In today’s society, most Americans are used to treating any illness or disease with some lab-created pill in hopes of healing or prevention. A few years ago and after several visits to my doctor, I learned that my blood pressure was high and he was recommending that I start taking daily medication to help stabilize it. After going home with a prescription, I decided to do some research on side effects. It seems easy enough to just take a pill, however after reading the long list of common reactions, I was scared to take it. Plus, thinking about having to take it for life left me wondering what my other options were.
Being curious about natural remedies, I began to do a little research. I wondered if there were options that did not include chemicals, or the “band aid” approach: I wanted to lower my blood pressure, but I wanted to change the root of the problem, not just mask a symptom. I knew my diet wasn’t where it should be. In holistic wellness, we look at the body as a whole organism and consider the ways to treat it in its entirety, not just individual parts. I knew holistic nutrition was a huge piece and by focusing on the foods I put into my body, I hoped I would see some positive changes, including my blood pressure. If we supply our bodies with the necessary things to support our intricate body systems, we can and will heal most illnesses. It made more sense to me to simply eat well, in order to lower my blood pressure, rather than changing nothing and popping a pill. More than two years later, I still have normal blood pressure and I wanted to share how I healed myself with wiser food choices.
I learned that those extra pounds contribute to high blood pressure. Everyone loses weight differently, yet everyone knows a lower fat, moderate carbs, and high vegetable diet is where you start. For more information on easy healthy food choices, see our blog on our sister-school website, Southwest Institute of Natural Aesthetics. (It’s a two-for-one: You’ll also get some pointers on foods that encourage great skin.) Some interesting facts from StateOfObesity.com are:
- Over the past 35 years, obesity rates have more than doubled.
- The average American is more than 24 pounds overweight.
- In 2011 to 2012, more than a third of adults (34.9 percent) were obese; more than two-thirds of adults were overweight (68.6 percent).
- Nearly 40 percent of middle-aged adults, ages 40 to 59, were obese (39.5 percent), which was more than younger adults, ages 20 to 39 (30.3 percent).
The older we get, the more challenging losing weight becomes. Implementing a healthier diet as soon as possible will make it easier on you in the future. Paying attention to your sodium intake is also beneficial for lowering your blood pressure, as well as limiting your alcohol intake. A doctor may suggest a sodium intake level of 1,500 mg to 2,300 mg a day, and there are apps for your phone that can help you keep track. Garlic, fish oil, cashews and almonds, and green tea are also great to add to your daily routine to control your blood pressure.
Our food supply has changed significantly in the past 50 years. Instead of many farmers markets and people getting their food from local sources, supermarkets opened which allowed people to get most of their grocery items from them. This created the nation’s demand for the mass production of foods so GMO (genetically modified organism) and processed foods were introduced and marketed to the nation’s consumer. Processed foods have a longer shelf life and the cost is very inexpensive due to chemicals and other preservatives added. Processed foods are found in the center aisles of your grocery store.
Over a relatively short period of time, we went from eating mostly local, fresh, unprocessed foods to eating foods made in laboratories and industrial plants.
When I was going through my program to be a holistic nutrition specialist, I learned about the importance of SOUL nutrition: Seasonal Organic Unprocessed Local. This is the remedy for avoiding toxic, unprocessed foods.
S. O. U. L.
Different foods hold different healing properties. For example, some foods such as turmeric, celery, and blueberries have anti-inflammatory properties. Superfoods like kale, spinach, avocado, broccoli, and quinoa are nutrient rich and help to repair damaged cells. Juicing is a process which extracts water and nutrients from produce that provides vitamins and oils necessary for complete nutrition. This is a great option, especially if you have a condition you’re trying to control. Eating your vegetables and fruit in its raw form also provides you very high amounts of nutrients, fiber, potassium, and magnesium.
“A report from the Journal of Nutrition stated that increased use of raw foods in our diet lowers both cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the body, some of the main indicators for heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure,” as stated from TheGlobalHealthCenter.com. Start with these along with decreasing or eliminating processed and GMO foods so you can be well on your way to healing yourself through foods!
Do you feel called to lead a healthier, better life through your commitment to holistic nutrition? Do you want to inspire, coach, and educate others to do the same? Our integrative and comprehensive programs teach you to bring about healthy lifestyle changes in your life and the lives of your clients.