Sunday, 24 February 2013

How to Prevent High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major cause of stroke, heart attack and problems with eyesight. Blood pressure needs to be kept as near as possible to an ideal reading of 120/80. The higher value is called the systolic reading and occurs when the heart contracts and forces blood through the circulatory system. The bottom value is the diastolic reading and occurs when the heart fills in the expansion phase and the blood pressure is at its lowest, which it is 75% of the time. Both values can vary 10% from the normal without significant consequential health problems.

The main causes of high blood pressure are as follows: obesity; emotional factors; kidney problems; high sodium consumption; high sugar intake; arteriosclerosis- a hardening of the arteries which puts more pressure on the heart; atherosclerosis- a narrowing of the arteries which affects the heart’s ability to do its job; an imbalance of electrolytes; malfunctioning adrenal glands; high cholesterol; smoking which constricts all arteries and capillaries; and excess alcohol consumption which damages the liver.

Conventional medicine’s response to high blood pressure with diuretic drugs, or drugs in the blocker range, does not address the underlying cause of the problem and it therefore reoccurs. All of the types of drug prescribed for high blood pressure have serious side effects such as the forced excretion of essential minerals from the body, depression. fatigue and sexual problems. The best approach to stabilising blood pressure levels is to concentrate on diet, exercise, food supplements and other adjunctive measures.

Foods which stabilise blood pressure are cucumbers, onions, artichokes, eggplant, leeks, turnips, red peppers, olives, black currants, cherries, strawberries, raspberries, oranges, grapefruit , grapes, fresh fruit in general, rice, rye and low-fat dairy products such as milk and yogurt. Foods to be avoided are bacon, processed meats, parmesan cheese, caviar, fish in general, beets, spinach, fennel, bananas, coffee and salt.

The herb garlic is very useful in that it is an excellent diuretic, opens up blood vessels and thereby stabilises blood pressure. Other herbs that can be employed in this regard, for the reasons stated, are as follows: parsley is a natural diuretic; hawthorn strengthens the heart muscles; chervil purifies the blood; and marshmallow strengthens the kidneys.

If you cannot get sufficient amount of the foods you need in order to stabilise your blood pressure, as indicate above, then you could use foods supplements to make up for any deficiency. Vitamin C (100 0 mg), taken once daily, acts as a diuretic and helps clear arteries of plague. Fish oil (1000 mg), taken once daily, helps lower blood pressure. Niacin (250 mg) , taken twice daily, opens up arteries thereby alleviating high blood pressure and ensuring a more efficient blood flow. Vitamin E (200 IU) taken once a day also helps lower blood pressure.

Moderate daily exercise can do wonders for your circulation and body in general. All you need to do is engage in it for 30 to 45 minutes daily. Any form of exercise will do such as brisk walking, jogging, swimming, cycling or dancing. You can split the time spend on it op into smaller time periods, if you so wish, such as three 15 minute sessions. It is best to do exercise outdoors if this is possible. Make sure you are well hydrated during any exercise session by drinking plenty of water.

If the cause of your high blood pressure is stress, then you will need to address this. If the stress arises from your circumstances, can you do anything about changing them? If the stress is arising from circumstances beyond your control, can you change you attitude to the cause? A person suffering from stress should endeavour to maintain an optimistic attitude at all times. It has been proven that optimism raises the immune system to such a high degree, that it can combat any abnormal occurrence in the body such as high blood pressure. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

How to Cope with Colds & Flu.

Colds and flu are caused by viruses. Colds can be transmitted easily between individuals. The main symptoms of colds are runny nose, sore throat, mild fever, mild headache, sneezing, coughing and congestion. Flu symptoms include many of the same as colds, but also high fever, severe aches and pains, chills and sweats, severe sore throat and fatigue. Fever, chills, fatigue and severe aches are the symptoms which most distinguish flu from other infections.    

Whilst there is no known cure for the common cold or flu, there are certain preventative actions a person can take in order to lessen the chances of getting either, as well as actions to curtail the duration of an infection. Antibiotics are useless in the case of a viral infection, and there isn’t much evidence to support the view that over-the-counter medications help in any way.

Sufficiency in both vitamins C and D is vital in the fight against colds and flu. Any deficiency in these critical vitamins will leave your body more susceptible to being invaded by a virus.  It is best to derive sufficiency in these vitamins from food, or other natural sources, in the first instance if at all possible. Garlic and ginger have also been known to be used effectively in the fight against colds and flu.

The best food sources of vitamin C are: fruits like gooseberries, kiwis, citrus fruits (oranges, lemons and grapefruit);  vegetables such as cabbage, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, green peppers and potatoes; and the herb parsley also contains large amounts,  and can be sprinkled on meat or fish dishes to enhance them.

Failing to get enough vitamin C from food sources, then a food supplement should be taken as a precaution against a deficiency. Adults require about 1,000 milligrams of vitamin C per day, and children require half that amount. If you are getting some of this vitamin from food sources but not enough, then you should work out the strength and frequency of the supplement you need to take.

There are not many food sources of vitamin D, so it is easy to have a deficiency. The food sources available are: fish oil; some fish such as sardines, tuna, salmon and herring; and eggs and milk but in in small amounts.  The main source of vitamin D is the action of direct sunlight on the skin; all that is needed is 15 minutes of sunlight a day on at least a third of the body.

In countries that have long winters without much sunshine, it may be prudent to supplement the diet with vitamin D supplements. An adult requires 2, 000 IU of vitamin D per day, and a child half that amount. Alternatively, you could acquire your daily requirement by using sunbeds in a safe manner in lieu of sunshine.      

Whilst sufficiency in these vitamins should help you prevent catching a virus in the first place, if you do catch one despite your best efforts, here are some things you can do to curtail its duration, as follows:
1.     Wrap up warm by putting on an extra layer of clothing if necessary.
2.     Get sufficient sleep.
3.     Avoid sugar-laden foods and soft drinks, as sugar depresses the immune system.
4.     Drink lots of hot drinks like hot water with a slice of lemon, green tea, lemon tea, ginger tea or coconut milk.
5.     Maintain the normal amount of food you take in a day, ensuring that you are getting enough vitamins C and D as outlined above.
6.     Maintain any daily exercise like walking or jogging that you were doing prior to the infection.
7.     After contact with a runny nose or eyes, wash your hands thoroughly to avoid spreading the virus.

The British Government advises certain at-risk groups to avail of an anti-flu jab each year prior to onset of cold weather.  This may be a good idea, in countries where it is available, for the elderly, pregnant women, people with diabetes or any chronic organ infection. Anti-flu vaccinations are said to have a more than 80% success rate, but need to be renewed annually as the viruses causing flu keep changing.  

If you have got a home-made remedy for the common cold or flu that worked well in the past, I would be pleased to hear about it via the comments box below.