So from September 12-18, we are supposed to “know your numbers” - the British Heart Foundation wants us to understand and prevent high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is the force at which blood pumps from the heart into the arteries. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mmHg. When left untreated it can cause damage to the heart and arteries, including heart attack, heart disease, congestive heart failure.
As a Yoga teacher and Health and Wellness Advisor, I am always researching ways we can naturally bring the body back into a state of “ease” rather than “dis-ease”. “Dis-ease” is often a result of not listening to the early messages our bodies give us or feeling educated on how to take responsibility for our own health and wellbeing.
Let’s remind ourselves of five obvious things we KNOW!
1 Lose weight – Men have an increased chance of HBP with waist size of 40” + and Women 35” +
3 Eat a Mediterranean Diet with high levels of Olive and natural oils (finally the low fat message has been heard!!)
4 Don’t use table salt – opt for Himalayan rock salt - contains the same 84 trace minerals found in the human body! Including sodium chloride, calcium, potassium, and magnesium. You get less sodium intake per serving than regular table salt
5 Reduce Alcohol, smoking and caffeine consumption
Have you heard of these ... ?
-- Drink Hibiscus tea – cultures across the world use Hibiscus tea to control HBP as it acts like an ACE inhibitor. After six weeks, it was found that subjects who consumed hibiscus tea had significantly lower systolic blood-pressure level compared with the placebo group.
-- Drink Coconut water – it contains potassium and magnesium both of which regulate muscle function and the heart is a BIG muscle!
-- Consume more potassium - it lessens the effects of sodium in the body. Natural sources are: potatoes, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, bananas.
-- Have Watermelon for breakfast! – it regulates Vascular Systemic Resistance – to you and me- it widens your blood vessels!!
-- Eat Garlic! Mr Hofel from Woolpit was the first man to get garlic into a pill form so the benefits are not destroyed by stomach acid – garlic has been used for years to lower HBP.
-- Reduce stress in your life (or exposure to people or situations that you find stressful).
Two ways to help do this:
-- Learn to breathe deeply – Harvard study showed the body goes into “Relaxation Response” when breathing rate gets down to 5 breaths a minute – then resting heart rate and blood pressure start to drop. Most of us breathe at 10-15 breaths per minute!! Aim for 6 sec. exhale followed by 6 sec. inhale – take a few minutes out of your day and practice!
-- Try yoga (well I would say that!) just type “Yoga for high blood pressure/ stress relief” into Google and be amazed at the volume of studies demonstrating the benefits of specific yoga poses, like the bridge, pictured above.
The video to accompany this article can be viewed at Carole’s website: www.carolebaker.co.uk/resources/videos
There is also an accompanying handout: www.carolebaker.co.uk/resources/free-health-downloads/13-health-research-information
The suggestions in this article are the personal opinion of the author. Please do not take any new remedies if you are currently on any medication without the consent of your GP.