Lowering your blood pressure
Is there a natural way to lower blood pressure? Thanks, Margaret.
Hi Margaret. High blood pressure is commonly lifestyle-related and for some people, lifestyle changes can have a positive impact. Weight loss, your consumption of alcohol (if applicable) can be a great place to start, along with how much caffeine you consume. Caffeine leads the body to make adrenalin, a stress hormone, and for some, an excessive amount can lead to high blood pressure.
A diet filled with plenty of vegetables and leafy greens can also make a difference. Studies have shown that drinking beetroot juice led to significant improvements in people with high blood pressure. Beetroots contain nitrates, which to help regulate blood pressure as well as provide better oxygen delivery to the tissues.
High blood pressure can also be a result of stress, so in addition to making more nourishing food choices, addressing sources of stress and including stress-reducing practices in our daily or weekly routine can also be important.
Explore your perception of pressure and urgency – do you apply the same level to approaching your inbox as you do when you need to slam on the brakes in the car to avoid an accident? Have you made what you do each day full of pressure and urgency? If so, you might like to rethink your priorities and save it for when you really need it.
Meditation has also been shown to help with the regulation of stressrelated high blood pressure. Try meditating early in the morning – perhaps before others in your household get up – as often this is the most peaceful time of the day.
The way you breathe has a powerful impact on your biochemistry, predominantly via your nervous system. One of the only ways that science has proven to disengage the body’s stress response is through diaphragmatic breathing so a daily breathing exercise can be highly beneficial. Focus on making your exhalation longer than your inhalation. You might like to place a hand on your belly to help you connect your breath to this area.
Other stress-relieving practices include tai chi, qi gong, restorative or gentle yoga practices. Investigating if you have sleep apnoea is also important as this too can be a cause of high blood pressure.
Why would my four year old always be thirsty? She drinks a lot of water but never seems satisfied? Is she hydrated or should I be worried? Thanks, Amanda.
Hi Amanda. Firstly, it is important that you visit your GP and have your daughter tested for type-1 diabetes.
What you are describing can be a symptom of this and it is essential this is investigated.
If she does not have type-1 diabetes, it would be useful to have Email your questions for Dr Libby to email@example.com. Please note, only a selection of questions can be answered.
your GP thoroughly investigate her health and do some tests, including her blood pressure, as this too can impact thirst.
I have seen both low and high blood pressure promote thirst. She may need more minerals in her diet such as magnesium, potassium and/ or sodium which are obtained from eating a wide variety of foods, particularly vegetables and fruit.
Two pieces of fruit a day is adequate and five servings of vegetables. Finding out via a visit to your GP if her thirst is excessive and if a medical condition is causing this however, is essential.
Check out Dr Libby’s new supplement range and learn how you can optimise your health through the power of plants by visiting bioblends.co.nz. Dr Libby is a nutritional biochemist, bestselling author and speaker. The advice contained in this column is not intended to be a substitute for direct, personalised advice from a health professional.
Lowering your blood pressure