I am shocked at what may be causing my high blood pressure.

Posted , 11 users are following.

i am not overweight. Drink a healthy smoothie and whole grain cereal almost every morning yet my BP is still high. (100/170). I was  told it may be because of elevated insulin levels caused by the fruit drinks and whole grains (as well as the potato, rice, pasta and breads) that I eat. These are things that easily break down into sugars and cause the issue. (Basically a carb issue). Am I supposed to go on one of those caveman diets? Has anyone tried lowering their carb intake to lower their BP? 

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  • Posted

    Did a doctor tell you that?
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  • Posted

    Most smoothies aren't actually healthy. Smoothies can contain as much sugar as a large Coke. Juicing removes fibre and some of the nutrients that would be found in  fruit or vegetables. The natural fruit sugars in smoothies can also add hundreds of extra calories to your daily intake.

    Again very few breakfasts cereals are healthy, containing a lot of sugars and additives. I realise you said whole grain, but have you looked on the packet to see exactly what are the ingredients?

    Before you said it, I was going to say that your diet is laden with carbs, far too much. It isn't about becomming a caveman, it is about balanced nutrition. Carbs, protein and fat. And yes, the body has large amounts of fat and needs fat intake to function healthily. I can't see any protein in your diet.

    Skip the smoothies and eat the ingredients as they are. By that I mean, eat fruit whole, have vegetables and salads with your meals, not in the smoothies.

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    • Posted

      I don't remove the fibre from the smoothies. I use a Vitamix which liquifies the entire fruit. The article I read said even oats and wholegrains turn to sugar in the body. The fibre takes out some but you still end up with elevated glucose levels. I admit I do need to eat more salads and good fats. I am just frustrated because I have never drank alcohol , never smoked, never even drank a coffee (though I just started drinking tea). Not overweight and I still have high blood pressure. I just started doing more cardio. I guess I just need to try one thing at a time and see what helps.
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    • Posted

      The problem with smoothies is that even if you're eating the whole fruit, the process breaks down the fibres to a form where they're less useful in the gut. This means the high sugar content in the fruit gets into the bloodstream faster than it would if you ate the whole fruit and can upset your insulin balance. Also, it's easier to consume much larger quantities of fruit in smoothie form than you'd be able to if you ate the fruit.

      While fruit of all kinds is very good, and you need to eat one or two pieces per day, it's usually better if you can get most of your daily fruit/veg intake from vegetables - especially the green, leafy kind or tomatoes. Even the natural sugars in fruit (and root veg like carrots) aren't good for you if taken to excess.

      I see from another post that you're eating out a lot and are worried about your salt consumption. I agree with you there. I only eat out two or three times a month, but I'm always aware of being very thirsty for several hours afterwards. The same goes for pre-prepared meals, even the healthier sort. It's fine to give yourself a treat from time to time, but best if you prepare the majority of your meals yourself.

      Whole-grain cereals are of course better than the refined sort, but should still be treated with respect. You don't need to go on a paleo diet but it's not a good idea to get too much of your daily calorie intake from carbs.

      And don't worry too much about eating fat. It was demonised - especially in its dairy form - for years, but the scientific establishment is finally coming round to the idea that it's excessive sugar (including the sort derived from fruit and carbs) that's the real problem.

      Balance is what really counts. A little of everything, without jumping on any of the bandwagons that roll past us every year.

      Magnesium might help. It brought my BP down significantly for about 15 years but unfortunately doesn't work any more. It can cause diarrhoea in some people so if you're going to try it, start slowly and work up to a max of 500mg per day. However, it's not a quick fix so you shouldn't expect results in the first couple of months. Ubiquinol is also said to help with high BP but when I tried it, it gave me catastrophic diarrhoea! There's also another natural product called Anistrol, but I've never tried it and don't know anyone who has.

      Finally, you might just have essential hypertension. Some people have high blood pressure for no particular reason. I'd suggest adjusting your diet and trying magnesium before going onto medication. 

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    • Posted

      Brilliantly sensible advice lily. It's so important to maintain balance in a diet. I know someone who swapped to a very restricted macrobiotic diet to fend off cancer and ended up with arsenic poisoning from eating an excessive amount of fruit kernels. Overdosing on carbs is a sure fire way of elevating blood sugar and causing the body to store the wrong kind of fat. Eating 'good fats' is to be recommended. Many so called healthy whole cereals have huge amounts of sugars and salts. I've swapped to an unsweetened unsalted rice and coconut type and feeling much less bloated and lethargic.
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    • Posted

      Magnesium oxide. It's said to be the least effective form but it's the cheapest and most widely available. Once when I couldn't get to the UK to get my usual brand I bought the citrate locally. This is supposed to be more effective but it gave me terrible heartburn.

      Don't know where you are in the world, but if it's UK you can get the oxide form at the Big B (don't want to upset the moderator!) They do it in a format where two tablets make up a dose of 375mg so you can take it morning and evening to reduce the chance of diarrhoea, which is the main side effect of magnesium in any form. I'd advise just taking one a day for a few days, in case it's going to upset you. I must say it's never bothered me.

      If it's going to work, it will be several months before any reduction in your BP shows up.

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    • Posted

      Lily, I am in "New England" in the Untited States. I do have access to many kinds of magnesium. I will give it a shot. Thanks so much for the advice. I appreciate it.
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    • Posted

      Try out the different magnesium salts, Ecpool, and see which one suits you best, or upsets you least. Also google bioavailability of magnesium salts. It's my understanding that much of the magnesium we take in supplement form goes straight through without being absorbed - hence the diarrhoea! - and the oxide is actually the least bioavailable. However, I'm limited as to the type I can find in continental Europe, so I opt for the reliable brand of magnesium oxide I can pick up on UK visits, even if it is the least effective. It worked like a dream for 15 years, but it's not doing anything for my more recent problem of raised pulse pressure (systolic staying more or less the same but diastolic falling dramatically).

      Like I said, it takes several months for any improvement in BP to show up so you'll need to persevere. Good luck!

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  • Posted

    You seem to be doing everything correctly to me. I eat lots of fresh fruit with my morning cereal (All Bran), and lots of carbos during the day. If you're eating liquorice, stop it immediately as it could kill you. Otherwise it may be the problem of eating all the correct foods but doing no exercise to burn the sugars off.
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    • Posted

      Put "apparent (or acquired) mineralocortocoidal excess" into Google and have a read. Even most doctors would be hard pressed to diagnose it and liquorice products usually carry no warning of how dangerous it can be when eaten regularly or in quantity.
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    • Posted

      Consumption of licorice (liquorice) can lead to dangerously high blood pressure and dangerously low potassium levels (hypokalemia). Licorice contains glycyrrhizinic acid, which sets off a well-understood chain reaction of biochemical events in the body resulting in high blood pressure.
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    • Posted

      It should be safer just pulling the black bits off and eating the coloured bits.

      However, some coloured ones do have licorice in them - e.g. the spongy coloured ones and colour coated licorice beans.

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    • Posted

      Black liquorice contains liquorice extract. Red liquorice is fruit flavoured and is not really liquorice, nor does it contain any. You can check this by the labelling on the packet or the container it is sold from, which should not say liquorice on it.
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    • Posted

      From the healthy eating website

      by Sharon Perkins 

      Amounts

      Eating as little as 2 ounces of real black licorice candy per day for two weeks could cause serious side effects, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns. If you have heart disease or high blood pressure, as little as 5 grams per day could worsen your symptoms, according to the University of Maryland Medical Center. If you have heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes, kidney problems or problems with fluid imbalance and low potassium, don't eat black licorice at all without talking to your doctor first. Pregnant women should not eat real black licorice.

      Reading Labels

      You don't have to worry about eating red licorice if you're trying to avoid licorice root; red licorice never contains licorice root. Read the labels of black licorice, especially if you buy imported or specialty licorice candy, to see if it contains licorice root. Look for the words licorice or glycyrrhiza on the list of ingredients.

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    • Posted

      1942alexander,

      Thank you for telling us about licorice.  It drives me crazy when some people  say that any ol' herb can't hurt anyone because they are a plant, and therefore natural.

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    • Posted

      I agree gettingold, I'd been advised of the various health benefits of licorice, eg, good for the respiratory system, good for teeth, stomach problems and even recognised as helpful in the fight against breast and prostate cancer but I was totally unaware of the issues glycyrrhizic acid could cause with hypertension.  You're precisely right about not assuming something is 'safe' because it's plant based - there are some serious toxic 'natural remedies' out there.  I commented a little while ago, possibly on another thread, that I know someone who nearly died from arsenic poisoning whilst following a supposedly 'healthy' anti cancer macrobiotic diet - I think it was from eating too many apricot kernels, which contain arsenic. 

      I read that there is a Deglycyrrhizinated Licorice (DGL), which has had a large amount of the glycyrrhizic acid removed, so is safer to take for things like gastrointestinal problems and adrenal imbalance etc.   

      Very informative thread, thank you to everyone for some interesting facts.

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