natural high blood pressure control

Do you have High Blood Pressure?

Do you have High Blood Pressure? About  two thirds of the adult population is either pre-hypertensive or has High Blood Pressure. Only half of those people would consider their condition to be controlled. Then there are the ones who don’t even know that they have it! Common signs are chest pain, headaches, ear noise or buzzing, cold clammy skin, confusion, nose bleeds, tiredness, vision changes, dehydration and severe thirst. If you have a combination of any of these, it could be a sign of High Blood Pressure. I’m not a doctor, but I would say it would be prudent to see your doctor. It can be corrected through lifestyle changes and diet. Hopefully your doctor would consider this before jumping right onto the prescription options. Ultimately that choice is yours, and it depends on the severity. Get High Blood Pressure under control before it becomes lethal, causing heart attack, stroke, heart or kidney damage. I’ve pulled together some things that can help with controlling this common condition.

Dietary changes are an obvious first place to start. Lowering sodium intake and increasing potassium helps to regulate the electrical activity of the heart. Human studies have indicated that lower potassium levels can raise blood pressure. Aim for about 4700mg daily from all sources, including your multi-vitamin and other supplements in addition for food sources. Bananas, potatoes, legumes, mushrooms and spinach are all good sources of potassium. A potassium supplement can add another 99mg. (The FDA regulates the amount of this supplement to under 100mg in a single dose due to irritation to the intestinal tract.) Avoid processed foods and fast foods as they are notorious for being high in sodium. Make it a habit to check the sodium content on the nutrition panel of everything. You’d be surprised how high sodium can be, even in things you wouldn’t consider as “salty'”.

Other supplements can help as well. Magnesium is strongly linked with blood pressure. It can be taken as a supplement or found in almonds, cashews and spinach. Omega 3, which is extremely beneficial, should be taken as a supplement unless you consume 3 oz. of fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, or mackerel, or 1 oz.walnuts, 1/3oz.flax seeds or 1/4oz. chia seeds daily. However, marine sources of omega 3 are better utilized by the body. There are some wonderful supplement options, like GNC Triple Strength High EPA. Don’t go cheap with your omega 3 supplement, as the cheaper options tend to be lower in the active part, EPA, and can be fishy tasting and sometimes possibly contaminated. Check for product testing information and choose wisely.

CoQ10 is another supplement that is important. Although the body produces CoQ10, many diseases (post-myocardial infarction, fibromyalgia, depression, peyronies disease or Parkinson), prescription medications (primarily statins taken to lower cholesterol, but ask your pharmacist), and lifestyle choices can deplete it faster than the body can make it. Because of it’s function in nitric oxide production, CoQ10 protects blood vessels and helps enhance circulation and therefore regulates blood pressure. If you have High Blood Pressure and are a smoker, seriously consider quitting, and in the meantime, take 200mg of the ubiquinal form of CoQ10 for its high absorption rate. Smoking makes the blood more viscous and can increase blood pressure. Beef, chicken, herring, soy, broccoli, cauliflower, oranges, strawberries, and eggs are good dietary sources of CoQ10.

There are many natural things that are easily added to your daily routine that can have a positive effect on lowering High Blood Pressure. Herbs are synergistic, working together to provide a tonic effect to the heart, providing diuretic, antispasmodic and relaxing effects. Try Hawthorne, Linden, Yarrow, Hibiscus, Cramp Bark, or Valerian.

How about that morning smoothie? To help with controlling High Blood Pressure try one of these combinations; 1. beet, strawberries, orange, banana, and spinach in almond milk, 2. carrots, peaches, apricots, lettuce, and vanilla bean in water, 3. papaya, strawberries, banana and peach in almond milk, 4. banana, strawberries, red grapefruit, orange, swiss chard and spinach in water. Also try adding ginger which is a mild stimulant which improves circulation, thus lowering blood pressure.

I have been seriously enjoying adding essential oils to my days and nights. Here are some that can help with blood pressure: lemon balm, rose, lavender, chamomile, hibiscus, rosewood, basil, clary sage, ylang ylang, frankincense and marjoram. Essential oils can lower blood pressure by relaxing emotional stress and dilating arteries. You can inhale their aromas by making a blend and drop into steaming water, using a towel over your head to make a tent over the steaming pot, or use one of the many Aromatherapy diffusers available. Additionally, they can be added to a salve or oil, such as coconut oil and applied several times a day to reflex points over the heart, between the fingers, and on the soles of your feet. Make your own salve by mixing 1 cup coconut oil with 1 cup pure olive oil and 5 tablespoons of melted organic bees wax with 15 drops of each essential oil.

Yoga is another relaxing practice and these poses can be effective in lowering blood pressure; corpse pose, child’s pose, bridge. You can find many sites demonstrating these poses. Laying on the floor with your butt against a wall with your legs up the wall is another thing I’ve found that can lower blood pressure. A regular yoga practice, 2-3 times a week, has been associated with a drop in blood pressure, deep breathing and stress management. Pressure points such as the web between the pointer finger and thumb, the center of the inner wrist below the palm of the hand, and on the face at the same height as the earlobe about 1/2′ from the ear toward the nose, using a firm but gentle pressure on these points can also help with lowering High Blood Pressure.

Relax, breathe, and try a few of these practices dietary and lifestyle changes and see what works for you. Perhaps its a combination.  Most pharmacies have a blood pressure monitor available for public use. Use it to check your progress. And as always, listen to your body, it will always let you know what it needs if you listen.

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Bone up on Calcium!

 

“Bone up,” yeah funny, but getting enough of the right kind of calcium absorption is no laughing matter! Calcium absorption varies between sources of calcium and it’s important to know what you’re getting. Good thing there are plenty of foods that contain calcium, even if you are avoiding dairy. Food sources should always be your first choice for nutrition, but what if that’s not enough or your body isn’t processing it properly?

Did you know that the average woman needs between 1000[minimal] and 1200mg[optimum] of calcium a day? Or that your body can only absorb about 500-600mg at a time? How are those foods in the chart stacking up for your diet? If you’re not getting enough, you might want to supplement your calcium.

CALCIUM RICH FOODS, calcium absorption in mg

Supplementing calcium becomes even more important if you are post-menopausal, pregnant, breastfeeding, or are at risk or diagnosed with Osteopenia or Osteoporosis.

The kind of calcium you supplement with is important too. Gluconate, lactate, and phosphate are less absorpable forms of calcium. Don’t even get me started on calcium carbonate, which comes from limestone and requires a more acid environment to break down and be absorbed in the body. We usually aren’t trying to have a high acid environment in our body, especially as we age. High acid environments have been linked to many health issues; digestion issues, cancer growth, etc.

For most people a calcium citrate is a good choice. It can be taken any time, not requiring food, as long as it is in divided dose of 500-600mg at a time and has a 2-1 ratio with magnesium and about 800 mg of vitamin D with it. Another excellent choice is RAW Calcium style= from Vitamin Code, which has a high absorption raw food and algae sourced calcium. Its also loaded with trace minerals and is NON-GMO making it my choice.

If you fall into the over 50, post-menopausal or Osteopenia or Osteoporosis group however, you might want to consider an even better calcium absorption rate . I highly recommend Jarrow’s Bone Up formula style= as it contains calcium hydroxipate, one of the highest absorpable forms of calcium available in supplement form.

Here is a visual way of thinking about calcium absorption and how calcium works. Most calcium forms a protective barrier around the bone, coating and bonding with it. Calcium hydroxipate goes a step further and fills in cracks and holes, strengthening it from the inside out. Like filling the holes of a sponge. If you’ve been diagnosed with Osteopenia [week bones] or Osteoporosis [degrading bones] and have a higher risk for fracture and deforming bones, then you’ll benefit from the higher absorption of calcium hydroxipate. You can check out your risk factor with this FRAX risk assessment calculation tool. [The tool is on the menu at the top, choose country, then ethnicity and calculate based on your answers.]

Other factors to consider with calcium is how it affects medication you may be taking [take at different time of day from thyroid, seizure, antibiotic medications and iron or zinc supplements. Do not take more than 2000mg daily, it’s a safe supplement but can build up and health risks such as kidney stones and constipation can occur.] In addition to eating a diet high in calcium rich foods and supplementing with an appropriate calcium in divided doses of 500-600mg, you can help build bone density by strength training and weight bearing exercises [example, any exercise where your body bears its own weight like walking or running, not swimming, where the water bears your weight.]. Cutting back on caffeine and alcohol and not smoking also improves bone density.

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Need Help? Are you asking the right questions?

 

Do you need help with your health? I run across people every day who are frustrated because they need help and just don’t know to find information they can use. In my mind, first I’m thinking “Are you asking the right questions? Have you looked in unusual places for answers?,” then I start asking questions.

I do a ton of research for myself, friends and family members. I try many things and read about many methods, recipes, ideas and weed through ill advised “advisors” who say their way is the best. I love to learn as much as I can about anything I’m researching. I also want to know whats out there when people say, “I read online that…”
My research may be about a specific health concern, a new homesteading skill set, or well, just about anything.

I will never say that one way is best. I will give the pros and cons as I see them, given my experience and the results either I or people I’ve helped have experienced. Why it worked for them. I will discuss how it could work, given a certain set of facts and will leave it up to you to see if your set of facts matches up.

I have been told that I know a lot about what I am sharing. My joy comes from sharing what I have learned, experienced and seen with my own eyes. At the end of the day I’m happy helping people with their health. There is always mystery in the world. That’s what drives me. To figure out what works, why its different for person A from person B and file for when I meet another A or B, or even C, D, etc.

I am a Certified Herbalist, Certified Nutrition Counselor,  Reiki Master, 3rd degree, Certified Massage Therapist, artist, and hold a Bachelors degree in advertising, graphic design, product design and marketing. I’m still learning. I’m currently actively researching homesteading skills like gardening, animal care, and green energy. Currently my knowledge set centers around health. But that is growing every day!

I have personally seen and been “treated” by doctors, even specialists, and other professionals who’s knowledge was limited in it’s approach. I don’t live by limitations. I don’t believe in them. If a solution doesn’t come by one method, then the answer must lay deeper, in an area we haven’t considered. (Just because something is presenting a set of physical symptoms doesn’t mean that the answer comes from something physical.) That’s why I ask a lot of questions. You sometimes have to dig deep. But those questions, just the asking of them, can bring an ah ha moment of clarity, that voice in the back of your mind that says “OK, now were getting somewhere!” or “Wow, that really feels right.” It’s not always easy, but sometimes I have to ask the hard questions to get to a solution.

Ultimately, I want to be here for you. To help weed through things and help you answer for yourself those hard questions. I want to see you find a solution. I am always open to answering questions and pointing folks in a direction that might be different than where they’ve been looking. Feel free to email me with questions, and I’ll help.

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Weight loss, key points I’ve learned.

Today I want to share some key points to weight loss. These are things that I have applied in my own life as well as with people I meet on a daily basis. What I hear most is “I want to loose weight but I don’t know where to start.” There are so many products on the market today and the internet is constantly throwing new diets and “magic pills” at us, it’s hard to weed through it all. To be totally honest, in my opinion, it’s mostly bogus! Weight loss  is 70% diet and 30% exercise. But it’s hard to change a lifetime of poor eating habits.

What I tell everyone who seeks weight loss is to retrain their body to burn fat. To do this you need to cut off the constant supply of sugar. Unless you exercise like a mad man at a fast pace, compete in fast sports on a regular basis, or are being chased by zombies every day you don’t need all the sugar to fuel your energy!

Before and After

I used to not like to have my picture taken. At 208lbs [before] I was not happy with how I looked or felt. Through lifestyle changes and consistent exercise, I got down to 135lbs [after]. Eliminating white sugar and white grains, and reducing portion sizes was an important part of my fat loss. Exercise consisted of daily power walking, targeted floor exercises and light weights.

 When you eliminate high impact carbs and sugars, your body turns to fat for it’s fuel source. Add healthy fats to your diet and you trigger the body to use fat. When it runs out of the fat from your diet it pulls it from storage. This trains your body to burn fats and leans your body composition. Just make sure you have a good amount of protein to keep muscles from breaking down and to promote lean muscle growth. Remember that muscles burn calories faster than fat does. They also come in handy for the exercise part!

The exercise doesn’t have to be an all day marathon either. In my research into HIIT I have come across calculations of calorie burning for up to 48 hours after a quick 15 minutes of high intensity exercise. This is probably why so many have stuck with programs like P90X and it’s extensions, it’s high intensity and it works! High intensity is basically as hard as you can for a period of time. Then a very brief rest, and do it again. As with any exercise though, you want to warm up and stretch to prevent injury. Then stretch again afterwards and have some protein, like a lean protein shake.

In addition to a protein shake after you workout to repair and build lean muscle, digestive enzymes can assure nutrients are broken down and used from the foods you eat. Providing healthy fats in your diet is key to switching from sugar fuel to fat fuel. Some suggestions would be beef and butter from grass fed cows (contains a natural source of CLA or conjugated linoleic acid which has been shown to promote leaner body composition), a good variety of non starchy vegetables, and things like walnuts, avocados and coconut oil. After eliminating sugar and high impact carbs, try to reduce or eliminate grains. Start with white flour and corn.

If you’re interested in changing the way you eat, look into Paleo. A couple of my favorite sites are paleoleap.com and stupideasypaleo.com. I’ve also done a lot of research on sweeteners and I will be adding a post on my findings soon.

 

nutritional supplements

General Thoughts on Nutritional Supplements

Do you take nutritional supplements? Depending on your diet and lifestyle, you might want to consider this. I’ve been in the health industry for over 25 years now and I’ve seen a lot of fad diets, tools, therapies and methodologies come and go. A few things are always there right under the surface like eating a balanced diet of a variety of whole nutritious foods. Exercise, at whatever level possible for you at the moment is also very important.

Are you doing that? All the time? NO? Well that’s why there are certain nutrition supplements that I believe in for everyone 100%. We can’t always control our environment. There is always stress, even if you feel calm. Stress comes from physical activity levels, mental and emotional issues, injury and illness. Your body needs certain things to stay healthy, and functioning at optimum levels.

In addition to doing your very best to eat a variety of whole nutritious foods and get some kind of exercise every day, my recommendation for nutrition supplements are the following:

Multi-vitamins are probably the most important nutritional supplements for everyone. Multi-vitamins fill those gaps that are always there no matter how good your diet is. Vitamins and minerals are important for general health but are often missed when we start limiting the foods we eat because we are following a particular “diet.” Many companies are now adding antioxidants in their multi-vitamin formulas, especially in those targeted for over 40. these are essential in regenerating damaged cells and keeping our body functioning optimally. Choose a product that is sourced from organic whole foods. Whole food multi-vitamins are basically recognized by the body as food, and therefore absorbed more completely.

Our needs change when our activity changes. Clients who have visited a doctor recently are finding that they are deficient in vitamin D, or particular minerals which turns out to be the root of the ailment that brought them to the doctor in the first place. Blood sugar imbalances, improper metabolism, lowered immune function, disturbed sleep patterns, inability to handle stress, muscle spasms or pain are just a few things that can show up when your body is lacking in basic vitamins and minerals. These missing parts can be supplemented with a quality multi-vitamin.

Most people don’t have an understanding of the levels of these vitamins and minerals for optimal health.  I say “optimal health” and not just “survival,” like the outdated FDA recommendations for these nutrients put out in the 1940’s, because we all want to feel in peak optimal health. The world is a different place, we have different stressors, depleted soils, additives and synthetics in our foods. Those outdated  percentages just can’t cover what a average person needs today. In general, if you take only one supplement, make it a high quality multi-vitamin.

Beyond a multi-vitamin, these supplements are proving to be highly important in combating disease, lowering pain and helping maintain lean strong muscles, clear skin, and healthy circulation:

  • Pro-biotics: to keep the gut in optimal health with an abundance of helpful micro organisms that work to keep our immune system strong and nutrition absorption high. Many doctors are saying that most disease begins in the gut, so why not keep it functioning at it’s best?
  • Protein: to fuel, repair and grow lean muscle tissue. If the body doesn’t get the proper fuel and replenishment for our daily activity levels or workouts it will pull from our muscle tissue what it needs, therefore breaking down muscles and defeating our efforts to build lean muscle or maintain certain activity levels. [For those trying to shed extra weight, remember muscle burns calories faster than fat, the more muscle gains you have, the faster your body will burn calories.]
  • Omegas: to keep joints, skin, heart, and brain fed and in top shape. The more active you are and how you move your body will make this very obvious. Omega 3 has two active parts that you should be familiar with; EPA and DHA. EPA is the anti-inflamitory, heart healthy, cholesterol controlling part and DHA is the focus, concentration, memory and brain healthy part. Taking into consideration hereditary elements this can be a first step in controlling disease and deterioration.

That being said there are many additional supplements I would recommend for various reasons which I’ll discuss in another post. I’m not a doctor but I believe all doctors would agree with these top 4 things for most if not all of their patients.

Many people have never even considered taking any nutritional supplements, but I do know that once they have and either run out or forget, boy do they notice a big difference! I guess before they started taking them they never really had any idea how much better they could feel and function. We get so used to the way our body feels from day to day that unless it’s a big deal, like injury, illness or pain, we don’t think there’s anything wrong.

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