Prevention The Natural Way: High Blood Pressure

Hey folks!

Please welcome my sister Marcea as an official contributor to Veggin'!  You can learn more about her and how you can also contribute by visiting the new Contributor's Corner Page! This is the first part of a mini-series written by Marcea addressing two very common plagues in which many people suffer, high blood pressure and cholesterol and how a plant-based diet can help combat these issues.

Prevention The Natural Way: High Blood Pressure
by Marcea O'Brien Esq.

High blood pressure plagues many Americans today, and is the leading cause of subsequent conditions such as heart attack or stoke.  It’s important to understand what high blood pressure is and how you get it.

High blood pressure, known as hypertension, is measured by numbers which are the systolic pressure number, (the one on top), and the diastolic pressure number, (the one on the bottom).  If the top number is 140 or above, and the bottom number is 90 or above, you have high blood pressure.  A very large majority of sufferers take medication to keep their levels down.  However, did you know that lifestyle plays a major role in having or not having high blood pressure?  If you adopt a healthy lifestyle, you can possibly avoid, delay, or reduce the need to take medication. 
Now, please keep in mind, I am not attacking medications that are prescribed for high blood pressure, nor am I discounting that there are risk factors as to why certain people get high blood pressure.  However, what I am saying is that if you know you are at risk, you should be mindful of what you do to your body that could increase your risk or put you in harm’s way.  I think the biggest excuse people give is that they were destined to get it because grandpa Joe had it. Well here’s the deal, a lot of people that I have encountered who gave these excuses, further revealed that Grandpa Joe worried about his business and everyone else's, so his stress levels were off the chain, and all the overweight people in the family with the “sugar” and “high blood” issues, ate every hair and cranny of the pig, had a “secret recipe” for everything bad for you, and the only part of their bodies that got exercise were their hips from shaking during all the mixing and frying in their kitchens!

So now that I have that out of my system, let’s talk about developing a healthy lifestyle that will lower those pressure levels and keep them down:

Avoid Stress
Stress has been shown as one of the top five killers of people today, sharing a top spot with heart attack and stroke.  You have to avoid stress, which segues to my next point…

Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise relieves more stress than you could ever imagine!  Exercise brings physical benefits as well as tremendous mental benefits.  Choose something you like to do, like taking a dance or exercise class, biking in the park, swimming to some calming music, (they have many waterproof devices now), or just taking a brisk walk or run.

Maintain a Healthy Weight
Being overweight can raise your pressure levels more than you know.  Check with your doctor to determine your healthy weight for your age and body type.

Eat a Healthy Diet
Our favorite option, eating a healthy diet, in which deciding to adopt a vegan lifestyle would be a great place to start.  Lowering sodium and boosting potassium loosen the effects of having high blood pressure.  The best source of potassium comes from fruits and vegetables.  Also, incorporating a diet rich in whole grains lowers the pressure as well.  Avoiding additives, supplements, processed foods, and salts can reduce levels significantly, and can make a huge difference in just a small amount of time.  In addition to lowering your blood pressure levels, you are also reducing your risks of more serious conditions, some of which we already mentioned.

Everyday we are introduced to programs, or mentions of solutions to our issues by ways of pills, prescriptions, remedies, creams, injections, and many other “unhealthy” options.  However, something as simple as incorporating a healthy lifestyle, which includes a plant-based diet, is all that’s necessary to live the life you deserve to live.  What a wonderful thing to be energetic, not bogged down with a heavy feeling inside, happy, and full of life! That’s what living this lifestyle can do for you.  I like an apple a day, rather than a pill a day, for my odds.