High blood pressure is the main risk factor for premature death. It is responsible for half of all deaths from cardiovascular disease. High blood p
High blood pressure is the main risk factor for premature death. It is responsible for half of all deaths from cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure is the main risk factor for premature death. It is responsible for half of all deaths from cardiovascular disease. About a quarter of the world’s population is struggling! Keeping your blood pressure under control is definitely one of the most important things you can do to extend your (healthy) life.
First some basics!
What is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is exactly what it says: the pressure in your arteries. If you have a normal amount of blood, a healthy heart and healthy, elastic blood vessels, your blood pressure is normal.
If your blood pressure is too low, you will feel dizzy, especially if you get up after a while. This usually does little harm and is often the result of dehydration or a salt shortage (which means you retain less moisture).
High blood pressure will not immediately produce symptoms (apart from a mild headache sometimes). Very high blood pressure can cause severe headaches, fatigue and nausea. This is the result of too much fluid and salt in the blood and / or thicker or harder walls on your blood vessels.
Even if you feel healthy, it is a good idea to have your doctor check every now and then to see if your blood pressure is OK, especially as you age, as this is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
Healthy blood pressure is below 120/80.
If your blood pressure is higher than 120/80 but lower than 140/90, it is not yet a drama, but a sign that you may need to change your eating and living habits. The rest of the article can certainly help you with this!
How does Paleo help lower your blood pressure?
A reduced sugar intake is very efficient to lower it, because it decreases insulin levels and decreases the amount of fluid and salt in the blood. Because we use very little added sugar at Paleo and consume almost only natural sugar from fruit and slow carbohydrates from starchy vegetables, your sugar intake automatically decreases. This “simple” adjustment may have the greatest impact.
Potassium is one of the minerals that help your body control blood pressure. In paleolithic diets, the average daily intake of potassium was about 10500 mg per day, the average American now consumes about 2800 mg per day. A big difference! If you’re struggling with high blood pressure, aim for at least 4,700 mg per day!
You can mainly find potassium in potatoes, halibut, bananas, sweet potatoes, salmon, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, tomatoes, …
Magnesium and potassium work together to lower it. You can find magnesium in nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables and chocolate.
You might not have seen this coming: we have been told for years that too much salt is a risk factor for high blood pressure and cardiovascular disease … But the link between the two is actually very weak, it is even dangerous to go too little salt to consume! Especially if you consume enough potassium and magnesium, you really don’t have to worry about this.
In addition to other eating habits, a different lifestyle has a huge impact. More exercise, less sitting, more sleep, better sleep, breathing exercises, more sunlight and less stress all have a huge impact.
With these simple tips, there is a good chance that your blood pressure will return to normal and hopefully you will never have to take the medicines (or if you are already taking them, you may want to reduce them again). In any case, it is best to consult with your doctor, do not just stop taking medicines!
Has your blood pressure improved since you started eating Paleo? Tell your story in the comments below!