Heartfelt, heart warming, kind hearted. We have many descriptors in the English language that pertain to the heart. Unfortunately in North America we also have an extremely high incidence of Heart Disease!
Heart disease runs in my family and yet there are a couple of us that are so far unaffected. I will never tell you to ignore your Doctor, I have too great a respect for the Medical community, but I will say that you can have a direct affect on your health by following a few guidelines.
- Decide to be healthy
- Take a look at your diet
- Get off your butt and move
- See where the illness works for you and change it (it makes you one of the crowd, gets attention, something to talk about)
Once you have decided to get and stay healthy the next step is to learn about heart disease. Over the course of these three articles I will give you some basics about Blood pressure, Cholesterol and ways to prevent them.
The healthy blood pressure reading has moved up and down slightly over time but it currently is a reading of below 120 over below 80. For a full chart please see the Mayo Clinic website.
If you have a healthy blood pressure reading don’t just sit back and take it easy. Realize that as you age and your lifestyle changes you will have to spend some time and energy keeping your blood pressure at a normal level.
Before I get into herbs and foods that will assist in lowering blood pressure I want to talk about an unknown factor in raising blood pressure.
There are a number of “natural” supplements that will help raise your metabolism. A higher metabolism means that you will burn off weight faster. However, they do not always work in the way you expect. Some of them can actually raise your blood pressure into the High category.
A good example of this is Kelp. Although kelp has some amazing benefits it can also be dangerous. Kelp is seaweed. It comes from the sea which has a high salt content. Taking Kelp can substantially raise your sodium content within your body and in turn raise your blood pressure. (Been there, done that)!
Quercetin is another supplement that while raising your metabolism also raises blood pressure in some cases. By the way, Quercetin is the white pith from the orange, in case you are wondering.
A basic rule of thumb when using a supplement to raise your metabolism is to know your blood pressure reading going in. If it is high, try and opt for a more diet and exercise approach. If it is low or normal then try the supplement for a few days to a week and then take your blood pressure again. If you feel light headed or experience dizziness when standing discontinue the supplement immediately.
Herbs that Hurt
Above is a partial list of herbs to avoid if you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure
Herbs and Foods that help
There are a large number of foods and herbs that can help with blood pressure and heart disease. Some are more enjoyable than others. A list of herbs and foods that can help are:
Hawthorn – anti-hypertensive, anti-spasmodic, vasodilator
Hawthorn assists the blood flow through the arteries
Garlic – is a blood thinner and should be discussed with your MD before taking it if you are already on medication. The best effect comes from raw garlic. Yay! More Caesar salad anyone
Onions – are also blood thinners. Same advise as for Garlic if you are already on blood pressure medicine. Raw onion is the best. It is the cutting of the cells walls in both garlic and onion that release allicin, which is the beneficial component.
Chocolate!!!!!! This is the good news folks. Chocolate is good for your heart. Dark chocolate (70% or greater) is good for you. Add milk and you toss out the health benefits. For the full story see my blogs
Water – not only does it hydrate your body but it assists in flushing out the toxins, keeping your kidneys healthy and your blood flowing. Most people have heard the 8 glasses a day rule but some experts say that you should drink as many oz in a day as half your body weight. I personally recommend at least 8 glasses a day and you will find yourself drinking more naturally over time.
Next week we will cover Cholesterol and Magnesium deficiency…stay tuned