Tracking your blood pressure is the most efficient way to determine if someone is at risk for a heart attack or stroke. It measures the pressure exerted on your arteries when your heart beats (systolic), as well as the pressure in between beats (diastolic). Knowing what influences your blood pressure is essential for determining physical limitations and maintaining a heart-healthy diet. Here are factors that affect blood pressure.
1. Cardiac Output
The cardiac output is the amount of blood (in liters) that the heart pushes through the circulatory system within a minute.
Cardiac output is determined by multiplying:
- Stroke Volume (Amount of Blood Pumped Out of Left Ventricle per Contraction) by
- Heart Rate (Number of Heartbeats Per Minute)
There are a few factors that can influence stroke volume and heart rate. Inevitably, they will also affect cardiac output.
Cardiac output is dependent on:
- Heart Rate (Determines How Much Blood Is Included in Stroke Volume
- Preload (Stretching of Heart Muscle Prior to Contraction)
- Contraction (Strength of Heart Muscles That Eject Stroke Volume Into Circulating System)
- Afterload (The Force the Heart Must Contract Against to Eject Stroke Volume)
As a person's cardiac output decreases, they're at an increased risk of heart disease or a stroke. An average healthy cardiac output is 4 to 8 L/min. However, a “healthy” number depends on the person's metabolic needs.
Stress can wear us down mentally and physically. When we endure stress, it causes a surge of excitatory hormones. Our body sees stress as a reason to tap into our animalistic natures.
Stress hormones put us on a high alert that causes us to make essential situations. Our bodies perceiving stress instinctually causes us to narrowly miss that car accident, crush that job interview, or knock the ball out of the park in the 7th inning.
Short-term stress can push us past our boundaries or save our lives. Over the long term, it can cause many health-related problems.
Think about what happens in these intense moments:
- Your Heart Beats Faster
- Start Sweating
- Breath Gets Shorter
- Muscles Tense Up
- Teeth and Fists Clench
We hold our breaths and tighten everything up on the outside. Yet, everything works harder on the inside. Essentially, we're shaking an airtight bottle, expecting it not to explode.
Enduring chronic stress keeps you in a heightened state at all times. It causes a steady production of stress hormones, like adrenaline and cortisol.
Eventually, stress impacts the production of other hormones that influence our blood pressure, including melatonin (sleep), serotonin (mood), and testosterone/estrogen.
3. Vascular Resistance
In a healthy circulatory system, blood will pump from the heart to various regions of the body in need of oxygen and nutrients. Then, it will return back to the heart, maintaining a steady beat.
Over time, plaques can build up in the system. Eventually, these plaques harden, causing atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis is one of the leading causes of vascular resistance. It prevents blood from circulating the system freely.
The arteries must expand to allow more blood flow and reduce blood pressure.
You can achieve better vascular resistance by:
- Eating Nitric Oxide-Producing Foods (Beets, Green Tea, Pomegranate, Garlic, Leafy Greens, Nuts & Seeds)
- Reduce Stress (Walk in Nature, Yoga, Meditation)
- Exercise (Cardio, Weightlifting, and Resistance Training)
- Consuming Healthy Monounsaturated & Polyunsaturated Fats (Avocado, Wild-Caught Salmon, MCT Oil, Olives, Hemp)
- Quit Smoking and Cut Back on Alcohol
- Using Nutretics' Heart Health (Contains Garlic Powder, Olive Leaf Extract, Green Tea Leaf Extract & Other Heart-Healthy Vitamins, Minerals & Botanicals
Little steps you take every day can help repair some damage caused by poor diet, inactivity, or stress. Make sure you talk to your doctor before making any diet or exercise changes.
4. Diet Choices
Almost every meal is a decision about your health. Those who follow a Western Diet tend to fill up on factory-farmed meats, processed foods laden with preservatives, and desserts teeming with artificial ingredients.
None of these options are conducive to heart health. Many factory-farmed meats are processed with antibiotics and hormones that disrupt our healthy gut bacteria and natural hormone production. Inevitably, these practices can disturb the balance in our system, which will increase stress and blood pressure.
Not to mention, many animal fats are high in omega-6 fatty acids. Too much omega-6 consumption can cause an increase in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, which leads to atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.
Instead, consume more omega-3s, including:
- Wild-Caught Fish (Salmon, Herring, Sardines, Mackerel, Cod)
- Nuts (Almonds, Walnuts, Hazelnuts, Pecans)
- Seeds (Hemp, Pumpkin, Sunflower, Flax)
- Nutretics' Krill Oil
It is okay to eat beef, pork, and your other favorites. Just try to cut back and use other protein sources to bring more balance back to your circulatory system.
5. Blood Circulation Volume and Exercise
An increase in blood volume typically happens during exercise. It increases your heart rate and raises your body temperature. That's why we end up sweating when we work out.
Increasing blood circulation volume also provides more cells with oxygen. That's why those who follow an active lifestyle have better long-term cognitive performance, skin health, and digestive systems.
A high blood volume due to exercise will help widen the arteries. This action will help break up blockages that promote atherosclerosis.
When we stop moving, blood circulation volume decreases. This process is normal and is rare to peak below what is considered healthy. However, remaining stagnant isn't healthy either.
If we continue to follow a poor diet and never increase blood circulation volume, we become more susceptible to high blood pressure.
6. Size of Blood Vessels
It's hard to push a truck through a front door. The same can be said for large blood vessels inside tight arteries.
As atherosclerosis develops, the arteries restrict adequate blood flow. Blood vessels must relax so they can squeeze through these blockages. This process is known as vasodilation.
The most efficient way to improve vasodilation is through nitric oxide production. As we mentioned earlier, there are many nitric-oxide-rich foods, including garlic, green tea, and olives.
Nuretrics' Heart Health is fortified with nutrients that help promote relaxed blood vessels, including garlic powder, olive leaf extract, and green tea extract.
This formula also contains botanicals, like hibiscus flower and Hawthorn extract. These plants help relax the mind, which naturally decreases stress and blood pressure.
7. Blood Viscosity
Blood thickness also plays a role in blood pressure. When your plasma cells are thick, and your arteries are clogged, it makes traveling through the circulatory system challenging.
Many doctors will prescribe blood thinners to help even out blood viscosity. However, there are some foods that can help with the process.
Blood-thinning foods include:
- Cayenne Pepper
It is important you talk to your doctor about blood viscosity before making dietary changes, especially if you are on heart medications.
8. Adrenal and Thyroid Issues
Our glands are responsible for producing essential hormones that regulate our sexual organs, mood, appetite, and more. All of these changes can impact our blood pressure.
Two common glands that people have issues with are:
- Adrenal (Regulates Metabolism, Blood Pressure, Immune System, Stress Responses)
- Thyroid (Regulates Metabolic Rate, Brain Development, Digestive Functions, and Bone Maintenance)
Adrenal glands are extremely influenced by stress. They are responsible for our fight-or-flight instinct that's seemingly always activated. Therefore, adrenal fatigue can happen, which can result in high blood pressure.
The thyroid is responsible for our digestive organs that break down our foods. When it doesn't function properly, these foods remain in our systems, leaving us prone to atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.
Thyroids are tricky because they require iodine to function. However, too much salt is detrimental to a high blood pressure diet. Please speak to a physician if you suspect you have thyroid issues.
9. Vessel Wall Elasticity
We need elastic blood vessel walls. That way, they can expand to accommodate a high blood circulation volume when we endure physical activity. Healthy vessel walls will then return to their normal state at rest.
Unhealthy vessel walls won't expand because they become too brittle. They resist the influx of blood flow, causing bottleneck traffic that increases blood pressure.
Nitric-oxide-rich foods and exercise are crucial for promoting vessel wall elasticity. Consider increasing your nitric oxide production daily with Nutretics' Heart Health.
Being overweight puts you at an increased risk of high blood pressure. Excess fat is too much for your body to carry. It causes physiological stress on your muscles and bones, which can increase blood pressure.
Eating too many unhealthy foods can cause a backup in the digestive system. Eventually, the immune system will start to think there's a threat and cause inflammation.
That's why those who are overweight are at higher risk of chronic inflammation. Numerous studies also report that chronic inflammation can be tied to high blood pressure.
How to Improve Your Blood Pressure
There are many factors that influence your blood pressure. Some of these influencers are internal, while others are external. However, there's one common ground on both ends of this spectrum -- you.
Your blood pressure is dependent on your lifestyle choices. Cut down on stress and unhealthy diets. Start exercising, eating nitric-oxide-rich foods, and using all-natural supplements like Nutretics' Heart Health. Your heart will thank you!