If your blood pressure is high, it is usually a sign that your arteries are tight or clogged. The solution to that problem is to eat a diet of low-fat, plant-based foods. This can bring a big drop in pressure within a few days, as tight arteries relax. In the long run, it can help to unclog clogged arteries. Pregnant women are prone to a dangerous form of high blood pressure called pre-eclampsia. Pre-eclampsia results when the woman’s blood volume does not expand enough to support the pregnancy. Her blood vessels then tighten down, to maintain circulation to her brain. But this means less circulation to the placenta and to other tissue, such as the liver. To prevent pre-eclampsia, women need to eat enough calories, and the calories should come from starch, not fat.
High Blood Pressure Is Common
Roughly one out of three adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Only half of them have their high blood pressure under control. High blood pressure can be a serious problem. It can damage your blood vessels, particularly in your kidneys and your brain. It can also damage the valves in your heart. Pregnant women are prone to a dangerous form of high blood pressure called preeclampsia. For these reasons, millions of people are taking medications to control their blood pressure. Yet medication is not necessarily the best way to control blood pressure. Yes, it can reduce the blood pressure. However, the medications do not cure the underlying problem that caused the high blood pressure. The best way to solve the blood pressure problem is to solve the circulatory problem by eating a low-fat vegan diet.
Blood Pressure Measurements
Blood pressure results from the force exerted by the heart as it beats. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) because blood pressure was originally measured with a tube that contained mercury, which is a liquid metal. The higher the pressure, the higher the column of mercury in the tube would be. A blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers: the systolic and diastolic pressure. The systolic pressure represents the pressure that is exerted when the heart contracts and pushes the blood into the arteries. The diastolic pressure represents the pressure when the heart is relaxing and refilling between beats.
High Pressure Means High Resistance
To understand blood pressure, you need to understand that the heart is trying to keep enough blood flowing through the blood vessels to serve the body’s needs. High blood pressure is a sign that the heart is struggling to overcome high resistance in the circulatory system. You can use medication to bring down the pressure; however, the blood pressure medication does not correct the problem of resistance in the circulatory system. Fortunately, you can often solve the circulatory problem through a change in diet.
Blood is a fluid. Like other fluids, it follows the basic rules of fluid dynamics, including a relationship called Poiseuille’s [pwah-zweez]) Law . Poiseuille’s Law is a mathematical equation that describes the relationship between the rate of flow of a fluid through a tube and the radius of the tube, the length of the tube, the viscosity (resistance to flow) of the liquid, and the drop in pressure from the beginning to the end of the tube. This relationship is usually shown as follows:
Pressure drop = (8 × viscosity × length × flow rate) / (π × radius4)
You can also express Poiseuille’s Law as follows:
Flow rate = (π × radius4 × pressure drop)/(8 × viscosity × length)
From this equation, you can make some important predictions:
- If you double the pressure, but kept everything else the same, you would double the flow. That’s why the heart has to beat harder to increase blood flow.
- Viscosity means thickness, or resistance to flow. Doubling the viscosity of the blood but keeping everything else the same would cut blood flow in half.
- If you doubled the length of the blood vessels (which happens if the person gains a lot of weight) but kept everything else the same, you would cut the blood flow in half. This is why overweight people are prone to higher blood pressure.
- If you doubled the radius of the blood vessel, but kept everything else the same, you would increase the flow by 2 × 2 × 2 × 2 = 16-fold! Likewise, if you decreased the radius of the blood vessel by half, you would decrease the flow by 93.75%!
Once you understand these relationships, you can see why people get high blood pressure. If you eat a fatty diet, you will likely gain some weight and make your blood a bit thicker. As a result, your heart will have to beat a little bit harder to keep your blood flowing. However, a fatty diet also clogs your arteries. Also, even a single fatty meal can make your blood vessels constrict. As a result, your heart will have to beat a lot harder to keep blood flowing. The weight gain and the thickening of the blood will make your blood pressure go up a little, while clogged arteries and vasoconstriction will make it go up a lot!
Blood Pressure Medication
You can take medication to make your blood pressure go down. However, this medication will not improve your circulation. To improve your circulation, you need to keep your blood fluid and keep your arteries clean and flexible. The best way to do that is to eat a low-fat vegan diet. This kind of diet works so fast to reduce blood pressure that many people can immediately stop taking their blood pressure medication.
The high blood pressure that occurs in late pregnancy (pre-eclampsia) is a different problem. It results from a shortage of protein in the blood plasma. This problem occurs if the woman is not getting enough to eat or if she is eating way too much fat. Either way, she will end up converting too much of her plasma proteins to sugar. As a result, she will not have enough protein in her blood plasma. Thus, she will not have enough fluid inside her blood vessels to support a healthy pregnancy.
To try to correct this problem, the kidneys will release renin. Renin activates the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system. Angiotensin makes the arteries tighten. This makes the blood pressure go up. Aldosterone makes the kidneys retain salt and water. Unfortunately, the woman does not have enough protein in her blood to keep that extra fluid inside her blood vessels. Thus, the extra fluid will leak out into her tissue, causing swelling. The surprising solution to this problem is to eat a lot of starch and very little fat. Women who eat a lot of carbohydrate will convert very little protein to sugar. As a result, they will have normal blood pressure as well as stable blood sugar levels.