REDUCE YOUR BLOOD PRESSURE AND CHOLESTEROL IN SIX WEEKS
Following on from the post last week on testosterone and cholesterol, here is a six week programme that can reduce both your blood pressure and unhealthy LDL cholesterol levels. It can be followed with some tweaking, by both men and women.
If you are currently on medication for both Blood Pressure or cholesterol do not stop taking but if you follow this programme, I suggest at the end of the six weeks, particularly if you have lost weight that you visit your GP and ask if you might work together to reduce the dosage. You may with further work be able to come off medication completely.
R Reduce your salt intake. You should not have more than a level teaspoon per day or 6 grams. If you eat a lot of processed foods you will be consuming far in excess of this. Sodium is essential for our bodies to keep a correct water balance: it is also necessary for nerve impulse transmission and prevents your blood from becoming too acidic or alkaline. However, take in too much and not only will it cause weight gain it can also drive your blood pressure too high. Look at the labels on the food and your mineral water currently in your cupboard and fridge and see how much sodium is in 100gms. Multiply by 2.5 which will give you the salt equivalent. So if a Pizza has 8400 mg of sodium you would times that by 2.5 giving you 21000mg of sodium or 21gm of salt which is 3.5 teaspoons or 3 times the recommended salt intake.
E Eat whole grain bread, oats, rice and pasta and avoid all white, starchy foods. This means cakes, sweets and white industrial loaves. Store baked baguettes that have no preservatives are fine occasionally, but you should focus on wholegrains. Not only will you be consuming more fibre which is essential for clearing out arteries of fatty deposits it will also provide you with B vitamins, essential for the metabolism of the carbohydrates and proteins that you eat. It will provide you with slow release energy throughout the day without spikes in your blood sugar.
There is much debate as to whether we should be eating grains. I believe that we should in moderation. There are important B vitamins in wholegrains and unless you have been tested by a qualified therapist or medical practitioner for Celiac disease, there is no reason for you not to eat moderate amounts. Although our activity levels may drop off as we get older, you still need the nutrients contained in oats, rice and good quality wheat. The reason many people react to grains is that the rest of their diet is full of sugar. If you are Celiac then by all means pay extra for gluten free flours but try to make your own bread. Much of the gluten free ready prepared products contain a lot of sugar.
D Drink plenty of fluids. If you are dehydrated your blood pressure will be higher. Avoid too many caffeine high drinks – restrict to one cup of coffee per day – decaffeinated would be best. Tea is still caffeinated but is fine drunk in moderation. To actively lower your blood pressure drink 4 cups of Green Tea per day – use a slice of lemon or ginger to taste or a teaspoon of honey. In addition to Green tea – drink 1 litre of low sodium mineral water per day or tap water. Do not drink diet or fully leaded fizzy drinks. Even the artificial sweeteners react with your body and trick it into thinking you have just had several teaspoons of sugar.
U Up your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables – not only will this provide more fibre to detox your whole system it will also provide you with anti-oxidants that will prevent normal healthy cholesterol becoming harmful. Clogged arteries full of LDL cholesterol will result in high blood pressure. Also up your intake of healthy fats including olive oil, oily fish, avocados and use a scrape of butter rather than industrial spreads. Use lean proteins but eating an egg a day will pack in nutrients and has been shown to encourage a healthy cholesterol balance.
C Calm down. Stress elevates blood pressure and if you lead a busy and hectic work and family life you need to find ways to relax. Learn to breathe correctly. Take in a breath through the nose slowly to the count of ten and let out slowly through the mouth to the count of 15. Repeat several times first thing in the morning – last thing at night and any time you feel you are becoming stressed. Listen to your favourite music – switch off your phone and take a relaxing bath. Take mini-breaks to relax and make sure that you are sleeping at least 7 or 8 hours per night.
E Exercise and lose weight if you need to. Your BP and Cholesterol will drop significantly after the loss of just one stone. You will have to carry less weight putting your body and your heart under less strain. The closer to your optimum weight the better your blood pressure is likely to be. Exercise will help clear your arteries of debris, fill your system with oxygen rich blood and improve muscle tone. Not just in your legs but in your heart and lungs too. A strong heart can work harder. Walk a mile a day. Measure the distance and then time yourself. Each day work towards walking a 15 minute mile. Then increase the distance until you are walking a mile out and a mile back in 24 minutes. If you enjoy swimming then increase your swim until you are completing a kilometre three times a week in 45 minutes or less.
B Be proactive. Understand how your body works and how you can make positive changes to your lifestyle and diet to reduce this potential silent killer. Work with your doctor so that you do not face a lifetime on pills to control a condition that in 9 out of 10 people can be managed with diet and exercise.
P Pack in smoking. Most people believe that smoking relieves stress. In fact it increases it. The several thousand chemical compounds in each cigarette are toxic to the body. Your arteries will harden and become brittle resulting in narrowing and apart from high BP you are also at a severe risk of strokes and aneurysms.
What foods can you enjoy during this six weeks.
The rule of thumb is if it is completely natural and does not come in a package then you can eat it. Cook from Scratch… If you enjoy milk in your coffee or tea and some on your porridge that is fine but to be honest use a smaller amount of full fat and get the taste. A little extra mature cheddar a couple of times a week is not going to hurt either.
It is very important that you use olive oil for cooking.. Latest research has discovered that it is in fact healthier than sunflower at the higher temperatures. I suggest that you cut the frying out completely and use a griddle pan with a sprinkle of oil, steam or roast in the over without skin. You might also like to use organic coconut oil which is something I have been using the last few months. Another healthy fat that is great for all the body including the brain. If you are trying to lose weight you still need to use in moderation. Also eat lean cuts of meat but do not worry about the occasional marbling of fat in meat as this too has benefits.
When using ground beef get steak mince rather than the cheaper cuts and have less of it. You can buy frozen wild salmon which has not been farmed and is therefore healthier for you. Instead of too much butter sprinkle extra olive oil on your bread or vegetables.. If you like garlic which helps to reduce both BP and cholesterol then crush two cloves and put into the bottle of olive oil and shake it up.. Adds a wonderful flavour to dishes and helps overcome any salt withdrawal symptoms you might have
Here is an example of the delicious meals you could be eating in the six weeks. This comes to approximately 1500 calories per day which is the minimum a woman should be eating daily. If you are a man then you need to add another 300 calories in the form of an extra piece of wholegrain toast at breakfast, and extra spoonful of rice at lunchtime and add a medium jacket potato to your suppers. If you do not need to lose weight then a woman requires around 1800 to 2000 calories per day and a man 2000 to 2300. These of course are dependent on activity levels. I don’t tend to focus on calories for this particular exercise as it is more important that you are eating fresh produce and not eating pre-prepared packaged foods. Just cutting those out for six weeks will make a huge difference.
Start each day with a room temperature glass of water with the juice of one lemon.
Avoid all packaged cereals as they have too much added salt and sugar.
Porridge oats with some chopped fresh fruit, apricots, peaches, banana, stewed apple, papaya, pineapple
A poached or boiled egg with a piece of granary toast with a scrape of butter.
A two egg omelette with red peppers, tomatoes and a dessert spoon of wholegrain rice.
With a tea or coffee.
Coffee or Green Tea with two rye crackers with mashed banana or a sprinkle of olive oil, a little garlic and sliced tomatoes.
An Apple with two thin slices of very mature cheddar..
Savoury wholegrain rice.. Two large tablespoons with chopped cooked onions, peppers, fresh basil, unsalted cashews, dessert spoon of sultanas and a handful of wilted spinach. Topped with roasted skinless chicken breast or other lean protein. A spoonful of fermented vegetables such as beetroot or cabbage.
Lean protein, potatoes (mashed, baked, boiled with a drizzle of olive oil) Carrots, two green vegetables and a homemade tomato and basil sauce.
A large mixed salad with a roasted piece of salmon and new potatoes
Depending on your activity level -multi-grain ryvitas with tomato, cucumber topping or from occasionally a dash of set honey. Or Fruit.
Supper as a light meal without carbohydrates.
Large portion of vegetables or salad with fish, chicken or lean meat. If you are a man or have a high activity level you can add a jacket potato etc to the meal.
Snack if you need an extra mid-evening.
Fruit or handful of unsalted nuts and seeds.
Drink your teas and water throughout the day
I suggest that you do not drink alchohol for six weeks. I love a glass of good red wine but from time to time I give my liver a break. Especially as it is the liver that stores your cholesterol.
The purpose of this programme is to reduce your LDL cholesterol which is dangerous when it is oxidised.
Sugars do this very effectively so by not ingesting cakes, sweets, biscuits or alcohol for the six weeks you should find that your LDL levels are reduced and that you have a higher level of HDL which is much healthier.
It is tough to give up your favourite foods but if I could put it into perspective.
A bar of chocolate is 500 calories. If you are in the habit of eating one a day, over a week you will be adding 1lb of body fat into your diet. In six weeks that is 6lbs.
Here is a basic shopping list that provides all the basic nutrients the body needs to be healthy. Feel free to print off and mark up for your next trip to the supermarket.
Thanks for dropping by and if you have any questions then please comment or if you wish you can email me on firstname.lastname@example.org