EP 114 – Eat This: High blood pressure

When you read a stat that 25% of the world’s population has it, and personally get asked by around 10 people lately, I take it as a sign that it’s time to talk about it. It’s said that a billion people out of the 7 billion on the planet, suffer with high blood pressure or hypertension, and that’s not good. Here in Canada it’s one in five people and in the US one in 3 people all have had their blood pressure taken and the results mean that their heart is working harder. Harder than mine as I have low blood pressure. Ideally when that cuff around your arm puffs up and releases, the numbers that you’re faced with are in the 120/80 area or even a bit less. Otherwise, there’s cumulative damage to the walls of your arteries and that creates further inflammation to the fact that you have high blood pressure. Called the silent killer, hypertension is one of the leading causes of heart disease. That’s considered heart attacks, stroke, congestive heart failure, and arrhythmias, which is the abnormal electrical activity in your heart that can lead to critical and life-changing events. It can be the cause of kidney failure. Hypertension also leads to what’s called microvascular disease – a disease of the small vessels like in the brain leading to dementia, or your eyes leading to blindness, and for men, those microvessels that need blood flow for erections, well, if you suffer from erectile dysfunction, check out your blood pressure. There’s also vascular disease that can affect circulation in your legs, and even lead to amputation of limbs. The causes are not necessarily that you’re sprinkling too much salt on your food, but that you eat processed and otherwise tasteless food unless the food maker added salt to make a food taste like something, too much stress, not enough sleep and exercise, and all that spins off from that. Yes, genetics can play a part as we talked about in my DNA test results in episode 111, but the other reasons people are talking about in my opinion is what I want you to know about. So today on EAT THIS with Lianne, High Blood Pressure or Hypertension. What got you there, just how many health intersections come together with this, what you need to know to get it under control what to eat, not eat and take so you really understand how to veer way off the road towards this silent killer.

Has this happened to you in the doctors office? Your blood pressure reading is higher than is good-for-you, the conversation that followings like taking meds, ditching salt and losing weight is all there is. There’s a much larger causation and correlation discussion that needs to be had. What’s not talked about is how you might have insulin resistance, how your sleep and possible sleep apnia that you don’t know you have, or heavy metals are at the root of this. Nor your vitamin, mineral and essential fat status and what you need to be eating to get enough. Then there’s what’s going on in your gut… they all contribute to the numbers going in the wrong direction. Sure there are prescriptions and meds given out as a way to manage your blood pressure, but what about the side effects, and the fact that what got you here isn’t discussed or made a priority. 

So let’s break down that list that I just reamed off and see what you can piece together this cross section of symptoms and issues of yourself and let’s talk about what you can do to put a positive, healthy spin on it. Now it might seem like I’m talking in circles as we go through this, but know that all of the following is connected and impacts everything to the point of high blood pressure, not the other way around. And of course I’ll wrap up this episode with what you need to put in your mouth to have maximum impact. 

Belly Fat 

Let’s start with a little experiment. Stand up. Stand up straight there Chris Then look down, just look down at your feet. Can you see your toes? Or is there a small or big belly in the way of your view south? That belly fat, muffin top or ponch that you have going on is a driver of high blood pressure. That belly can be from too much ice cream and cookies, or its there as a typical response to too much stress and therefore high cortisol levels which goes to the belly. It’s not a good way to think of your lovely belly, but it’s kind of the toxic waste dump of the body and believe it or not, it acts as part of your immune system. As well as that, that fat just also has a metabolic effect that is toxic to the body and causes inflammation then that creates the hardening of the arteries, which is one of the causes of high blood pressure. Sure being overweight or obese is not helping you and knowing that for every two pounds you lose, you drop your blood pressure by a millimeter of mercury. So, if you lose 20 pounds, you can drop your blood pressure by close to 10 militeres of mercury. That’s the only wining situation in all I’ve just said about belly fat. Losing it. 

Next is Sleep Apnea and poor sleep 

Being overweight, or carrying extra fat of any amount can have a knock-on effect to your blood pressure unto itself, but also is a leading cause of sleep apnea. People with a slim build and a slim physique can also have sleep apnea, and it’s a major contributor to high blood pressure. That start-stop of breathing, while you sleep, means you’re not getting enough oxygen in, to your brain, all your blood vessels and your body. When that happens, your cortisol levels rise. And, what did I just say about high cortisol? It contributes to belly fat. That whole cycle is an inflammatory cycle and causes an oxidative stress cycle, and can lead to damaged arteries. When your immune system sees damaged arteries, your immune system creates inflammation and then your body lays down cholesterol like a bandaid. Thank you for trying to heal me, body. But sadly that healing effect can turn to a roadblock, as in a blocked artery, and can also lead to hardening of the arteries. When your blood vessels don’t get enough oxygen, they don’t have the energy to expand and contract and that leads to high blood pressure. Sleep apnea also leads to pre-diabetes, weight gain and insulin resistance. So we have come full circle back again, back at insulin resistance. 

Not sleeping well, soundly or for long enough, snoring and mouth breathing all directly or indirectly lead to high blood pressure. Before your doctor suggested your medication, did they ask you if you snore, have sleep apnea or wake up feeling ready for the day or do you drag yourself out of bed? Like I said, there’s more to this conversation that’s not happening. 

Insulin Resistance

Let’s talk more about insulin resistance and what it is exactly. This could be an episode all on its own, but let me give you the basics. Insulin resistance is when cells in your muscles, fat, and liver don’t respond well to insulin and can’t easily take up glucose from your blood. So your pancreas has to make more and more insulin to help glucose enter your cells. You become resistant to insulin, that wreaks havoc with just about everything and eventually, your pancreas says, nope, I’m done, you’re on your own and hence diabetes. Like I said, this one situation is likely the number one cause of high blood pressure as it messes a lot up and can even cause depressive disorders. Did you get asked about this as before you were handed your prescription? Maybe your doctor doesn’t know about testing for it, so if not, the experts in functional medicine say to do a test for insulin and blood sugar and hemoglobin A1c.

The gut 

I’ve talked about the microbiome a lot on this podcast and while you wouldn’t necessarily think that you blood pressure is influenced by your gut bugs, but it is. If your gut bugs are off and there aren’t enough good probiotics present, your immunity isn’t what it could be as 80% of your immune system lives in your gut. 

Your gut bugs can get messed up from a poor diet, which speaks to the insulin resistance, poor sleep, sleep apnea your belly fat too, so it’s all linked. Maybe you have some bad bugs, suffer with yeast or candida or parasites. Any medication affects your gut, especially antibiotics, but also those taken on a regular basis. What happens here to influence your BP? Without that balanced gut microbiome with billions of probiotics or good bugs causes inflammation and oxidative stress throughout the body and that attacks the health of your cells and that drives up your blood pressure. 

The second thing about your gut is if you have food sensitivities. That’s not necessarily a food that you’re allergic to, but irritates your gut. Take gluten for instance. If you remember from episode 111 in my DNA results, my report recommendation was to avoid gluten. And that’s not because I have celiac, but my genetics says it’s not good for me – so could be called non-celiac gluten sensitivity. If I was someone who ate bread, crackers, cereal and pasta all the time, I’d have leaky gut and that in yet another round about way leads to inflammation a messed up microbiome. The other piece to this is that gluten sensitivity can lead to vitamin and mineral deficiencies because of the gut inflammation vitamin D for instance, that need to be digested. So when you take drops or pills, you’re not going to absorb it well, which is why I highly recommend my Sunshine D3+K2 spray, because absorption starts in the mouth and doesn’t rely on the gut. In yet another intersection cross, vitamin D is needed to ease inflammation, so if you’re eating gluten, it doesn’t agree with you, you’re not absorbing vitamin D, you plaster on sunscreen and hate mushrooms, there’s no D to work on that inflammation that’s causing your high blood pressure. To top it off, the absorption of magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron are also negatively impacted. 

Speaking of minerals, let’s talk about magnesium. Almost 50% of people are deficient in magnesium and it plays a huge role in hypertension. Each and every muscle in your body needs it, and it’s a calming mineral that relaxes your blood vessels. Magnesium can help the effects of stress, and gets inhaled by the body while under stress. Magnesium can help you sleep, so a low levels from all the stress leaves you sleepless no matter where live, Seattle or otherwise! Magnesium helps your muscles, so twitches and cramps and also improves mood. 

Omega 3 fats 

When was the last time that you ate fish, and didn’t have fries on the side? I haven’t even seen salmon or tuna with chips, have you, Chris? Eating nuts and seeds isn’t part of many of my client’s food diaries unless I see peanuts while at a baseball game, so I know consumption of good fats is low. Every cell in your body needs good fats, otherwise, they’d be hard as a rock. 

Heavy metals are worth noting, but I’m not going to dive too much into them, but ask for tests that measure mercury, lead, cadmium and even environmental toxins like glyphosate, a pesticide that’s everywhere.  

What can you do about all this then? Well, I have recorded a video for my YouTube channel too showing you what to take from the Take This with Lianne line. It’ll include Skin Boost superfood powder for inflammation and oxidative stress. Sunshine D3+K2 for maximum absorption, Bio Boost probiotic to get that gut microbiome to a better balance, Omega Boost for your omega 3s and cell membrane, Alka C because of chromium for the insulin resistance and vitamin C helps with stress-busting as well as repairing cell walls of the arteries, and anywhere in your body. And last but not least, Magnesium Bis Glycinate

I think this is going to hit a lot of people, so I wanted to give as much support as possible. I already have a queue of people wanting to work with me, so join that if you want one on one help. 

What are five steps to get the mercury going in the other direction?  

  1. Change your eating habits. Keep a food diary and see where the sugar, processed, packaged, take out and fast food are being eaten. Then ditch em. Slowly or cold turkey. If chocolate is your jam, then buy dark chocolate. If you’re savoury like me, then kale chips with nutritional yeast is a great go to as a snack, but ditch the chips. 
  2. Start eating more greens; broccoli, spinach, watercress, kale which includes baby kale which is more delicate, arugula, chard, microgreens like sprouts for magnesium, potassium and calcium. And add more fish onto the side of that plate with a homemade dressing made with EVOO. 
  3. Think about easing off the gluten, especially if you think you’re sensitive to wheat, rye and barley. Oats and buckwheat grains do not contain gluten. Give that a go and see how it impacts your packaged food consumption as well as see how your gut feels, bowel movements and mood. 
  4. What can you do about insulin resistance as that’s so key? Ditch the sugar, it has to go. Follow a more Mediterranean diet, eat more greens, follow intermittent fasting, get more sleep and exercise. Eat more fish or take Omega Boost which is a powerful mix of DHA and EPA, you must put magnesium bis-glycinate in your cart on SproutRight.com, add melatonin for sleep and Alka C that has chromium, the number one mineral for blood sugar balance and diabetes. 
  5. Exercise in a way that you find stress busting and raises your heart rate at times. Get more sleep and if you don’t know if you have sleep apnea, get tested and ask your bedfellow if you snore. Try out the mouth taping from episode 90. Do yoga, meditate, walk, pet a cat or snuggle a puppy, see friends and lower that stress level. Ok maybe that was more than 5 but you get my drift.  

Doing all that should lead to weight loss, which I have not recommended as my number one thing as it’s a given, but it won’t happen if you’re not going to change things. It’s time. 

As you can see, high blood pressure is about just about everything, and getting to the bottom of just where to start might take some digging with someone like myself going through your food diary and helping you implement change. If you do get diagnosed with high blood pressure, please take it as a sign that something is off. It doesn’t just ‘happen’, it took a while to get here, but research shows that it can be reversed. It’s not you for life. 

While I’ve made these suggestions, do keep in touch with your doctor, get a home BP cuff to see where you’re at a few times a day, and see what your efforts bring. There’s a lot of power in food, and this is the time to flex it with intention. 

Head to YouTube and social media to hear me talk about what supplements and order them from sproutright.com I’ll share all this on my weekly newsletter from that you can sign up for on liannephillipson.com and sproutright.com while you’re there too. Share this far and wide, reach out on either website or on the same channels on social media. Thanks for being along, I hope it helps broaden your understanding and while you’re making these changes please remember to eat this one mouthful at a time.

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