Ten ways to reduce blood pressure naturally

I was recently asked for ideas about how to reduce your blood pressure naturally. Honestly, I had to work to keep the list to only ten! There are so many great ways to reduce blood pressure and promote health. Before I start, let me say that if you have high blood pressure, these methods aren’t a substitute for seeking treatment from a medical professional, but they are great ways to take control of your health and wellness, and maybe they’ll help you relax and have fun a little in the process.
1. Exercise – I’m sure you know this one already, but it’s worth repeating because exercise is truly a miracle drug! It reduces blood pressure, increases insulin response, strengthens your bones, and has a great effect on your mood.
2. Herbs and nutrients – Certain herbs and supplements like Hawthorne berries, Coenzyme Q10, Garlic, and Cayenne have been shown to lower blood pressure. A good plant-based multivitamin will help, too.
3. A plant-based diet – Plant based diets are best for your health. Over time, animal protein will slow down your circulation. Industrially raised animals are also exposed to lots of chemicals, hormones, and GMOs as well. By eating them, you’re consuming those same chemicals.
4. Plenty of water – Drink half your bodyweight in ounces of water every day. For example, if you weigh 160 pounds, drink 80 ounces of water. 200 pounds? 100 ounces of water.
5. Essential oils – used externally for massage and aromatherapy, these can relax and calm your mind, body, and muscles. Any way you can reduce stress is great for your blood pressure.
6. Tai Chi and Meditation – I call practices like these “working in.” They are great ways to reduce and cope with stress. Again, reduced stress = reduced blood pressure.
7. Going barefoot outdoors – I like the beach, personally, but the grass is good too. The stimulation on the 6,000 nerve endings in the bottom of your foot is relaxing. Walking on the bare earth also helps your body to “ground out” negative energy.
8. Salt cave – Also known as “halotherapy”, spending time in a salt cave allows you to breathe air enriched with Himalaya salt that’s been said to influence healing on a variety of health problems, including high blood pressure.
9. Acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy – These modalities can reduce your stress levels. They also help energy and blood to flow easily through your body, helping you to heal and feel better.
10. Pet ownership – People who own pets live longer and happier lives than people who don’t. They reduce your stress and blood pressure levels and promote physical activity.
Bonus number 11. – Make sure you get adequate, high quality sleep. Sleep quality is right up there with physical activity for improving your health and wellness. That includes blood pressure, insulin response and mental health.
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Use it or lose it!

The New York Times recently highlighted several studies about the consequences of being a couch potato.  Earlier science has suggested that if you’re a relatively active person and you suddenly start sitting for long periods, your metabolism will go way down, and your body will start developing unhealthy symptoms, like lower blood sugar response.  The good news was that if you started moving again, these symptoms mostly reverse themselves. New studies point to some limits on that good news.

In earlier studies, the test subjects were mostly young, healthy college students.  The new studies drew from older pools of test subjects. In the first one, scientists studied healthy adults who were free from symptoms of diabetes and who took at least 10,000 steps every day.  When these people were forced to take fewer than 2,000 steps per day, they started to develop symptoms of their metabolisms slowing down–lower insulin response, less muscle mass, and more fat around their abdomens.  When these people started moving again, most of them saw their metabolisms return to normal, but some of them never recovered their normal metabolic function, and they never returned to their earlier levels of activity.  This suggests that for some people, the damage from taking a break from activity can be permanent.

In another study, scientists focused on senior citizens who were overweight with high blood sugar, but who were otherwise active and healthy, taking at least 7,000 steps every day.  When these people were forced to go down to fewer than 1,000 steps per day for two weeks, their insulin resistance shot up, and some had to be removed from the study because they had become diabetic.  The majority of the other study participants didn’t fully recover their metabolisms even when they started moving again.

So what does that mean?  It means that the older you get, the more important it is to stay active.  Every time you stop, it gets harder to start again, and the consequences last longer.  You don’t have to train for a marathon, you just have to get moving every day.

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Can you exercise while fasting?

Fasting has become a popular way to detoxify the body, and there is some evidence that periodic fasting can extend your lifespan. To many people, fasting seems like an extreme measure, and there’s no requirement that you take the plunge and go on a fast. If you do decide to fast, make sure you do your research and don’t overdo it. I was recently asked whether it is healthy to exercise while undertaking a fast. My answer is a resounding yes! Exercise is always beneficial, and fasting can enhance its effects, but it’s important to follow certain guidelines.
Guideline number one: hydratte, hydrate. Make sure you drink plenty of water, and that the water you drink has some minerals in it. I like to add a pinch of Himalayan salt to my water, since it’s all natural and it has the best mineral profile of any salt you can get.
If you’re thinking about fasting, it’s important to know that there are lots of different fasts you can do. I’ve personally done a five day fast where I only ate watermelon and drank water. There are other fasts where you only eat vegetables, or strictly have broth. Do your research and make a decision based on your goals.
Every day we fast for at least 8 hours, hence the term “break-fast”, so if you ate dinner at 7pm, and you exercise at 8am without having breakfast, then as far as your body is concerned, you are doing exercise while fasting. In fact, since your body uses 65% of its energy in digestion, eating before exercise can take away from a great workout.
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