Uncontrolled high blood pressure is a very serious health concern that can lead to heart disease and increased risk for stroke. The good news is, by optimizing your dietary intake, exercising, and effectively managing your stress, the odds of lowering your blood pressure are greatly in your favor.
If you or someone you love is affected by high blood pressure, then please review and share the guidelines given below. A list of supplementary articles is also included, if you desire further information. Hypertension is actually an easily treated condition, but one that can cause serious damage to your health if ignored.
Your Diet Will Raise or Lower Your Blood Pressure
Are you on a high grain, low fat regimen? If so, I have bad news for you, because this nutritional combination is a prescription for hypertension and can absolutely devastate your health.
Groundbreaking research published in 1998 in the journal Diabetes reported that nearly two-thirds of the test subjects who were insulin resistant (IR) also had high blood pressure, and insulin resistance is directly attributable to a high sugar, high grain diet, especially if accompanied by inadequate exercise. So, chances are that if you have hypertension, you also have poorly controlled blood sugar levels, because these two problems often go hand in hand.
As your insulin level elevates, so does your blood pressure.
As explained by Dr. Rosedale, insulin stores magnesium. If your insulin receptors are blunted and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you can’t store magnesium so it passes out of your body through urination. Magnesium stored in your cells relaxes muscles. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will constrict rather than relax, which will raise your blood pressure and decrease your energy level. Insulin also affects your blood pressure by causing your body to retain sodium. Sodium retention causes fluid retention. Fluid retention in turn causes high blood pressure and can ultimately lead to congestive heart failure. If your hypertension is the direct result of an out-of-control blood sugar level, then normalizing your blood sugar levels will also lower your blood pressure readings into the healthy range.
Fructose Can Cause Your Blood Pressure to Skyrocket
The first thing you need to do is remove all grains and sugars from your diet, particularly fructose, until both your weight and your blood pressure have normalized. Eating sugars and grains — including any type of bread, pasta, corn, potatoes, or rice — will cause your insulin levels and your blood pressure to remain elevated.
A study published earlier this year discovered that those who consumed 74 grams or more per day of fructose (the equivalent of about 2.5 sugary drinks) had a 77 percent greater risk of having blood pressure levels of 160/100 mmHg. (For comparison, a normal blood pressure reading is below 120/80 mmHg.) Consuming 74 grams or more of fructose daily also increased the risk of a 135/85 blood pressure reading by 26 percent, and 140/90 by 30 percent.
This is significant because the average American now consumes 70 grams of fructose EVERY day!
Fructose breaks down into a variety of waste products that are bad for your body, one being uric acid. Uric acid drives up your blood pressure by inhibiting the nitric oxide in your blood vessels. Nitric oxide helps your vessels maintain their elasticity, so nitric oxide suppression leads to increases in blood pressure. In fact, 17 out of 17 studies demonstrate that elevated uric acid levels lead to hypertension. For more information on the connection between fructose, uric acid, and hypertension, please see this article that explains it in greater depth.
I’ve also interviewed Dr. Richard Johnson, one of the leading medical researchers in this field, about his research into the health dangers of fructose, specifically how fructose causes health problems such as high blood pressure.
My Recommended Fructose Allowance
As a standard recommendation, I strongly advise keeping your TOTAL fructose consumption below 25 grams per day. Since the average 12-ounce can of soda contains 40 grams of sugar, at least half of which is fructose, this can of soda ALONE would exceed your daily allotment.
In addition, most people would be wise to also limit the amount of fructose you get from fruit to 15 grams or less, because you’re virtually guaranteed to consume “hidden” sources of fructose (typically in the form of high fructose corn syrup) from most beverages and just about any processed food you eat.
Fifteen grams of fructose is not much — it represents two bananas, one-third cup of raisins, or just two Medjool dates. In his book, The Sugar Fix, Dr. Johnson includes detailed tables showing the fructose content in different foods, and I’ve included a sample of these values in the linked article.
Additional Dietary Considerations
1.Normalize your omega 6:3 ratio — Both omega-3 and omega-6 fats are essential for your health. Most Americans, however, are getting too much omega-6 in their diet and far too little omega-3. Consuming omega-3 fats is one of the best ways to re-sensitize your insulin receptors if you suffer from insulin resistance. Omega-6 fats are found in corn, soy, canola, safflower and sunflower oil. If you’re consuming a lot of these oils, you’ll want to avoid or limit them.
Omega-3 fats are typically found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil and fish, with fish being by far the best source. Unfortunately, most fresh fish today contains dangerously high levels of mercury. Your best bet is to find a safe source of fish, or if this proves too difficult, supplement with a high quality krill oil, which has been found to be 48 times more potent than fish oil.
2. Eliminate caffeine — The connection between caffeine consumption and high blood pressure is not well understood, but there is ample evidence to indicate that if you have hypertension, coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods can exacerbate your condition. Caffeine is a drug, and while it’s entirely legal and widely consumed, it can have a powerful effect on your individual physiology. If you want to eliminate caffeine from your diet, try to do it gradually over a period of days or even weeks in order to avoid withdrawal symptoms like headaches.
3. Consume Fermented Foods – Differences in gut flora from one person to another appears to have a large effect on whether or not you develop heart disease. If your gut flora is not healthy, your risk is much greater for heart disease, as well as many other chronic health problems. The best way to optimize your gut flora is by including some naturally fermented foods in your diet, such as sauerkraut and other fermented vegetables, yogurt, kefir, and natto. An additional benefit of fermented foods is that some of them are excellent sources of vitamin K2, which is important for preventing arterial plaque buildup and heart disease.