Several of the men in my family have both high blood pressure and high blood sugar as these two conditions have a tendency to go together. They take medication and suffer side effects from the meds. My uncle had a near death experience almost ten years ago and decided to completely turn his life around.
He began an exercise regime that included five days a week of some kind of cardio. He enjoys the outdoors so riding his bike for ten miles or so is a good routine for him. He also embarked on a strict diet designed to reduce his blood sugar levels. He eliminated sugary foods such as juices and desserts as well as foods that turn to sugar in your system such as pasta and bread. He also reduced his intake of fatty meats and eliminated artificial sweeteners and salt. No diet soda or sodium rich foods. As a result both his blood sugar levels and blood pressure went down.
This was a momentous change for him. He is the type of man who worked two jobs for the majority of his adult life. He has three rambunctious boys that would make the energizer bunny want to take a nap. And he traveled for work. His stress levels were high and eating habits were terrible. He has suffered with digestive trouble for years as a result of these conditions.
It is no small feat to completely change your lifestyle in this way. As a result of his discipline and dedication he eventually went off the majority of his high blood pressure meds as well as the meds he was taking to regulate his blood sugar levels. He lost 55 pounds and steadily built up his energy and endurance. It hasn’t been easy to maintain this type of diet and exercise regime but the benefits he has experienced keep him motivated.
My stepfather also underwent a similar type of transformation. He has taken medication for high blood pressure and high blood sugar for many years. He’s also taken meds to reduce the symptoms of Gout for at least 40 years. Recently he went in the hospital to have a heart valve replaced. The hospital was aware of his Diabetes but gave him meals that included pasta and apple juice and fruit cups. When he came out of the hospital he needed to inject himself with 4 insulin shots a day.
He also embarked on a strict diet designed for those with high blood sugar. He ate mostly protein and vegetables and ingested no sugar or salt, not even artificial sweeteners. He would monitor his sugar levels several times a day and within two weeks they returned to a place where he did not need the insulin shots. He is exercising three times a week not including golf which he plays once a week. He is doing better and better as time goes on. He’s doing so well that he’s tempted to cheat, having a little orange juice here and there etc. It’s up to him to maintain the progress he’s established or reverse it. The point is we have a good deal of power regarding our health depending on the choices we make and the priorities we set for ourselves. Having said that lets take a look at some of the recommended diets for these conditions.
The MAYO clinic website recommends the DASH diet to combat hypertension. “DASH stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The DASH diet is a lifelong approach to healthy eating that's designed to help treat or prevent high blood pressure (hypertension).” It is designed to reduce the sodium in your diet by eating a variety of foods rich in nutrients that help lower blood pressure, such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. The site states “the DASH diet include lots of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. The DASH diet also includes some fish, poultry and legumes. You can eat red meat, sweets and fats in small amounts. The DASH diet is low in saturated fat, cholesterol and total fat.”
The MAYO Clinic also has a diet for Diabetes. Below is an excerpt from their site.
Diabetes increases your risk of heart disease and stroke by accelerating the development of clogged and hardened arteries. Foods containing the following can work against your goal of a heart-healthy diet.
• Saturated fats. High-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon contain saturated fats. Get no more than 7 percent of your daily calories from saturated fat.
• Trans-fats. These types of fats are found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines and should be avoided completely.
• Cholesterol. Sources of cholesterol include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, shellfish, liver, and other organ meats. Aim for no more than 300 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol a day.
• Sodium. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day.
The quality of your life depends greatly on the quality of your health. Your physical health is also tied to your mental and emotional health. Establishing a regular routine of healthy eating and exercise can be difficult at first but the benefits and increased quality of life are worth overcoming the challenges.
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