What does blood do and what is it's function? Blood moves carbon dioxide and oxygen to and from the lungs. Blood moves nutrients, fats, amino acids and sugars around the body, along with a whole host of other things such as hormones. Your blood has to quickly push nutrients and oxygen to every part of the body, especially the extremities of you toes, fingers and brain. If blood pressure is slightly high, the tissues and brain receive oxygen and nutrients more effectively.
How can we reduce blood pressure naturally?
Drugs are not the answer to a high blood pressure reading. You need to fix some of the underlying problems first and ensure that you are eating a whole food diet with the correct balance of micro-nutrients.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Ensure you have enough electrolytes (Sodium, potassium and magnesium).
- Improve your arteries with collagen, vitamin C, vitamin K2, vitamin D.
- Don't be afraid of salt.
- Cut the processed foods and sugars.
- Omega-3 is vital (we recommend krill oil supplements).
- Get plenty of vitamin D, C and E.
- Vitamin B6, B12 and folic acid (B9).
- Exercise and be active.
- Reduce stress.
- Improve your kidney health.
- Improve thyroid health.
- Reduce insulin resistance.
- Lose weight.
- Stop smoking.
Taking your blood pressure
When you go to get your blood pressure taken, you may have driven to a clinic and found parking, then you queue to finally see the nurse or doctor. This all adds stress and will typically raise your BP a few notches. Added to this the variability of the test itself (cuff size, operator error) and this will add a wide margin of error to you result. It could mean that you walk away with a prescription for BP medication!
- Don't drink a coffee or smoke 30 minutes before the test.
- Sit quietly for five minutes before the test begins, breathing calmly.
- During the measurement, sit in a chair with your feet on the floor and your arm supported so your elbow is at about heart level.
- The inflatable part of the cuff should completely cover at least 80% of your upper arm, and the cuff should be placed on bare skin, not over a shirt.
- Don't talk during the measurement.
- Have your blood pressure measured twice, with a brief break in between. If the readings are different by 5 points or more, have it done a third time.
- Get readings from both arms.
Slight variations in blood pressure between left and right is normal, but when the difference is five points or greater, it could signal trouble. A British study found that people with a 5 or more difference between arms had nearly double the risk of dying from heart disease.
Insulin resistance and pre-diabetes
High blood pressure is typically correlated with insulin resistance, which results from a diet high in processed foods and sugar. As your insulin rises in response to glucose, so does your blood pressure.
Fructose and HFCS elevates uric acid, which drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the Nitrous oxide (NO) in your blood vessels (Uric acid is a byproduct of fructose metabolism). NO dilates your blood vessels and maintains their elasticity, so NO suppression leads to increases in blood pressure. You must keep your sugar levels down, particularly high fructose corn syrup which is present in most processed foods.
The best way to control your insulin, reduce blood pressure and reverse diabetes is to start fasting. A combination of regular fasts each month and a simple regime of intermittent fasting will result in your insulin and blood pressure being in control.
Salt is good for you
There is around 9g of sodium in one litre of blood and the kidneys filter around 200 litres of blood per day. So the kidneys are filtering and recycling an astonishing 1.8kg of sodium per day (the equivalent of 4.7kg of salt as NaCl). Doctors wrongly recommend an intake of a teaspoon a day. Do you think taking 2 or 3 teaspoons of salt per day would affect the kidneys? 3 teaspoons of salt a day would only make the kidneys process 0.2% more salt!
Restricting salt to less than 3000mg/day causes artery stiffening hormones such as renin, angiotensin II, and aldosterone to sky-rocket and also activates stress hormones noradrenaline and adrenaline. Before the advent of refrigerators, salt was used to preserve a wide range of foods and average salt intake was huge – heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure was relatively unheard of. The Romans ate 25g of salt per day but our kidneys can actually filter out 100g of salt per day! In 19th century Europe, it was about 18 g per day.
The negative aspects of having low salt levels (sodium chloride) far outweigh the alleged negatives of having high levels of salt. If your body has excess salt it will either sweat it out or pass it through the kidneys into the urine. Your body is perfectly designed to get rid of excess salt, but it’s not designed to function on very low levels.
The real white powder villain is sugar, not salt.
The hormone aldosterone is essential for sodium conservation in the kidney, salivary glands, sweat glands and colon, if you don’t get enough salt your body will produce way more aldosterone which has several bad effects such as a clear increase in blood pressure and increased water retention. Aldesterone will cause more potassium to leave the cells via urine (as it tries to increase sodium released into the blood to compensate for a lower salt intake). Increased levels of aldosterone have been clearly linked to a rise in the bodies insulin levels. Consuming four cups of coffee results in a loss of ½ to 1 tsp of salt.
Plenty of salt = no problems. 11g of salt a day seems to be the optimal amount (if you exercise lots or have low insulin due to a low carb diet, you will need more).
Studies have clearly shown that having the correct balance of potassium to sodium is far more important than lowering salt alone. Eat plenty of potassium!
Going barefoot will help you ground to the earth. Experiments show that walking barefoot outside (also referred to as Earthing or grounding) improves blood viscosity and blood flow, which help regulate blood pressure. So, do yourself a favor and ditch your shoes now and then.
Grounding also calms your sympathetic nervous system, which supports your heart rate variability. This in turn promotes homeostatis, or balance, in your autonomic nervous system. In essence, anytime you improve heart rate variability, you're improving your entire body and all of its functions.
Dietary Intake of Vitamin B12 and folic acid is associated with lower blood pressure.. An elevated plasma homocysteine level is an independent risk factor for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease and its level is regulated by three vitamins; vitamin B6, B12, and folic acid (B9).
Most Western diets are deficient in omega-3 fats. Omega-3’s fats are anti-inflammatory, they help regulate heartbeats, ensure healthy blood clotting and reduce the build up of fat in our arteries - all things that will reduce blood pressure. Omega-3 lowers the risks of having a heart attack or stroke. Not having enough omega-3 whilst having too many omega-6 fats can actually heighten the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Omega-6 fats primarily come from vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, corn oil and soy bean oil (and they are often GMO too). Omega-6 is added to way too many processed foods like pastries & cakes, biscuits, crisps, snacks, take-away food, ready meals, breads, margarine and breakfast cereals. The RDA for omega-3 is 250-500mg and the upper safe limit is 3000mg. 1000mg per day is a superb dosage. The main source of omega-3 is oily fish. The following are omega-3 content (mg) in a 3oz portion:
- Wild sockeye salmon, 730mg. Sockeye is super rich in the powerful anti-oxidant called astaxanthin and vitamin D. Farmed salmon is also a cruel industry and the fish are fed an unnatural diet that is high in toxins.
- Atlantic Salmon 1,820mg. Farmed salmon should be avoided. Each pen is about 60 to 100 feet square and 100 feet deep. A single pen holds 50,000 to 90,000 fish. A large farm may have 3 million fish in pens. It has been described as a toxic farming method.
- Herring, 1,800mg. Herring is super for vitamin D – also great when pickled).
- Anchovies, 1,750mg
- Sablefish/Black Cod 1,520mg
- Canned ockeye salmon, smoked (Native Alaska) 1,335mg
- Bluefin tuna, 1,300mg
- Halibut, 1,000mg
- Mackerel, 1,050mg
- Sardines, 830mg (sardines are super rich in vitamin B12 and selenium, plus many other micro-nutrients).
- Trout, 830mg
- Mussels, 665mg
Omega-3 supplements - go for krill oil
95% of fish oils are heavily processed and contain the rancid oils of farmed or low quality fish. We recommend krill oil supplements in capsule form. As well as being rich in omega-3, the krill oil also contains the potent anti-oxidant called astaxanthin. Krill oil is made from krill, a small, shrimp-like crustacean that lives in the cold oceans of the world. Krill supply is also plentiful. Krill oil also contains vitamin E and vitamin A. The bioavailability of its omega-3 is also said to be way better than fish oil. Krill oil is packed with omega-3 AND the amazing anti-oxidant astaxanthin.
The other excellent option is line-caught cod liver oil. There are several high quality Alaskan natural oils.
Sildenafil citrate was being studied as a medication to treat high blood pressure and angina. In early trials of the drug in the 1990's, researchers noticed an interesting side effect, an increase in erections. The dilation of the small blood vessels throughout the body will result in a decrease in blood pressure.
Blood vessel dilators (food viagra!)
Several foods are known to have a beneficial effect on blood pressure. These foods have a dilation effect throughout the body. Foods such as beetroot juice can reduce blood pressure in those diagnosed with hypertension 5-8 mmHg systolic and 4 mmHg diastolic pressure. Dilating foods can have the same effect as expensive medications for blood pressure.
The beneficial effects are related to the nitrates found in several foods such as beetroot. The salivary glands and oral bacteria play an essential role in the conversion process from nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2-) to nitric oxide (NO). It is critical not to use chemical mouth washes and some toothpastes because thay destroy the mouth bacteria. Nitrous oxide helps relax and dilate your blood vessels, and helps prevent blood clots. Other vegetables high in NO3 include pomegranate, radishes, kale, celery, mustard greens, spinach, cabbage, leeks and carrots (garlic and watermelon also).
Studies have found that watermelon increases the volume of semen and has a viagra like effect. That’s because the fruit is rich in an amino acid called citrulline, which relaxes and dilates blood vessels much like Viagra and other drugs meant to treat erectile dysfunction. L-Citrulline is one of the three dietary amino acids in the urea cycle, alongside L-arginine and L-Ornithine. L-Citrulline reduces fatigue and improves endurance for both aerobic and anaerobic prolonged exercise. Your kidneys change L-citrulline into another amino acid called L-arginine and nitric oxide (NO). L-citrulline boosts nitric oxide production in the body. Nitric oxide helps your arteries relax and work better, which improves blood flow throughout your body. This may be helpful for treating or preventing many diseases, and improving erections.