Before we had stores, cities and crops we had life in the wild. We hunted or we were hunted. We survived or perished. Cholesterol and glucose were still our friends.
As long as hunters could bring in fish and game, we could gather plenty of weeds (vegetables), nuts, fruits, mushrooms, eggs, tubers, flowers etc. to go with the meat. We stayed close to fresh water. There was a rhythm to life that was not stressful unless something was chasing us, or we were hurt, cold or hungry.
Under conditions of survival, where we were fighting, suffering or hungry, the body’s appropriate response is to elevate blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose.
If you were relaxing outdoors and suddenly heard a rattlesnake, your body would stop digesting food, fighting a cold, or growing new skin or heart cells. Everything concentrates on preparing to fight or run. Muscles tense up. Blood pressure increases to supply blood and oxygen.
Cholesterol floods the cells to make more steroidal hormones such as cortisol and testosterone.
Glucose is released to sustain the high level of metabolic processing that running or fighting might require.
We also begin to release blood clotting hormones in preparation for bleeding.
So is our body doing the wrong thing when we have high cholesterol or blood pressure? No – it has learned that this is how to survive danger or hardship.
SO, why does your body interpret your life today as dangerous?
Well, let’s see….. The day starts with a blaring alarm. We are late, gulp down weeks-old processed food, fuss at traffic. We complain about our boss and in-laws and worry about keeping our job. We fantasize about what would happen if we got fired or had a wreck. We have 50 emails to answer and 1000 decisions to make. We are trying to raise two kids alone. We just had surgery, or a birth, and we have to go back to work tomorrow. Meanwhile, the economy is slow, the roof leaks, your husband is ill, and the bills are mounting. And, you live alone, isolated from an extended family who would normally be caring for you.
Do you get my point?
Modern humans have created a life of constant stress and potential danger and our bodies do what they know to do to be prepared to fight or run, or at least to stay sharply in touch with what is happening, second by second, to evaluate the danger level. This is why most of us benefit from daily low-dose use of calming herbs such as my Passion Flower and Chamomile Extracts.
Even if you live a fairly quiet life, our minds still dominate us most of the time and make all this stress and danger up for us, just in case we don’t have enough to occupy us.
So, what to do? Look at what is so urgent and frightening in your life and in your mind, that your body is responding to in the appropriate way, by elevating cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose. Take responsibility, and make adjustments everywhere you can. Eat real food like your great-grandparents did. Turn off the TV, phone and computer and play games, sleep, read or exercise. Remind yourself 100 times a day that you are safe, you are grateful and that you are absolutely fine at this moment.
In other words, get your stress levels under control so they stop controlling you…… This one big step can change your blood pressure and cholesterol patterns.