided to start monitoring my blood pressure daily.
And then there was my determination that I was not going to end up on blood pressure medications without exhausting all the other options out there first.
Putting my knowledge to work
Fortunately, my fledgeling website which I set up just a month or so earlier would become an important resource for my issue too! So as I developed my pages, I took some of the knowledge gained from the research which went into each post and applied it to my personal situation, as follows:
This is probable the most important category when it comes to managing blood pressure levels in my opinion. Immediately, I cut back on all processed and packaged foods, as well as fast foods.
Instead I started to include way more fresh fruits and vegetables into my diet, and at the same time reduced my intake of processed carbohydrates.
My review of the DASH diet certainly helped my food choices here. In addition, I started taking advantage of those vegetables which are essential to control blood pressure by raising Nitric Oxide levels and also began to make beet smoothies daily. And I added fermented foods (sauerkraut and beets) into the mix.
Finally, I started cutting back on coffee (I now enjoy one cup a day) and upped my consumption of filtered water.
I also added a cup of Hibiscus Tea each day.
Exercise and Health
I have always been an active person so it was luckily not too difficult to make this even more a part of my lifestyle. There is no doubt that exercise has a very beneficial effect on blood pressure. The trick is to find ways to incorporate activity into your daily routines.
So, in addition to going to the gym to work out on light weights and do moderate cardio-vascular about 2-3 times a week, I have adopted an approach of walking or biking whenever I can instead of driving. I never use the elevator in my condo building and I try not to sit for prolonged periods of time.
To my way of thinking any type of activity or sustained movements are beneficial!
The human body was after all designed for movement and physical activity.
The supplements I am using right now are more geared towards improving blood circulation and reducing inflammation in the body and maintaining a healthy immune system. This is largely due to my circulatory issues.
However, blood pressure is also dependent upon a strong circulatory and cardiovascular system, so I am quite certain that a further benefit of my supplements is to help keep keep my blood pressure within healthy limits. Currently I am taking the following:
- Coenzyme Q10 - there is some emerging evidence that CoQ10 does indeed help with blood pressure issues. (I definitely plan to take a closer look at this in a future post)
- Blockbuster All Clear - (Blockbuster1C) This is from Good Health Naturally and is again primarily intended to improve the cardio-vascular/circulatory system. But it does include some ingredients which have been linked to reducing blood pressure, such as Olive Leaf and Grapeseed Extract and Pycnogenol.
- Vitamin D3 with K2 - Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to a whole host of health problems. Please see Dr Mercola’s article about this for more information here. And some of these can be indirectly linked to blood pressure problems.
- Omega-3 supplement. - Studies have found that Omega-3 Fatty Acids can help to lower blood pressure. In order to ensure that I am getting enough I have added a supplement to the natural Omega-3’s I get in my diet from fish, nuts and seeds. The Omega-3 to Omega-6 ratio is also an important consideration here since too much Omega-6 can lead to chronic inflammation in the body, which can be a trigger for circulatory issues and high blood pressure. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information:
“Excessive amounts of omega-6 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) and a very high omega-6/omega-3 ratio, as is found in today’s Western diets, promote the pathogenesis of many diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.”
Supplementation definitely has its role, although my ultimate goal is still to rely on eating a healthy, wholesome and organic diet as my first line of defence to control my blood pressure. This may be unrealistic in the end, but even if I fall short of this, I will have the satisfaction of having found a formula which still works for me!
This is still largely an area that I need to further explore.
It is the area in which I have the least number of posts so far.
But hopefully this will change in time. I do spend some time working on my deep breathing each day, and I book weekly massage appointments, both of which have had a beneficial effect on my blood pressure.
I have also dabbled in some meditation but need to improve my efforts in this area. I think joining a meditation group may be one way to go for me.
So clearly an area of exploration for future posts!!
The Effects on my Blood Pressure
Well this is the exciting thing - and what makes everything worth while!!
Since December I have monitored my BP, taking readings at least once per day and at different times throughout the day to ensure a more reliable record.
As we know, blood pressure is dynamic and fluctuates constantly throughout the day depending on what you are doing.
During December it wasn’t uncommon for me to get readings in the 135-140 (SYSTOLIC) over 94-98 (DIASTOLIC) range.
By March my readings had come down into 123-130 over 85-90 range
Currently, taking an average reading from my blood pressure cuff over the last 30 readings the dial shows:
So there is no doubt about it that the changes I have made are working for me…
and this is very gratifying!
In reviewing my progress to date it has become clear to me that all the changes I have made in my lifestyle, (from diet, exercise, stress management, getting a good night’s sleep), have all contributed to helping me in my quest to manage my blood pressure effectively using natural means and approaches.
Of course, everyone is different and so it may require a slightly different combination of the areas I have discussed to find that winning formula.
But I am convinced that with perseverance, education and experimentation it should be possible for almost anyone to find the natural solution to having or maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
I hope I have been able to help you in this journey in some small way, and I would really welcome your feedback, as well as hearing your stories of how your progress is going on your journey to better health.