DASH diet

Obesity and Hypertension

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On January 30, 2019

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults has hypertension (or high blood pressure), which is a leading cause of stroke, heart attack, and kidney failure. Approximately 30% of hypertension cases may be attributable to obesity, and the figure may be as high as 60% in men under age 45.

People who are overweight also are more likely to have hypertension. The most recent Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) finds that nine of the 10 states with the highest rates of hypertension are in the South. West Virginia has the highest rate of 43.5%.

What is obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition that occurs when a person carries excess weight or body fat that might affect their health. A doctor will usually suggest that a person has obesity if they have a high body mass index.

Body mass index (BMI) is a tool that doctors use to assess if a person is at an appropriate weight for their age, sex, and height. The measurement combines height and weight.

A BMI between 25 and 29.9 indicates that a person is carrying excess weight. A BMI of 30 or over suggests that a person may have obesity.

You can check your BMI by using a BMI Calculator.

The Framingham Heart Study, a famous study for 44 years, estimated that excess body weight (including overweight and obesity), accounted for approximately 26 percent of cases of hypertension in men and 28 percent in women. And for approximately 23 percent of cases of coronary heart disease in men and 15 percent in women.

Individuals with obesity have an increase in fatty tissue that increases their vascular resistance and in turn, increases the work the heart has to do to pump blood throughout the body.

As of 2017 more than 70% of Americans are now either obese or overweight by this measure. However, the statistics are particularly worrying. Almost 40% of adults are obese.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the force of blood pushing against blood vessel walls. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

High blood pressure (HBP) means the pressure in your arteries is higher than it should be. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.

Hypertension facts:
  • Having high blood pressure puts you at risk for heart disease and stroke, which are leading causes of death in the United States.
  • About 75 million American adults (32%) have a high blood pressure—that’s 1 in every 3 adults.
  • About 1 in 3 American adults has prehypertension—blood pressure numbers that are higher than normal—but not yet in the high blood pressure range.
  • Only about half (54%) of people with high blood pressure have their condition under control.
  • High blood pressure was a primary or contributing cause of death for more than 410,000 Americans in 2014—that’s more than 1,100 deaths each day.
  • High blood pressure costs the nation $48.6 billion each year. This total includes the cost of healthcare services, medications to treat high blood pressure, and missed days of work.
Obesity and hypertension: 

According to the study “Mechanisms of obesity-induced hypertension,” published in March 2010, the correlation between Hypertension and Obesity is still yet to be fully explained. However, research suggests that there is particular importance on the impact that hypertension and obesity have on the sympathetic nervous system.

Additional fat tissue in the body needs oxygen and nutrients in order to live, which requires the blood vessels to circulate more blood to the fat tissue. This increases the workload of the heart because it must pump more blood through additional blood vessels.

More circulating blood also means more pressure on the artery walls. Higher pressure on the artery walls increases the blood pressure. In addition, extra weight can raise the heart rate and reduce the body’s ability to transport blood through the vessels.

How does obesity increase the risk of developing hypertension?

Being overweight and/or obese can cause high blood pressure in a variety of ways. When there is increased weight it takes more pressure to move the blood around the body. When the weight gain is in the abdominal area there is a greater risk for high blood pressure because this type of fat is more likely to cause the arteries to become thick and stiff.

When the blood vessels get stiff it is harder to push the blood through. When it gets hard to move blood around the body there is an increase in adrenaline. This will increase salt retention and further increase blood pressure.

The two keys to lowering obesity and high blood pressure

The two major keys to lowering obesity and high blood pressure are diet and exercise. In losing weight not only will you lower your BMI into a healthy range, but at the same time, your blood pressure numbers will also decrease.

According to the national guidelines and recent research, losing weight can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure – and potentially eliminate high blood pressure. For every 20 pounds you lose, you can drop systolic pressure 5-20 points. People who are considered prehypertension can benefit significantly by dropping 20 pounds.

Starting a weight loss program

It can really help to find a healthcare professional who has experience in helping people lose weight and make the lifestyle changes needed to keep the weight off. This could be a doctor, nurse, or other providers like a nurse practitioner or physician assistant. Developing a relationship with this person will help improve your chances of long-term success, as they can help you figure out the best plan for you, monitor your process, and provide advice and support along the way.

Different approaches and plans work for different people, so it’s important to try not to get discouraged and to keep trying until you find something that works for you. Be careful about misinformation online and weight loss clinics with questionable ethics. Nothing out there is magic. Losing weight takes hard work, and keeping it off requires a plan that is sustainable long-term.

Setting your weight loss goals

It is important to set a realistic weight loss goal. Your first goal should be to avoid gaining more weight. Once you know your starting point, it is helpful to create milestones and health-related goals in order to start tracking your success.

If you are overweight or obese, losing 5 percent of your body weight should be considered a success. In the longer term, losing more than 15 percent of your body weight and staying at this weight is an extremely good result. However, keep in mind that even losing 5 percent of your body weight leads to important health benefits, so try not to get discouraged if you’re not able to lose more than this.

The DASH Diet

DASH is a flexible and balanced eating plan that helps create a heart-healthy eating style for life.

The DASH eating plan requires no special foods and instead provides daily and weekly nutritional goals. This plan recommends:

  • Eating vegetables, fruits, and whole grains
  • Including fat-free or low-fat dairy products, fish, poultry, beans, nuts, and vegetable oils.
  • Limiting foods that are high in saturated fat, such as fatty meats, full-fat dairy products, and tropical oils such as coconut, palm kernel, and palm oils.
  • Decreasing the use of sugar-sweetened beverages and sweets.
The Pritikin Solution:

There is nothing extreme about the Pritikin Diet except that it is extremely healthy. In more than 100 studies published in peer-reviewed medical journals, the Pritikin Program of Diet and Exercise has been found to not only promote weight loss but also prevent and control many of the world’s leading killers, including diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease.

Exercise: the second key

How are high blood pressure and exercise connected? Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. If your heart can work less to pump, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.

Becoming more active can lower your systolic blood pressure — the top number in a blood pressure reading — by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). That’s as good as some blood pressure medications. For some people, getting some exercise is enough to reduce the need for blood pressure medication.

If your blood pressure is at a desirable level — less than 120/80 mm Hg — exercise can help prevent it from rising as you age. Regular exercise also helps you maintain a healthy weight — another important way to control blood pressure.

To keep your blood pressure low, you need to keep exercising on a regular basis. It takes about one to three months for regular exercise to have an impact on your blood pressure. The benefits last only as long as you continue to exercise.

A final thought:

For many of us, our weight is something that we can choose to control. It is not always an easy thing to do. Eating is very social. It surrounds almost every aspect of our lives. From family get-togethers, holidays, birthdays, food revolves around our lives.

But if we are serious about our health it warrants that we learn to say no to the foods that make use unhealthy and yes to those foods that promote health. Obesity does not have to be a medical condition that we accept.

healthy lifestyle

Smoking and Blood Pressure – Why and How to Quit?

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On December 26, 2018

You probably already know that smoking is bad for your lungs. Did you know it also makes you more likely to get high blood pressure and heart disease?

The nicotine in cigarette smoke is a big part of the problem. It raises your blood pressure and heart rate, narrows your arteries and hardens their walls, and makes your blood more likely to clot. It stresses your heart and sets you up for a heart attack or stroke.

It is one of more than 4,000 chemicals found in the smoke from tobacco products; it is the primary component that acts on the brain. Smokeless tobacco products (for example, snuff and chewing tobacco) also contain many toxins as well as high levels of nicotine.

What Is Nicotine?

Nicotine is a naturally occurring, colorless liquid that turns brown when burned and takes on the odor of tobacco when exposed to air. There are many species of tobacco plants, the Tabacum species serving as the primary source of today’s tobacco products. An extensive study shows it to have a number of complex and sometimes unpredictable effects on the brain and body.

Nicotine is addictive, which is why most smokers tend to do it regularly. Addiction is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, even at the risk of negative health consequences.

Most smokers know that tobacco is harmful and express a desire to decrease or end use of it, with nearly 35 million people seriously attempting to quit each year. Unfortunately, most relapses within just a few days and less than seven percent of those who try to quit on their own achieve about a year of abstinence.

Cigarette’s are a very efficient and highly engineered drug-delivery system. A smoker can get nicotine to the brain very rapidly with every inhalation. A typical smoker will take 10 puffs on a lit cigarette over a period of five minutes. Thus, a person who smokes about one-and-a-half packs (30 cigarettes) each day gets 300 nicotine hits to the brain daily. These factors contribute considerably to nicotine’s highly addictive nature.

So Not only does smoking or chewing tobacco immediately raise your blood pressure temporarily, but the chemicals in tobacco can damage the lining of your artery walls. This can cause your arteries to narrow, increasing your blood pressure. Secondhand smoke also can increase your blood pressure.

What About E-Cigarettes?

According to some studies, vaporizers can carry a risk of high blood pressure despite the elimination of tar and other toxic ingredients from the equation.

Nicotine from the vape juice causes blood vessel construction that consequently increases one’s blood pressure. Scientists also claim that people with a heart condition should not smoke or vape due to negative effects of nicotine on this organ. Also, this addictive substance causes damage to any vascular tissue.

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If the effects of nicotine on the blood vessels continue during an extended period, other than high blood pressure it may cause stroke, heart attack, and heart failure. Additionally, nicotine is known to increase heart rate that can also induce high blood pressure. So As you can see vaping is just as unhealthy for you and regular smoking. It the nicotine that is causing the damage.

How Can I Quit Smoking?

When I quit smoking, I followed Allen Carr’s Easy Way To quit smoking. Here Are a few tips from his web-page.

  • Set your date and time to stop and carry on smoking as usual right up to that time – don’t try to cut down beforehand, that makes cigarettes seem more precious rather than less so.

  • Remember – you’re not giving up anything because cigarettes do absolutely nothing for you at all. They provide you with no genuine pleasure or crutch; they simply keep you addicted – a slave to nicotine.

  • Get it clearly into your mind: you are losing nothing, and you are making marvelous positive gains not only in health, energy, and money but also in confidence, self-respect, freedom and, most important of all, the length and quality of your future life. You’re going to enjoy being a non-smoker right from the moment you put out your last cigarette.

  • Light your final cigarette and make a solemn vow that regardless of what highs or lows may befall you in future, you will never puff on another cigarette or take nicotine in any form again. That is one of the most important decisions you will ever make because the length and quality of your future life critically depend on it. What’s more, you know it’s the correct decision even as you make it. Having made what you know to be the right decision never even begin to question or to doubt that decision.

  • Your body will continue to withdraw from nicotine for a few days, but that doesn’t mean you have to be miserable. The physical withdrawal is very slight – there is no pain – and it passes quickly. What’s more, it’s what smokers suffer all their smoking lives. Non-smokers do not suffer from it. You are a non-smoker, and so you’ll soon be free of it forever.

  • If you associate a cigarette with a coffee, tea, drink or break, have your coffee, tea, drink or break and at that moment, instead of thinking: “I can’t have a cigarette now”, simply think: “Isn’t it great: I can enjoy this moment without having to choke myself to death”.

  • Do not try to avoid smoking situations or opt out of life. Go out and enjoy social occasions right from the start and do not envy smokers, pity them. Realize that they will be envying you because every single one of them will be wishing they could be like you: free from the whole filthy nightmare. No smoker wants to see their children start smoking which means they wish they hadn’t started themselves.

Remember it’s not you who are being deprived but those poor smokers. They’re being deprived of their health, energy, money, peace of mind, confidence, courage, self-respect, and freedom. If you’re offered a cigarette, just say: “No thanks – I don’t smoke,” rather than start a long conversation about how long it has been since you stopped.

Sources used for this article:


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New Research Concludes: Sauna Baths Lower Hypertension.

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On December 26, 2018

A Finnish Proverb States: “A sauna is… the poor man’s pharmacy”. So it is no wonder the Finn’s have found a natural way to lower high blood pressure.

A new study released in the American Journal of Hypertension shows the regular sauna bathing helps prevent and reduce hypertension.

“Sauna bathing may have various health benefits including a reduced cardiovascular risk. We have previously shown that regular sauna bathing could be a protective factor against the development of cardiovascular diseases.

Specifically, participants reporting 4 to 7 sauna sessions per week had a markedly reduced risk of fatal heart disease events compared to participants with 1 sauna session per week. independently of well-established risk factors as well as several other potential confounders.”

The underlying physiological mechanisms for this protective effect, however, are still unknown. Prior studies have shown that sauna bathing is associated with better cardiovascular function and produces positive short-term effects on systemic blood pressure, although the long-term effects of habitual sauna bathing on the risk of hypertension have not been previously investigated.

Tight control of blood pressure is a cornerstone in the prevention of heart disease. Recent studies have confirmed the importance of blood pressure reduction, suggesting additional cardiovascular benefits for systolic blood pressure (SBP) of less than 120 mm Hg as compared with less than 140 mm Hg.

As sauna bathing produces acute vasodilation which leads to a significant drop in blood pressure, regular sauna bathing could potentially result in long-term reduction of blood pressure.

This mechanism may further explain the protective effects of sauna bathing on the cardiovascular system. In this study, we aimed to investigate whether sauna bathing was associated with a reduced risk of incident hypertension using a long-term prospective cohort study comprising of apparently healthy middle-aged Finnish men without a history of hypertension at baseline.

To do so, they studied about 1,600 men without an elevated blood pressure of over 140/90 mmHg and men who were diagnosed with hypertension.

They then categorized the participants into three categories based on their bathing habits: those who take sauna baths once a week, two or three times a week or four to seven times a week.

During a 22-year follow-up, they found that about 15 percent of the men developed clinically defined hypertension.

They also discovered the risk of hypertension had decreased 24 percent among those who bathed two to three times a week. As for those who bathed four to seven times a week, chances of hypertension went down by 46 percent.

According to the researchers, regular sauna bathing helps improve the function of the inside layer of blood vessels. Sweating also plays a role as it removes fluids from the body, which contributions of the reduction of blood pressure levels.

Plus, saunas also aid with the overall relaxation – another factor in reducing high blood pressure.


30 Minutes in Nature a Week Reduces High Blood Pressure

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On December 19, 2018
How Does Where You Live Affects Your Health

Odds are if you’re reading this, you reside in a city. More than half the world’s people — or just about 3.5 billion — now live in urban areas. That number is expected to swell to 5 billion by mid-century, according to the World Health Organization.

A new study shows that while you can take the people away from nature, it’s a bad idea to take nature away from people. Researchers at the University of Queensland are among the first to advise how often and how intimately city dwellers need to engage with nature for it to make them healthier.

Some experts regard nature as the antidote to 21st-century maladies, like childhood obesity and even crime. Citing the numerous previous studies over more than 40 years that attribute lower blood pressure.

Also Including lower rates of heart disease and allergies, and better mental health, among other benefits, to spending time in nature. As a result, cities everywhere are up starting and upgrading green spaces — the 100 largest cities in the United States spent $6 billion to do so in 2015 alone.

Because current advice about how green spaces improve public health in general at best, they set out to pinpoint what would make these investments cost-effective. They sought to learn how frequently a person should visit nature and how long they should spend there to reap benefits.

These benefits are, to name a few, a better state of mind and lower blood pressure. Since not all nature is created the same, they also measured how the quality and quantity of green space provided health benefits. The study results suggest we all may need a minimum dose of nature: 30 minutes in at least one visit a week is ideal.

The research team surveyed 1,538 people ages 18-70 who reside in Brisbane, Australia, a city where baseline exposure to nature is likely to be high, because there are about 2,000 square feet of green space per person and 36 percent tree cover. They recruited an equal mix of males and females who matched the socio-demographic makeup of the city.

Depression, high blood pressure, social cohesion, and frequency of physical activity: these four health issues are known to improve with time spent in nature — was collected from the participants.

Scientists believe these health outcomes could be tied to exposure to nature in more than one way. For example, a landscape full of plants may be linked to better physical, mental, and social well-being.

The reason is it reduces stress and mental fatigue and because it makes a nice place for gathering with friends or getting exercise. Participants were asked how often they visited green spaces, how vegetated those areas were, and how long they spent during these visits.

Fewer Cases of High Blood Pressure

The study showed that participants who spent at least 30 minutes in nature per visit over the course of one week were less likely to be depressed or have high blood pressure. They are also more likely to be physically active.

Making more frequent visits to nature was linked to increased social cohesion, and participants who said they felt more connected to nature had greater levels of social cohesion and physical activity. ven if they were not less likely to feel depressed or experience high blood pressure.

Residents who failed to spend an average of 30 minutes or more within a visit to a green space during their week were 7 percent more likely to show signs of depression, and 9 percent more likely to have high blood pressure.

In a statement, University of Queensland researcher Dr. Danielle Shanahan said these results suggest people might need a minimum “dose of nature.”

“If everyone visited their local parks for half an hour each week there would be seven percent fewer cases of depression and nine percent fewer cases of high blood pressure,” she said.

“Given that the societal costs of depression alone in Australia are estimated at $A12.6 billion [$9.5 billion] a year, savings to public health budgets across all health outcomes could be immense,” she said. By 2020 scientists are saying depression and anxiety will be the number one health problem globally.

Vitamin D and Blood Pressure

Low levels of vitamin D—which the body gets from fortified foods, supplements, or the skin’s exposure to sunlight—have been linked to high blood pressure.

But most research has found that taking supplements doesn’t seem to help. Dr. Bisognano says the jury’s still out on how the two are linked. “I have found that people with deficient vitamin D levels can have high blood pressure that’s more difficult to treat,” he says, “but I can’t be sure whether that’s the driving issue.”

There are other reasons you may want to spend more time in the great outdoors, though. A 2014 study found that when the skin is exposed to sunlight, a chemical reaction causes blood vessels to widen and blood pressure to drop. And in a 2010 study, people who spent time in nature—walking in the forest as opposed to in an urban environment—saw greater reductions in their blood pressure, pulse rate, and stress hormones.

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Having Sex Lowers Your Blood Pressure.

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On September 16, 2018
Does Sex lower Blood Pressure?

Sex is a little 3 letter word that can cause people to giggle or gasp. But science and research prove that having sex is good for your heart, and your blood pressure. Researchers stated that men who made love regularly (at least twice a week) were 45 percent less likely to develop heart disease, than those who did so once a month or less, according to one study. So, how does sex lower blood pressure?

High blood pressure puts pressure on the blood vessels, leading to damaged and narrowed hardened arteries. The same effects that endanger the cardiovascular system can also cause erectile dysfunction in men (think about it for a second…) and reduced arousal and ability to achieve orgasm in women. Testosterone, a sex hormone power player for both ladies and gents, could be a solution. Studies have shown a link between low testosterone and high blood pressure, while the spikes in testosterone associated with sexual activity might help lower blood pressure.

Sexual activity not only provides many of the same benefits to your heart as exercise but also keeps levels of estrogen and testosterone in balance, which is important for heart health.

Sex also releases serotonin, endorphins, and phenyl-ethylamine, hormones that generate feelings of euphoria, pleasure, and elation—and make people forget all their stress.  Relieving stress relaxes the arteries in the body-again lowering high blood pressure.

For further reading:


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DASH diet

My 6-Week DASH Diet Challenge Begins!

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On July 29, 2018

Well, this morning begins phase one of the 6-week DASH Diet challenge. My weigh in this morning was 247 lbs with a BMI of 33.77 Obese Category One. All this on a 6-foot tall frame. I do not need to tell you that neither my weight or BMI are healthy.

So with a green light from my physician, I am starting this off with a 3-day water only cleanse. After being on some heavy duty narcotics for 6 months from a knee surgery I feel I want to clean out the system.

Now in following the DASH Diet, I will also be adding 3 additional measures of my own. No salt, no sugar, no oil. Do I expect to lose all the weight I need to in the next 6 weeks? I hope not. Quick weight loss almost assuredly means a quick return. I am expecting to take 1-year to lose 68 pounds. That turns out to be about 1.3 lbs per week, which is a healthy weight loss. My target BMI is 21.

I plan on combining this with 30 minutes of brisk walking every morning with some lite weight training. So that’s the plan. If you should have any suggestions please email me, Eli, at [email protected]


healthy lifestyle

How Social Media is Causing High Blood Pressure

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On June 3, 2018

People use social media for a variety of purposes. Some people only connect with friends and family. While some follow news outlets to connect with headlines and current events. People who like the connectivity it brings would sing its praises when explaining the convenience.

However, there are emerging risk factors that have come from the explosive use of social media- and they aren’t all related to cyber-bullying.

Yes, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can wear you out, says Dr. Patricia Bratt, a therapist, and psychoanalyst with offices in Livingston and New York City.

“Social media can run the gamut from being fabulously uplifting to being totally depressing and exhausting,” says Bratt. Dr. Bratt is also the director of trauma and resilience studies at the Livingston-based Academy of Clinical and Applied Psychoanalysis. “And this applies to all ages.”

The Pew researchers recently uncovered trends that have heretofore gone unnoticed in the world of social media.

Having a constant stream or “Newsfeed” scrolling before your eyes expose you to not just happy moments, but also terrible news, drama, and other stressors that people wouldn’t normally experience elsewhere.

News stories and people complaining about interpersonal relationships abound. The constant airing of dirty laundry and stories, especially those with video, of a shocking nature, are contributing to increases in high blood pressure, anxiety attacks, and even bowel disorders.

The researchers noted that “mirror neurons” in our brains work by mirroring back what we see around us- like a biological empathy trigger. Similarly to how we yawn when we see someone around us yawning. We are called to an emotional reaction when people “rant “or post disturbing videos- most of the time we can’t help it.

Many researchers and specialists recommend that adults should spend less than an hour a day on social media. It can be difficult when your job involves having to be on it (as with marketing or sales), but if you suffer from high blood pressure it is critical to limit time spent exposed to such triggers.

Social Media Affecting Teens Too

In a study published in the Journal of School Nursing, researchers found that teens who spent at least 14 hours a week on the Internet had elevated blood pressure. Of 134 teens described by researchers as heavy Internet users, 26 had elevated blood pressure.

This is believed to be the first study to show a link between time spent on the Internet and high blood pressure. The findings add to growing research that has shown an association between heavy Internet use and other health risks like addiction, anxiety, depression, obesity and social isolation.

Andrea Cassidy-Bushrow, Ph.D., MPH, a researcher at Henry Ford’s Department of Public Health Sciences and the study’s lead author, says the take-home message for teens and parents is moderation.

“Using the Internet is part of our daily life but it shouldn’t consume us,” she says. “In our study, teens considered heavy Internet users were on the Internet an average of 25 hours a week.

“It’s important that young people take regular breaks from their computer or smartphone, and engage in some form of physical activity. I recommend to parents they limit their children’s’ time at home on the Internet. I think two hours a day, five days a week is a good rule of thumb.”

Dr. Cassidy-Bushrow says the findings provide valuable information for school nurses for monitoring the health of students. “School nurses could conduct annual health screenings where blood pressure and Internet use behaviors could be assessed. Students with an elevated blood pressure would then have a follow-up visit to determine next steps.”

Taking A Break From Social Media

If you can’t shut off social media completely, you should limit subscriptions and “likes” of negative posts that causes sensory stress.

This study is just one more bit of proof that high blood pressure is always caused by some kind of stress. In this case, it’s sensory stress. It can also be physical (disease), mental (worrying), or emotional (unhealthy relationship); but there is always some kind of stress.

Now, we can’t always eliminate the stress factors. But you can get rid of the accumulated stress in your body and mind. That is, lower your overall stress hormone productions and therefore lower blood pressure.

You do this by giving your mind something that is called a “Focused Break.” These focused break exercises reboot your system and tell your brain not to release so much stress hormone that’s causing high blood pressure.

I find that many times I need to log out of social media and log into real life. In doing so I can connect to the people sitting around me instead of looking for someone on Facebook to chat with. Taking a break from social media also gets me out of the house more. Getting back into nature and enjoying the beauty of the real world. While other people are wasting their lives on social media, you will be reading a life-changing book, hitting the gym, being innovative, and making your dreams come true.

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Naturally Lowering Cholesterol Lowers High Blood Pressure

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On May 6, 2018

Because high blood pressure puts a strain on your heart, brain and blood vessels, it can increase your risk of developing heart attacks and strokes in the future. Having a raised level of cholesterol in your blood also increases the risk of developing these health problems.

So, if you have both a high blood cholesterol level and high blood pressure, then your risk of heart attack or stroke is much stronger than if you had just one or the other.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a naturally occurring substance made by the liver and required by the body for the proper function of cells, nerves, and hormones.

Cholesterol travels in the lipids (fatty acids) of the bloodstream, also called plaque, can build up in the walls of the arteries decreasing the flow of blood to vital areas of the body. If plaque continues to build long-term it significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Normally, cholesterol is kept in balance. But, the standard western diet which contains a large number of hydrogenated fats and refined carbohydrates leads to an upset in this balance. The imbalance is manifested in elevated LDL (bad cholesterol) and a low HDL (good cholesterol) which increases our risk of heart attack or stroke. Other causes include inactivity, diabetes, stress, and hypothyroidism.

As most are aware, with visits to their doctor, there are three lipoproteins in our blood that are important to our health, low-density lipoproteins (LDL), high-density lipoproteins (HDL), and triglycerides. LDL is known as the bad cholesterol because it is low in proteins and high in cholesterol.

HDL, on the other hand, is high in proteins and low in cholesterol and therefore known as good cholesterol. Triglycerides are a separate lipid in the bloodstream that provides a way for the body to store excess energy, but if they are high is another warning sign.

What Causes High Cholesterol?

If you have high cholesterol, there’s a good chance it’s your fault. And that’s good news! It means you can do something about it.

Your body naturally produces all the LDL (bad) cholesterol it needs. An unhealthy lifestyle, such as eating unhealthy foods and being physically inactive, causes your body to have more LDL cholesterol in your blood than it needs. This is the cause of high cholesterol for most people.

Check your family historyAdditionally, some people inherit genes from their mother, father or even grandparents that cause them to have too much cholesterol. This is called familial hypercholesterolemia (FH). The severity of FH is related to the duration and degree of LDL cholesterol in the blood. FH is dangerous because it can cause premature atherosclerotic heart disease.

If you have high blood cholesterol, making lifestyle modifications is important to help lower your risk of heart disease. If they don’t lower your risk enough, you may need prescribed medications.

If that sounds bad, consider your options. It’s a lot better to change your lifestyle now, to prevent a heart attack or stroke than to wait until a devastating event changes your life for you. Making minor changes now can help prevent major changes later.

If you have a stroke or heart failure from a serious heart attack, you may never fully recover.

Unhealthy Lifestyle

Unhealthy behaviors are the biggest reason why most people with high cholesterol have it. These behaviors include:

Unhealthy diet

Lack of physical activity

Smoking or exposure to tobacco smoke

Excess weight

How Can I Lower My High Cholesterol Naturally?

1. Avoid Eating Saturated Fats: Both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids help lower LDL. Most plant-derived oils, including canola, safflower, sunflower, olive, grapeseed, and peanut oils, contain both. Fatty fish (such as salmon, tuna, trout, herring, and mackerel), seeds, nuts, avocados, and soybeans are also great sources.

2. Eat A Rainbow of Fruits An Vegetables: Fruits and vegetables have scads of ingredients that lower cholesterol—including fiber, cholesterol-blocking molecules called sterols and stanols, and eye-appealing pigments. The heart-healthy list spans the color spectrum—leafy greens, yellow squashes, carrots, tomatoes, strawberries, plums, blueberries. As a rule, the richer the hue, the better the food is for you.

3. Avoid Refined Grains and Sugars: Whole grains are another good source of fiber. Instead of refined flour and white rice, try whole-wheat flour and brown or wild rice. Old-fashioned oatmeal is also a good choice, but not the quick-cooking versions, which have had much of the fiber processed out.

And don’t substitute sugar for fat. “It’s one of the worst choices you can make,” McManus warns. Food manufacturers may boost the sugar content of low-fat salad dressings and sauces to add flavor. If you see sugar, corn syrup, or any word ending in “one” near the top of the list of ingredients, choose a higher-fat version without trans fats instead.

4. Take Supplements: Vitamin E is the anti-cholesterol vitamin and a powerful antioxidant nutrient, capable of protecting cholesterol from oxidation. Vitamin E is also thought to be capable of preventing heart disease through its ability to thin the blood.

A supplement called policosanol may also assist in lowering cholesterol, according to several studies. Derived from sugar cane wax and beeswax, policosanol appears to be capable of lowering total cholesterol as well as LDL cholesterol and boosting levels of the helpful HDL cholesterol.

Omega-3 fats can be found in fish oil capsules as well as flaxseed oil if you are vegetarian. Similar to the benefits of including more oily fish in your diet, omega-3 supplements reduce cholesterol by reducing the amount the body produces.

Go Go Herbs: The most exciting development in herbal medicine for high cholesterol comes in the form of Chinese red yeast rice. Made by fermenting red yeast over rice, it is a substance used in Traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy for indigestion and poor circulation and, as scientists have now discovered, for high cholesterol, lowering raised levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood.

It is worthwhile making a green tea rich in cardio-protective antioxidants called catechins and polyphenols – your hot drink of choice. Research shows that drinking green tea on a regular basis raises good HDL cholesterol and lowers total cholesterol by blocking intestinal absorption of cholesterol and stimulating its excretion from the body.

Common kitchen herbs, turmeric, and rosemary, also appear to promote healthy cholesterol levels. Rosemary contains phytochemicals, which naturally reduce LDL cholesterol in the blood and turmeric has antioxidant properties which may prevent LDL oxidation.

More Lifestyle Modifications:

1. Start Exercising: Exercise can improve cholesterol. Moderate physical activity can help raise high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the “good” cholesterol. With your doctor’s OK, work up to at least 30 minutes of exercise a day.

Adding more physical activity, even in 10-minute intervals several times a day, can help you begin to lose weight. Just be sure that you can keep up the changes you decide to make. Consider:

Taking a brisk daily walk during your lunch hour

Riding your bike to work

Swimming laps

Playing a favorite sport

To stay motivated, find an exercise buddy or join an exercise group. And remember, any activity is helpful. Even taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing a few situps while watching television can make a difference.

2. Quit Smoking: If you smoke, stop. Quitting might improve your HDL cholesterol level. And the benefits don’t end there.

Within 20 minutes of quitting, your blood pressure and heart rate decrease. Within one year, your risk of heart disease is half that of a smoker. Within 15 years, your risk of heart disease is similar to someone who never smoked.

3. Lose The Weight: Carrying even a few extra pounds contributes to high cholesterol. Losing as little as 5 to 10 percent of your weight can improve cholesterol levels.

Start by evaluating your eating habits and daily routine. Consider your challenges to weight loss and ways to overcome them.

Small changes add up. If you eat when you’re bored or frustrated, take a walk instead. If you pick up fast food for lunch every day, pack something healthier from home. For snacks, munch on carrot sticks or air-popped popcorn instead of potato chips. Don’t eat mindlessly.

And look for ways to incorporate more activity into your daily routine, such as using the stairs instead of taking the elevator or parking farther from your office.

4. Moderation In Alcohol: Moderate use of alcohol has been linked with higher levels of HDL cholesterol — but the benefits aren’t strong enough to recommend alcohol for anyone who doesn’t already drink. If you drink alcohol, do so in moderation. For healthy adults, that means up to one drink a day for women of all ages and men older than age 65, and up to two drinks a day for men age 65 and younger.

Too much alcohol can lead to serious health problems, including high blood pressure, heart failure and stroke.

Healthy Conclusions

It amazes me how often different diseases can be healed if not reversed by lifestyle changes. It makes perfect sense that having a high cholesterol would also run the risk of a higher blood pressure. Nature has provided many ways for us to care for ourselves without having to always resort to medications. Mind you sometimes medication maybe be needed while the body begins to treat itself through proper nutrition, and natural remedies.

But sad to human nature our problem is ourselves and the society we live in. Why make so many changes, that will not be easy, when I can just take a pill? When I was practicing as a nurse people would ask me, “Well isn’t there a pill I can take?” We have become dependent on pharmaceuticals that we longer want to try a natural approach, especially if that requires effort.

But for those who do, I write every week about different ways that you and I can become healthier by just using what nature has provided. Try it! It is worth the effort to become the healthier version of you!

healthy lifestyle

Does Hot Weather Raise Blood Pressure?

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On April 22, 2018

Spring is here and warmer weather is great for lowering high blood pressure, especially after a long winter.  Not only can a bit of sun help refill your blood pressure lowering vitamin D supply, the heat that comes with summer will also improve your blood pressure.

How does hot weather raises blood pressure?

One report suggests that blood pressure should be more closely monitored during hot weather, but also that antihypertensive medication should not be reduced during hot-weather months. It seems this is a common practice in countries with hotter climates, although it is not recommended in any guidelines.

According to Mayo Clinic, numerous studies have demonstrated that blood pressure generally tends to be lower in the summer and higher in the winter.  The reason for the seasonal blood pressure change, explains Doctor Sheldon G. Sheps of Mayo Clinic, is that cold temperature narrows the body’s blood vessels requiring more pressure to force blood through narrowed veins and arteries.

Such seasonal blood pressure changes evidenced in the studies were related to either outdoor or indoor temperatures and they did not – until now – examine the link between high blood pressure and personal-level environmental temperature (PET).  Meaning, the temperature of a person’s own environment and the number of daylight hours.

Dr. Pietro Amedeo Modesti, MD, Ph.D., of the University of Florence in Italy and colleagues, recently examined whether ambulatory BP monitoring is affected by personal-level environmental temperature or by seasonality, and they discovered a positive correlation.  

The research report was published in the American Heart Association Hypertension Journal this month and it explains that the study involved a group of 1897 patients referred to hypertension clinics and sent to undergo ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABP).  

ABP measures blood pressure at regular intervals throughout the day and night.  According to the research abstract, “predictors of 24-hour daytime and nighttime BP and of morning BP surge were investigated with a multivariate stepwise regression model, including age, sex, body mass index, antihypertensive treatment, office BP, ambulatory heart rate, PET, relative humidity, atmospheric pressure, and daylight hours as independent variables.”

The study showed that with each increase of 1° C (1.8º F) at daytime, there was an average 0.14-mm Hg drop in one’s average daytime systolic blood pressure.

“With each 1-hour increase in daylight — a measure of seasonality — was associated with an increase in average nighttime systolic blood pressure by 0.63 mm Hg (95 percent CI 0.37 to 0.90), the researchers reported in the April issue of Hypertension: Journal of the American Heart Association.  “The association between 24-hour temperature and 24-hour systolic blood pressure was only among individuals older than 65.”

Following the results, the researchers indicated that health professionals should advise high blood pressure patients to take steps to better protect themselves against cold weather “such as reduced exposure to the cold and home heating may be especially effective in the elderly.”

Note, according to the report, the researchers acknowledged that the study was limited by the cross-sectional design and by the assessment of different individuals at various times of the year, which muddies the assessment of the relationship between air temperature and blood pressure.  

Furthermore,  while heat may cause a reduction in blood pressure, too much heat can be harmful so it’s advised to enjoy the heat with moderation and stay hydrated with lots of water, especially as summer kicks in.

healthy lifestyle

How To Prevent High Blood Pressure With Diet

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On March 14, 2018

High blood pressure, the number one killer risk factor in the world, may be eliminated with a healthy enough diet.

Even end-stage malignant hypertension can be reversed with diet (thereby showing it was the diet and not other lifestyle factors that protected traditional plant-based populations).


About RESPeRATE – Lower Blood Pressure Naturally.

RESPeRATE is the only non-drug, FDA-Cleared device for lowering blood pressure naturally. It is clinically proven, doctor recommended and has no side effects.

RESPeRATE lowers blood pressure by relaxing constricted blood vessels which cause high blood pressure. RESPeRATE does so by harnessing the therapeutic power of slow-paced breathing with prolonged exhalation in a way that is virtually impossible to achieve on your own. All you have to do is breathe along with RESPeRATE’s guiding tones.

Learn More…

healthy lifestyle

Eating More to Weigh Less

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On March 11, 2018

What if I told you that you could eat as much as you want and still lose weight? Is it really possible to feel full all day long and still decrease fat storage? The answer is, yes you can. This weeks video, Dr. Michael Greger discusses energy density in food and weight loss. Energy density explains how a study can show participants lose an average of 17 pounds within 21 days while eating a greater quantity of food.


About RESPeRATE – Lower Blood Pressure Naturally.

RESPeRATE is the only non-drug, FDA-Cleared device for lowering blood pressure naturally. It is clinically proven, doctor recommended and has no side effects.

RESPeRATE lowers blood pressure by relaxing constricted blood vessels which cause high blood pressure. RESPeRATE does so by harnessing the therapeutic power of slow-paced breathing with prolonged exhalation in a way that is virtually impossible to achieve on your own. All you have to do is breathe along with RESPeRATE’s guiding tones.

Learn More…

healthy lifestyle

To Lower Blood Pressure Try Lowering This One Thing

Eli Ben-Yehuda

Written by Eli Ben-Yehuda

On November 22, 2017

Today is Thanksgiving day! So to every one a “Happy Thanksgiving”. Kitchens around America will be in full swing pumping out delicious foods of various kinds. We will be enjoying turkey, mash potatoes, stuffing, cranberries, and more food then is possible to consume. So we think. I will eat and watch my waist expand before my eyes as I enjoy all that is set before me. Then there is dessert! Pumpkin pie with gobs of whip cream yum. Then football and more food. Oh and then then the infamous turkey sandwich with stuffing and cranberries double yum. Yes the food will be plenty the company great. Did I mention more food?


So on today of all days why would I want to write about dieting? Because it seems we are a nation obsessed with trying to lose weight.To be honest I also know that I need to lose weight to get my blood pressure down.


According to new statistics Americans spend 60 Billion dollars a year in an attempt to lose weight. This equates to about $3,000.00 dollars every minute of every day, 365 days a year. Considering the fact that 75 million Americans are actively trying to lose weight, that’s $800 per person per year!Yes despite this massive amount of money being spent yearly 2 out of 3 of Americans are still considered overweight or obese. But why? Because dieting simply does not work, I know from experience. Yes you lose some weight and some people a lot of weight. But guess what happens when you stop? The weight comes back and for many they end up weighing more than when they started the diet.


Being overweight is becoming the new normal. When other family members are overweight it bothers us less and less.


Why Dieting Fails

Have you ever tried to lose weight with a trendy, so-called “diet” or weight-loss gimmick only to experience frustration and failure? You’re not alone. These types of plans often set you up for failure.


Diets Fail Because:


Diets deprive us. Many diets involve eliminating certain foods or even whole food groups. This is not only unhealthy but also unrealistic for the long term.


Diets are temporary. Once they have reached their goal, most people go back to “normal” eating, so the weight comes back.


Diets often don’t fit into normal life. Weighing and measuring food may help you lose weight, but aren’t practical as long-term strategies for most people.


Diets can be expensive. Buying special foods can rack up a big bill quickly.


Diets can actually lower your metabolism. When you drastically cut back on calories, your metabolism tends to slow down. You burn fewer calories and the diet becomes less effective.


Diet is only half of the equation. Lifetime weight management is not just about what you eat. It requires physical activity as well. Experts recommend 60-90 minutes a day most days of the week.


The other problem with diets lies in the very way we describe them. In today’s nomenclature, the term “diet” usually refers to a temporary change in food choices that will help us fit back into our bathing suits or look good when we see an ex at an upcoming wedding. More importantly, what it doesn’t always imply is a long-term change that will redefine how we view and eat food for the rest of our lives.


Commitment can be scary, but this is one area of our life that we should welcome permanent change because lasting changes in our diet can also mean lasting changes in our energy levels, health, and waistlines. In general, as a culture we could benefit from replacing “going on or being on a diet” with “having a well balanced diet.”


Dieting Or Lifestyle Changes?


According to two researchers, Sherry Pagoto of the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester, Mass., and Bradley Appelhans of the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, A call for an end to the so-called diet wars. In the they are all equally as good, or bad, in helping people fight obesity.


In the end, people become confused thinking that one diet is superior to another, they said. But in fact changes in lifestyle, not diet types, are the true ways to prevent weight gain and the associated ills of diabetes and circulatory disease.

“The amount of resources that have gone into studying ‘what’ to eat is incredible, and years of research indicate that it doesn’t really matter, as long as overall calories are reduced,” Appelhans told Live Science. “What does matter is ‘how’ to eat, as well as other things in lifestyle interventions, such as physical activity and supportive behaviors that help people stay on track in long term.”


The researchers cite numerous studies that demonstrated only moderate success with various types of diet that focus on macro-nutrients: protein, fat or carbohydrates; but regardless of diet, without a lifestyle change, the weight comes back.


Conversely, several large and recent studies — such as the Finnish Diabetes Prevention Study and the China Da Qing Diabetes Prevention Study — found lower weight and lower incidence of diabetes among study participants many years after the study’s initial completion because the subjects were taught how to lose weight through lifestyle interventions.


Lifestyle Changes Trump Dieting

Pagoto described lifestyle interventions as three-prong: dietary counseling (how to control portions, reduce high-calorie foods and navigate restaurants), exercise counseling (how to set goals, target heart rate and exercise safely), and behavioral modification (how to self-monitor, problem solve, stay motivated and understand hunger)



“The ‘foods’ used within a lifestyle intervention can be low-fat, low-carb, etc. It doesn’t matter,” Pagoto said. “In fact, at least one study compared a low-fat lifestyle intervention with a low-carb lifestyle intervention, and it made no difference. The diet itself [is not] instrumental to the lifestyle interventions success; it is the behavioral piece that is key.”


Pagoto agreed that a vegetarian diet is associated with a lower risk of weight gain and heart disease. A massive study involving more than 70,000 Seventh-Day Adventists, published in JAMA in June, found that dedicated vegetarians and pesco-vegetarians (who eat fish) live longer than meat eaters. But that doesn’t mean a vegetarian diet is all it takes to help you stay healthy.


“Adherence is key, and the way to destroy adherence is forcing foods on someone they do not like, do not know how to prepare, or can’t afford,” Pagoto said.


I think on Thanksgiving Day that is enough information to swallow. No pun intended. Over the course of the next few weeks leading up to January 1st I will be investigating various lifestyle changes that have been scientifically proven to work in the loss and managing our weight. I am not going to advocate one over another. As Sgt. Joe Friday used to say, “Just the facts”. I will present the facts about these Lifestyle modifications and in the end it will be up to you the reader to choose. But for now I will enjoy the sumptuous feast set before me and enjoy without the guilt. Happy Thanksgiving from your RESPeRATE Team.


Have an idea for an upcoming article? We would love to hear from you. Contact me, Eli, at [email protected]  



About RESPeRATE – Lower High Blood Pressure Naturally.

RESPeRATE is the only non-drug, FDA-Cleared device for lowering blood pressure naturally. It is clinically proven, doctor recommended and has no side effects.   RESPeRATE lowers blood pressure by relaxing constricted blood vessels which cause high blood pressure. RESPeRATE does so by harnessing the therapeutic power of slow paced breathing with prolonged exhalation in a way that is virtually impossible to achieve on your own. All you have to do is breathe along with RESPeRATE’s guiding tones.   Learn More…