God’s Prescription for a Healthy Heart
Precision Blood Pressure Design
Like the concert virtuoso who sets the tension on a violin string with precision, the Grand Maestro of the Universe determined a specific blood pressure, which would be essential to healthy human life. In the Garden of Eden, God looked at the living bodies he meticulously fashioned and said, “It is good.” In other words: even down to the diminutive details we all take for granted or never slow down to notice, all things both micro and macro, internal and external, are now perfectly set for healthy life to flourish and thrive.
Stating the obvious, without blood pressure, life is over. However, too much, or high blood pressure results in the delicate and intricate harmony of every bodily system breaking down. Vascular health determines the well-being and longevity of every cell and organ in the body.
Next time you find yourself sitting with someone both to your left and to your right, one of the three of you is likely suffering from high blood pressure. Researchers report that in 90-95% cases of hypertension (aka, high blood pressure) no known cause can be found. Of course Newton’s Law remains true that to every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction. That being said, something is boiling the blood of millions of people even if the majority of causes are not directly identifiable as medical in nature.
Merry Medicine for the Heart
The Bible says a lot about the heart, and even about the importance of having a healthy heart. Something as simple as joy directly affects blood flow. “A merry heart is like good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22) Aside from the astonishing fact that this verse was written a couple millennia before modern medicine discovered the role of the bones in making blood for the heart, there is this now documentable reality that these seemingly non-biological factors directly affect us physically. This monthly column on the Spiritual Dimensions of Wellness is devoted to what was obvious even to healing practitioners in the ancient world – that a wide range of intangible dynamics, especially emotional factors and spiritual forces, directly impact our bodies for good and for bad.
At funerals I often quote the verse which states how, “None of us lives to himself and none of us dies to himself,” which in context, refers to how dependant we are on God, each other and our environment. If things are not right in any of those three areas there is a direct correlation to our bodies breaking down. Before God ever created human life, he worked for a number of days on the ideal environmental conditions.
Secondary Blood Pressure Contributors
Those who research the mysteries of hypertension often mention in their medical journal articles how, in Eden-like settings like the tropical rain forests, no one has high blood pressure. Granted, these remote tribal peoples often have high mortality rates, but the point is these unknown factors contributing to hypertension are apparently not present.
Chocolate lovers will no doubt delight to know of the 2003 Harvard Study that uncovered the relationship between the Kuna Tribe in Panama having perfect blood pressure and the fact that tribal members drink five cups of cocoa each day. Chocolate has a relaxing effect on blood vessels due to the presence of flavonoids (a type of antioxidants). Flavonoids stimulate the production of nitric oxide, which acts as a blood thinner and increases blood flow.
Dr. Don Colbert in his book The Seven Pillars of Health asserts that something as simple as water will do wonders for our blood pressure as most of us are at least mildly dehydrated each day. Aging and family history of hypertension are considered related but secondary contributors.
Even more significant, medical research has confirmed the direct link to our sedentary lifestyles here in the West as contributing factors to hypertension and a host of other related ailments. For the better part of this past year the issue of health care reform has been debated and continues to make headlines. As contentious as this topic is, we all agree costs are out of control.
What’s shocking is that two thirds of medical costs in America are incurred treating chronic disease. Chronic disease is disease caused by things like poor diets and gluttony, alcohol and smoking, and promiscuity. One researcher made a convincing case that best way to cut healthcare costs is for people to start living as the Bible tells us to live. Hardly a politically correct plan to promote, even so, it’s not hard to establish the relevancy of the Word of God to healthy daily living.