Low­er­ing your blood pres­sure

The Tribune (NZ) - - YOUR HEALTH - WITH AUTHOR AND NU­TRI­TIONAL BIOCHEMIST DR LIBBY Email your ques­tions for Dr Libby to ask.dr­libby@fair­fax­me­dia.co.nz. Please note, only a se­lec­tion of ques­tions can be an­swered.

Is there a nat­u­ral­way 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 how­much 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.

Low­er­ing your blood pres­sure

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 ofwa­ter but never seems sat­is­fied? Is she hy­drated or should I be­wor­ried? 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

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 amed­i­cal con­di­tion is caus­ing this how­ever, is es­sen­tial.

❚ Check out Dr Libby’s new sup­ple­ment range and learn howyou 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.

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