6 Ways to Lower High Blood Pressure
Anyone with high blood pressure should be concerned about it because hypertension increases the risk of stroke. And, it is lesser known that by annoying the arteries, it increases the likelihood that plaque might form arterial blockages. The usual approach is to rely on salt restriction and drugs to lower blood pressure, but here are a number of other ideas showing up in the literature.
Overtreatment? By comparison to the cholesterol debate, it has seemed a no-brainer to give drugs to healthy people to reduce high blood pressure readings and thereby supposedly reduce the risk of strokes. Now, a review of studies calls that assumption into question. Referring only to people who have not had previous cardiovascular events or diagnosed cardiovascular disease, the review concluded: “Antihypertensive drugs used in the treatment of adults (primary prevention) with mild hypertension (systolic BP 140-159 mmHg and/or diastolic BP 90-99 mmHg) have not been shown to reduce mortality [death] or morbidity [illness]” in the study subjects. For reasons that apparently are not yet clear, at least one study showed that women are more likely to have underlying cardiovascular disease than men with the same blood pressure readings.
Hibiscus Tea Reduces Blood Pressure. In a randomized, placebo-controlled trial with 65 mildly hypertensive folks ages 30-70 (not on meds), 3 servings a day of this tea significantly lowered systolic, diastolic and arterial pressure. You may not find this tea at the Piggly Wiggly but something so simple that apparently has no side effects would be worth tracking down at a health food store. Often the natural approaches all work in slightly different ways, so even if each one only makes a modest change, added together, they may be enough.
Chocolate Reduces Blood Pressure. A review of 10 studies confirms that chocolate reduces blood pressure (but not to the same extent in all participants). This isn’t license to grab a Snickers® . The health effect is from the antioxidant nutrients in dark chocolate. If you add a lot of sugar and partially hydrogenated fat, you gain weight and do not reap much in the way of cardio benefits. Try a square of dark chocolate for dessert (sorry, no Chubby Hubby ® ice cream.)
Vitamin D and Blood Pressure. This review of several studies suggests that there are strong indications that low vitamin D levels are associated with high blood pressure. The researchers (as always) say more study is needed to refine the results, but read at this link about other life-saving reasons to make sure you get some sunshine and have enough D. It seems silly not to at least make sure that your blood levels are up to at least normal. Perhaps due to some other magic in sunlight, a small study on folks with normal pressure, showed that exposing them to UVA radiation for 20 minutes, widened vessels, increased nitric oxide in the blood and that significantly lowered blood pressure.
Aged Garlic Extract, Natto and Suntheanine. Kyolic the source of Aged Garlic Extract which has been the subject of over 700 studies. Kyolic wisely combined these three into one product: “Formula 109”.
Radio Show: Pharmacist, naturopath and Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Dr. James LaValle, talked about some of these natural substances—interview.
Final thoughts: Please monitor your blood pressure at home. That is more reliable than tests during periodic office visits and you will be able see the effect of any diet or supplement changes. Don’t suddenly stop medications. This site is informational and not a substitute for professional advice. Consult a health practitioner that knows nutrition and appreciates non-toxic remedies.
Copyright 2010 and 2014 by Martie Whittekin, CCN