Low Blood Pressure? Hipster D.I.Y. Electrolyte Fix

Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.
– James Joyce

Quick, out of the way, a Higi Station! What can I say?  I simply cannot resist those Higi stations. Like a puma on the prowl, I skillfully bob and weave around the innocent bystanders, plop myself down and thread my arm through the blood pressure cuff. Victory!

Ubiquitous in pharmacies and grocery stores across the nation, these health kiosks can proffer a free snapshot of your current state of health in under two minutes. Check your blood pressure (BP), pulse, weight, body fat, and body mass index all in one go. Amazing. Once Chicago based (woot woot) Higi Corp adds palm reading and genealogy to the mix, you just might find me camped out at the neighborhood Jewel.  

Fine, I’ll admit it, I’m competitive and I’m sorry for what I said during bananagrams. I dig numbers and appreciate the fact that this awe-inspiring machine stores my bp AND rewards me with higi points. Now, before you get all Big Brother conspiracy theory on me, let me tell you why storing this information is beneficial. It behooves everyone to have a general idea of what is happening in their body as it allows one to create wellness goals and track progress.

In Ayurveda and meditation, students are constantly asked to get curious, dive inside and become their own private eye. If you do not have a general idea of how you are feeling on a day to day basis, how will you know when something is off? In his collection of short stories, Dubliners, James Joyce hit the nail smack on the head when he penned- Mr. Duffy lived a short distance from his body.” Ah yes. May I be so bold as to suggest that this is somewhat of a universal truth? How often do you find yourself living a short distance from your body?

What did I discover last Saturday when I pounced on that Higi machine? Low blood pressure. Not bragging rights, I meditate and do yoga low. Bona fide, “how am I still standing?’ low. 92/64. Eek. Yes, that helped me rake in a whole slew of higi points, 200 to be exact, but these numbers concerned me.

I think it’s safe to assume we all know the dangers of high blood pressure. Heart damage in a myriad of forms:

  • Heart attack
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Congestive heart failure
  • Aortic dissection (don’t ask, it’s not pretty)
  • Stroke

How about the opposite side of the pendulum? What are the symptoms of  low blood pressure?

  • Dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness (and not the fun, I just got off the Tilt O Whirl variety)
  • Feeling off kilter, unbalanced
  • Fainting
  • Hazy, blurry vision
  • Heart palpitations (the “why can I suddenly feel my heart pounding in my ears?” sensation)
  • Disorientation
  • Nausea
  • Overall feeling of weakness

This raised the question- is there a healthy way to boost one’s blood pressure? My brother kindly offered to let me babysit his karma child. While this generosity made my heart grow three sizes, I decided I needed to do some crowd sourcing and noodling on the world wide web. 

When asked, my chiropractic friend instantly said that I am dehydrated and need to boost my fluids. Side note- Chicago folks and stiff yogis, click here to check out his practice. Dr. Joel is not only a brilliant miracle worker, but also holds a holistic approach AND is kind.

Simple enough. Dehydrated, the blood is too viscous to pump swiftly through the body. While it’s tempting to just start pounding Klean Kanteen after Klean Kanteen of H20 like a champ, I recalled the whole electrolyte warning from my high school biology class.

Water. On a regular basis, drinking roughly half your body weight in ounces, per day, is a reasonable goal. Granted, lifestyle variations may require you to adjust the amount, bookworm vs ultra-marathoner. Then there’s the whole electrolyte conundrum. Regular water is precious (Gollum, TheLord of the Rings, precious), however, too much can actually deprive the blood of essential nutrients, such as electrolytes. Puzzling.

Consulting the great Guru Google yielded this

“Electrolytes are minerals in your blood and other body fluids that carry an electric charge. Electrolytes affect the amount of water in your body, the acidity of your blood (pH), your muscle function, and other important processes. You lose electrolytes when you sweat.”

More electrolytes, check. Now, I could just hit the nearest vending machine and purchase a Gatorade or Vitamin Water, but I’m frugal and a purist snob. Skip the high fructose corn syrup, which our body simply does not know how the heck to metabolize, so out of pure bafflement it just shoves it in the back of the closet (or crams it in our fat cells). Avoid the brominated vegetable oil, food coloring and artificial colors. Jet fuel green is not a color nature ever intended to be consumed, especially in times of illness. 

Let’s get all Martha Stewart (pre tax scandal Martha) and make our own electrolyte beverage. 

Here’s what to do, courtesy of the magical Dr. Vasant Lad

Grab your hippest mason jar and combine:

1 tsp Natural Cane Sugar, Coconut Sugar or Maple Syrup
1 tsp Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice 
Pinch of Salt (Pink Himalayan Salt is best, Trader Joe’s sells this dirt cheap in these handy grinders)
1 Pint of Room-Temperature Water

Give it a good shake and sip this concoction throughout the day. This trifecta of sugar, lime and salt work seamlessly to restore the electrolyte balance in your blood. Sodium is often perceived as the bad guy because salty foods, say in canned soup, are said to increase blood pressureHey, wait a minute.  Eureka! We need to boost our blood pressure so, mindfully, bring on the salt (please don’t go binge on a box of Cheez-Its, you know who you are). Sugar will give you a carbohydrate boost, hello energy. The lime adds a kick of vitamin C, goodbye scurvy. 

There you have it, nature’s cure. Adios weakness, blurry vision and vertigo.
This all being said, consult your Doc if symptoms do not get better. Passing out mid- Higi test is not only embarrassing but scary and dangerous. No bonus points for head injuries. 

Until next time, enjoy. 

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