I started this blog partly to share some tips in managing your medications and optimizing your treatment. I often see patients taking medications but still not getting results. So many patients are diagnosed with chronic inflammatory disease states and instead of making progress, the disease state gets worse. There are some conditions that are hereditary and medication or diet will not help. However, if you do not have a genetic predisposition to the diseases you host, you can reverse them.
How you may ask? By optimizing your medications with diet, exercise, and supplements.
Most patients think that the medications will cure them. However most medications work with your body so that it can heal itself. Other medications are simply a band-aid to help maintain and cope with symptoms.
For example, high blood pressure medications will help lower your blood pressure but they do not reverse the actual cause of the pressure increase. You can help optimize your high blood pressure medication by:
1) Exercising at least 4 days a week
Physical activity plays an important role in high blood pressure! I always ask my patients “How often do you exercise? “ and the answer I almost always get is “ Not enough.” When you lead an inactive lifestyle it is directly correlated to high blood pressure and several other health conditions. The heart was designed to be conditioned! The more it is conditioned, the better it pumps and circulates blood throughout the body. Leading an inactive lifestyle, your blood is not being circulated and as a direct result ends up pooling. Plaques begin to develop, hardening of the blood vessels develops, cholesterol forms, toxins take longer to eliminate from the body and ultimately the heart has to work harder to pump and fill.
The point is, get that body moving!! Condition your heart as it was designed!! You have to keep the machine working otherwise it will stop!! The excuse everyday is “I have no time”🙄😑
You make time for what is important!! This is your health right? This is your heart right? This is your heart screaming I am working so hard, help me? Is that not motivation enough?
Make time for at least 30 minutes to an hour a day for cardio and strength training.
Let me point out why you have time. 🤔
✅Do you watch tv? If the answer is yes, workout in front of the tv. There are several workout videos to purchase.
✅Are you on your phone or computer all day? If the answer is yes, download an exercise app to utilize some of this time you are spending on these devices.
✅Sit all day? Get up and move around! Run in place for time, do wall sits, push-ups, sit-ups, use your chair or desk for a creative workout. Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
✅No gym membership? Workout at home. Run around your neighborhood. Run up and down the stairs in your complex.
Be creative and take care of your heart. After all, it’s only your health we are talking about here. Something money can’t buy.
If you don’t know where to start, please reach out to me! .
2) Limiting salt and preservative filled foods,
If you are consuming too much salt, fast foods, caffeine, energy drinks, etc. your blood pressure will spike.
✅Also limit your caffeine intake. Start by decreasing coffee, tea, or energy drinks for a few days or to every other day until your pressure returns to normal.
3) Eliminating processed foods,
✅Start by eliminating processed food. These are packed with insane amounts of sodium. Try cooking your own food for a while to monitor your salt intake and get your pressure down.
4) Adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet, and
5) Drinking more water. Drinking at least a half gallon a day will help flush the kidneys and help them work optimally. Not to mention all the other benefits of drinking water.
6) Lastly, Stop Smoking!!!
Smoking cigarettes is used to relax or relieve stress when in fact nicotine constricts blood vessels which in turn increases blood pressure steadily over time. Not to mention other deadly side effects of smoking. If you have high blood pressure and you smoke, QUIT! There are several smoking cessation programs out there that offer free medications and help. Check out www.tobaccofreeflorida.com for more information!
Three Supplements to help you lower your blood pressure: (for moderate to moderately high blood pressure anywhere from 120-140/80-90)
1) Olive Leaf: A hidden gem in treating moderate to moderately high blood pressure is Olive Leaf. Olive leaves 🍃contain a high concentration of Oleuropein, which is responsible for decreasing arterial stiffness and resistance. Both of which are primary causes of high blood pressure.
When taken at 500mg twice daily, this leaf extract was shown to decrease systolic blood pressure by 11.5mmHg and diastolic blood pressure by 4.8mmHg in eight weeks.
Check out this link for more on this study. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/21036583/
If you are already on medication this can lower your pressure even more so you cannot add this to your current regimen without speaking to your physician first and monitoring your blood pressure. .
Also, Olive leaf 🍃 lowers cholesterol! An added benefit discovered in the study.
Olive leaf 🍃 can also act as a blood thinner so do not take with any prescribed blood thinners such as warfarin without your physician being aware.
2) Garlic: Garlic promotes the widening/relaxation of blood vessels, therefore lowering blood pressure.
Studies published showed garlic just as effective as standard medication in lowering blood pressure. The garlic used was an aged extract and was used alone and in another study used as an adjunct to those with uncontrollable blood pressure on medication. .
Great news right!! So how do you use?
Cook with more garlic, or eat a couple cloves whole if you can stand it. ( no more than 2 cloves) Thankfully, there are aged extract supplements. These extracts are more stable and effective since cooking destroys some of the active compounds.
Take up to 960mg max (depends on formulation purchased) when using these extracts. For example, A 400mg extract would be taken twice daily maximum. .
Garlic is a great choice for use with high blood pressure medications. Always monitor your blood pressure to make sure it’s not dropping too low and notify your doctor when adding on a supplement. .
3) Hawthorn Berry: Hawthorn berry works by reducing the tension in blood vessel walls.
Studies have shown hawthorn berry taken up to 1200 mg daily lowered blood pressure over 16 weeks. With a primary reduction in diastolic blood pressure.
Do not combine this medication with other blood pressure medications and do not combine with heart medications as it may increase their effects.
Remember to notify your doctor of all supplements you are adding to your regimen.
Remember to monitor your blood pressure daily to make sure it is not dropping too low.
More information on the study can be found at this link.
High blood pressure is not about just popping a pill and everything is back to normal. It is about making several changes to reversing the routine of what got you diagnosed in the first place. These changes all work in concert to help your medication work optimally and ultimately decrease your need for them.