By Nancy Mehlert, MS
This diagram (click on diagram to enlarge it) depicts the vicious and stressful cycle that causes the vast majority of the chronic lifestyle diseases of our time, including high blood pressure. High blood pressure results for several reasons:
- Our Sympathetic Nervous System automatically constricts blood vessels as an alarm response to excess sugar.
- The chronic nature of the cycle and constant elevation of blood sugar and insulin in the blood leads to a resistance by cells to “listen” to insulin.
- Since insulin is responsible for ushering all kinds of important nutrients into our cells, when the cells will no longer “listen” to insulin, other essential nutrients are also not absorbed into the cell.
- Magnesium is of primary concern as it relates to high blood pressure. Magnesium inside our cells is responsible for relaxing and keeping all muscles calm. That includes our cardiovascular system (i.e. blood vessels and heart muscle).
- As a result of this cycle, chronically elevated blood sugar and insulin levels lead to magnesium being rejected from our cells and eliminated in our urine while we become magnesium deficient and our muscles remain constricted resulting in high blood pressure.
It is not hard to see why this cycle, chronically lived out, day after day can lead to disease as our cells become more and more unwilling to absorb nutrients at the request of insulin. This also turns on a chronic “fat storage” message and turns off the “burn fat” message preventing weight loss, which is in good part the reason for our nation’s dramatic increase in obesity and diabetes rates over the last few decades.
Nutritionally then, what can you do about it? How can you break this cycle, reduce blood pressure and return to good health?
Here are three essential steps to get fast results:
1. Remove all grain and grain-like seeds from the diet. With high blood pressure, your best course of action is to eliminate until you have stabilized blood pressure, weight, and blood sugar. No wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, rye, amaranth, quinoa, buckwheat, kamut, spelt either as “whole grain” or processed into breads, pasta, crackers, cookies or cereals.
2. Be sure all sugars of any kind from items above or found in packaged and processed foods and sugary drinks, fruit juices, natural sweeteners and sweets are totally removed from the diet. Even fruit can be problematic.
3. Fuel the body and provide satiation by consuming about half of your daily caloric intake from undamaged fats, made up mostly of unsaturated fats such as nuts, seeds, olives, olive oil and avocado and some from specifically grass fed butter and organic, expeller pressed coconut oil. Grass-fed meats and pasture raised eggs will also help to supply a small amount of healthier fats to the diet.
To learn more about healthy substitutions, wise fruit choices and ways to make your new diet taste great, schedule your nutrition consultation at The Woodlands Institute for Health and Wellness.
Please beware that drastic changes in diet, lifestyle, and weight can have quick and dramatic changes in blood pressure and blood sugar levels. If you are taking a medication for blood sugar or blood pressure, please make the above changes under the supervision of your healthcare provider to ensure medications are weaned properly.