So what can we do to keep our heart strong, healthy, and pumping? I have 4 Heart Health Hints to get your blood flowing (and keep it that way!)
Removing sugar and grains from your diet is a great way to improve overall health. Among other offenses, grains and sugars cause an increase in inflammation, promote allergic response, and raise insulin levels. An elevated insulin level leads to insulin resistance, which cascades into many other health challenges – one of which is elevated blood pressure.
How are insulin resistance and blood pressure related? Insulin stores magnesium. When cells are resistance to insulin, they also reject the magnesium that comes with it, so it passes out of your body through urination. Magnesium relaxes muscles. Low levels of stored magnesium cause blood vessels to constrict rather than relax, raising your blood pressure.
Insulin also causes your body to retain sodium. How does this affect your blood pressure? Sodium retention causes fluid retention. Fluid retention is another cause of high blood pressure. Fluid retention can also lead to congestive heart failure.
One of the many ways that sugar hurts the body is by depleting it of B vitamins. B vitamins are necessary for proper heart function. Having low levels of B vitamins increases inflammation in your body and makes you more susceptible to infection and injury. You can increase your B vitamins through a quality nutritional supplement, or through a well-rounded diet including leafy green vegetables, nuts, and beans.
Eating sugars and grains -- including any type of bread, pasta, corn, potatoes, or rice -- will cause your insulin levels and your blood pressure to remain elevated. Removing these things from your everyday diet will help to regulate both your insulin levels and blood pressure. Eliminating them completely will produce the best change, but even just reducing your consumption may make a noticeable difference.
If your high blood pressure is a complication of insulin resistance, then controlling your blood sugar levels will, in turn, help to lower your blood pressure and improve your heart health. If it isn’t, eliminating grains and sugar is still a smart move that will ultimately improve your overall health. No negative side effects!
Check in later this week for more tips on how to help your heart!
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