Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally, Safely, & Without Drugs
A Special Report by http://www.BloodPressureNormalized.com
Welcome to "Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally, Safely & Without Drugs." This guide will help you understand what blood pressure is, what makes it become elevated and why that is a problem, as well as what to do about it.
If you're reading this book, probably you or someone you know and care about has already gotten the diagnosis of high blood pressure from a medical professional. But having a doctor say "high blood pressure" and actually knowing what that means are two different things.
Chapter One of this guide will give you all the basics about blood pressure: what it is, what happens when it is high and why it needs to be regulated. If you have just received a diagnosis of high blood pressure, this is probably where you will want to start.
If you already know some of the basics, you might want to skip ahead to Chapter Two. This chapter outlines the traditional treatment options that have been used by doctors to help people lower their blood pressure. Some of these are pharmaceutical, others, like lowering weight, may be considered more natural and helpful to those of us who seek natural cures.
Chapter Three goes into even more detail on natural treatment options for high blood pressure and so-called "alternative" remedies. From changes in your diet to different herbal supplements you might consider, this chapter runs down all the things you can do yourself to treat your high blood pressure that your doctor probably didn't tell you.
Chapter Four deals with prevention of high blood pressure. Once you have gotten your blood pressure down to more normal levels, you'll want to do everything you can to keep it that way. Or, if you have a family history of high blood pressure but don't yet have it yourself, you'll want to start here so you can find out the most effective strategies for preventing high blood pressure in yourself and those you love.
Finally, the book concludes with a quick summary of some of the best advice presented in these pages, as well as a list of place online you can go for even more information about high blood pressure, how to treat it and how to prevent it.
We hope you will find this guide useful and that you will take the time to apply at least some of the suggestions enclosed. Reversing high blood pressure without drugs can take some time, but the increase in health and well being you will feel is well worth it. And it might just save your life. Let's get started.
According to the American Heart Association, about 65 million Americans over the age of 20 have high blood pressure. That's about one in three adults in the country, and only about 63 percent of those with high blood pressure were even aware that they had it.
because there aren't really any clear symptoms of high blood pressure, also
known as hypertension. In fact, the cause of 90 to 95 percent of the cases of
high blood pressure in
So why should a person worry if he or she has high blood pressure? Hypertension raises your risk for other health problems including heart attacks and strokes. In 2003, the last year for which statistics are available, more than 52,000 Americans died because of complications related to high blood pressure. The rate of death from high blood pressure has increased nearly 30 percent between 1993 and 2004.
It's important to understand what blood pressure is before you can know why it is vital to do something about your high blood pressure.
Blood pressure is basically the force exerted on the arteries by the blood as it passes through them. Someone with high blood pressure has blood that is putting higher-than-normal pressure on the arteries, which puts more stress on the body than normal.
The heart has to work so hard to get the blood pumped through those arteries that it can actually enlarge and damage the heart, eventually causing heart attacks, strokes and other heart problems if left untreated.
Your heart usually beats between 60 and 70 times a minute when you are at rest. The blood's pressure is different depending on whether the heart is beating or at rest. So a blood pressure reading is actually a reading of both of these numbers.
The measure of blood pressure while the heart is beating is known as systolic pressure, while the pressure when the heart is at rest is called diastolic pressure. Your blood pressure when you get it measured at the doctor's office is reported as one number "over" another, such as 120/80. The "top" number is your systolic pressure while the bottom is your diastolic pressure.
The actual measuring of blood pressure is done with the help of a blood pressure cuff, which most people are familiar with from routinely having their blood pressure taken at the doctor's office. This device includes a cuff that is secured around the upper arm and two rubber tubes, one of which goes to the rubber bulb that inflates the cuff, and the other which goes to a reservoir containing mercury. The effect on the mercury is actually how the blood pressure is measured.
As air is blown into the cuff, the doctor or nurse taking your blood pressure will listen for the pulse. When he or she first hears the pulse, the systolic measurement is recorded. The sound of the pulse recedes, and then the doctor takes the diastolic reading. The unit of measure is actually millimeters of mercury, reflecting the use of mercury in the test.
We've all gotten our blood pressure taken almost every time we go to the doctor's office, but unless you've been told you have high blood pressure you might not have any concept of what normal blood pressure is.
Here are the numbers for what is usually considered "normal," as well as prehypertension and hypertension.
Less than 120
Less than 80
160 or higher
100 or higher
These numbers are considered the proper range for adults who are not on blood pressure medication and do not have illnesses such as kidney disease. If your blood pressure does not clearly fall into one of these categories, the higher number is the one to look at. For instance, if your systolic blood pressure is 125 but your diastolic is 75, you would still be considered prehypertensive.
Since we can't talk of symptoms when we are talking about high blood pressure, it is better to look at risk factors that might cause a person to have high blood pressure. Often the only way a person finds out they have high blood pressure is because their blood pressure is tested at the doctor's office.
What could put you at risk for having high blood pressure?
If your parents had high blood pressure, you are more likely to as well.
African Americans are more likely than Caucasians to have high blood
Men are more likely than women to have high blood pressure.
As you get older, your risk increases.
intake: It's not clear why sodium affects blood pressure, but some people
are sensitive to sodium, and most people get much more than they need.
Being overweight is a huge risk factor for high blood pressure.|
In addition, there are other factors or conditions that can increase your risk of high blood pressure, including:
· Being pregnant
· Having diabetes
· Drinking alcohol to excess
· Living a sedentary lifestyle
· Taking oral contraceptives or some other medications such as steroids, diet pills, cold remedies, even ibuprofen
As mentioned earlier, the blood pressure cuff measures blood pressure, but one high reading is not enough for a diagnosis to be made. You could be having an especially stressful day or have other issues that are causing your blood pressure to spike at that particular time. If you and your doctor think you might have high blood pressure, several readings might be taken during the same visit (including measurements from both arms), as well as a family history and physical examination.
The doctor likely will do a lot of listening to the heart as well as other areas of the body to see if he or she can hear any strange noises that might indicate a blockage or irregular heartbeat. The doctor may also look at the blood vessels of the eyes, which could be damaged by chronic high blood pressure, and examine the thyroid gland.
Your doctor should ask if anyone in your family has had high blood pressure and what medicines you have been taking (since some drugs can cause hypertension, as we just talked about). He or she will also ask what kind of symptoms you have had such as dizziness, sweating, heart palpitations or weight loss. These symptoms could indicate a deeper problem than high blood pressure.
Blood may also be taken to check for kidney disease, which can cause high blood pressure, as well as abnormal vitamin and mineral levels, which could indicate a gland problem. An electrocardiogram is also helpful to make sure no damage has occurred to the heart. You may have even had a heart attack and don't know it; this test will show you how your heart is doing.
Once you've been diagnosed with high blood pressure, it is up to you and your doctor to come up with the course of treatment that will be best for you. We hope that you can use the information in the rest of this book to have an informed conversation with your doctor about what is best for you on the road to healing your body and curing your high blood pressure.
There are many potential health problems that could come your way in the future if you don't treat your high blood pressure. It's hard to believe that something that doesn't manifest any symptoms can be causing so much damage, but there are a whole host of health problems that can be caused or made worse by your high blood pressure, including atherosclerosis, also known as hardening of the arteries, heart disease, stroke or aneurism. You could have heart failure or a heart attack.
That's why it is so important to treat your high blood pressure, whether you use the standard medical "cures," which artificially keep your blood pressure lower than it would be without the drugs, or use more natural methods to lower your blood pressure. Before we get to those methods, let's take a look at how the medical establishment commonly treats high blood pressure.
Traditionally, much of the treatment for high blood pressure has centered around lifestyle changes as well as medication. As mentioned in the last chapter, there are a lot of risk factors for high blood pressure, and while you can't change the fact that you are getting older or that you are male, for instance, there are some risk factors that you can do something about.
For that reason, the main advice given by doctors to their patients with high blood pressure includes:
weight if you are overweight.
a healthy diet low in cholesterol, saturated fat and salt.
back on alcohol to no more than one drink a day for women and two a day
medicine only as prescribed.|
For some people, this advice (and following through with it) is enough to get their blood pressure back to normal levels. And if your blood pressure isn't too high, this may be enough for you, as well.
If diet, exercise and other lifestyle changes aren't enough to reverse high blood pressure, doctors have a variety of drugs in their arsenals to try.
One of the most popular treatments for high blood pressure is a prescription diuretic. These drugs remove fluid and salt from the body, which makes the volume of blood in the body less, allowing it to flow through the blood vessels more easily.
Because sensitivity to salt is sometimes to blame in high blood pressure cases, flushing out the salt and beginning a lower-salt diet can be helpful for those people who are actually sensitive to sodium.
The main problem with diuretics, however, is that they can't distinguish between flushing out things that are good for the body and things that are bad. So in addition to getting rid of excess water and salt, they can also rid your body of nutrients that might be helpful in lowering your blood pressure. Potassium is a huge example, which we will talk about in more detail in the next chapter.
For now, it's enough to know that diuretics tend to remove both the bad and the good from the body, and they can cause weakness, dizziness and irregular heart beat, among other problems.
Another major category of blood pressure medication is known as beta blockers. These drugs reduce the nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels, making the heart beat more slowly and with less force. This causes the blood pressure to drop because the blood is putting less force on the vessels.
Beta blockers can increase symptoms of asthma, lower your good cholesterol levels and cause rapid heartbeat if stopped abruptly. Beta blockers are a good example of why, if you use traditional medicine for your treatment of high blood pressure, you may end up having to take drugs for the rest of your life because the rebound when you go off the drugs can be dramatic.
Other side effects of beta blockers can include insomnia, cold hands and feet, tiredness and depression. People who have diabetes need to be monitored very carefully if they are taking insulin along with beta blockers.
Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, also known as ACE inhibitors, prevent the formation of a chemical, angiotensin II, which causes the blood vessels to narrow. Taking an ACE inhibitor can help the blood vessels relax, allowing blood to flow more easily.
Side effects of ACE inhibitors can include skin rashes, loss of your sense of taste, or a chronic, dry cough. In rare instances kidney damage can occur.
Other similar drugs include the angiotensin II receptor blockers, which shield blood vessels from angiotensin, allowing the blood vessels to widen, and calcium channel blockers, which keep calcium from moving into the muscle cells of the blood vessels and heart, also causing vessels to relax and blood pressure to go down.
Both of these types of drugs may cause dizziness, while the calcium channel blockers can also lead to heart palpitations, headaches, swollen ankles, constipation and other problems that vary depending on the particular drug you are taking.
Alpha blockers reduce nerve impulses to the blood vessels. Without the impulses, the muscles can't contract. This relaxes the blood vessels, allowing blood to flow more easily and the blood pressure to be reduced.
When you first take an alpha blocker, you may have a huge dip in blood pressure that causes dizziness and can make you feel faint. After taking the drug longer, side effects include headache, nausea, and weakness, pounding heart, weight gain and increase of "bad" cholesterol. Some studies have even shown that alpha blockers can cause heart failure when used long-term, exactly one of the conditions you're trying to prevent by treating your high blood pressure!
Sometimes alpha and beta blockers are combined to make for a safer treatment plan, but all of the same side effects and potential problems are still there.
Vasodilators, also known as blood vessel dilators, open the blood vessels by relaxing the muscle in the vessel walls, allowing blood pressure to go down. These drugs are usually used with other blood pressure reducing drugs for best results.
These drugs can cause headaches, swelling around the eyes, heart palpitations or aches and pains in the joints. These symptoms usually go away after a couple of weeks. One vasodilator you may have heard of is Minoxidil, which is also marketed as a hair-growth stimulator. It shouldn't be a surprise, then, that a side effect of taking it for high blood pressure is hair growth. Another is extreme weight gain. It is only used in very severe cases of high blood pressure that do not respond to other treatments.
If your doctor has prescribed a blood-pressure lowering drug or combination of drugs for you and you are currently taking them, do not stop cold turkey or without consulting your doctor.
As mentioned above it is possible to cause health problems by coming off the drugs, and you certainly don't want to make your problems worse by playing doctor with yourself. Talk to your doctor about your intention to treat your blood pressure naturally, and the two of you can develop a plan for getting you off the blood pressure drugs without further harming your health.
If you aren't already on one or some of these drugs, however, read on to learn about some more natural ways you can control your blood pressure. Armed with the information in this book you and your doctor should be able to come up with an intelligent plan for treating your high blood pressure and getting it under control before it causes any health problems for you. Let's move on to talking about the concrete things you can do, starting today, to reverse your high blood pressure problems.
One of the great things about treating high blood pressure naturally is that even doctors will agree there are many non-pharmaceutical things you can do to improve your health and lower your blood pressure. We touched on these at the beginning of the last chapter, but they are so important that it is worth going over them again in more detail.
The best thing you can do for your body if you are overweight is to lose weight. Not only will losing weight improve the health of your heart, it will make your whole body work better and will reduce your risk for many of the diseases that plague modern life.
The British Blood Pressure Association (http://www.bpassoc.org.uk/) says that decreasing your weight by 22 pounds can lower your systolic pressure (that's the top number or the measure of pressure when your heart is pumping) by five to 10 points. That may not seem like a lot, but it can be the difference between prehypertension and normal blood pressure.
A good way to determine if you are overweight, if you don't already know is to measure your body mass index. This number is a calculation based on your height and weight. You can quickly measure your own body mass index by entering your weight and height on a calculator like the one provided by the National Institutes of Health (http://www.nhlbisupport.com/bmi/). A body mass index of between 18.5 and 24.9 is considered normal weight, while a measurement of 25-29.9 is considered overweight and over 30 is obese.
If you fall into the overweight or obese category, it is important to try to lose weight. Make sure your diet is a healthy one, full of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. You should also include physical activity when possible (more on why below). Losing one to two pounds a week is usually considered a healthy rate, and this slow pace will reap big rewards.
Not only will exercise help you if you are overweight and have high blood pressure, it is also helpful for normal weight people with high blood pressure. According to a fact sheet provided by the Mayo Clinic (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/HI00024), activity is the key to strengthening your heart. And a strong heart pumps more blood with less effort, thus lowering your blood pressure without doing anything else.
Getting more exercise can lower your blood pressure another 10 points, and if you don't already have high blood pressure it can help you prevent it. About 30 minutes of moderate exercise a day is ideal for preventing or reducing high blood pressure (and it will make that weight loss easier, too).
What counts as moderate aerobic activity? Here are some ideas:
Jogging or Running
workout equipment like elliptical trainers, rowing machines, stair step
machines, treadmills or ski machines
I hope you're beginning to see how each of these steps builds on one another to help lower your blood pressure. Both eating a better diet and exercising more can help you lose weight, and all three are vital to lowering your blood pressure. A popular diet for the treatment of high blood pressure is known as the DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension).
The DASH diet was studied by the National Heart, Lung and Blood
Institute and found to lower blood pressure in as little as two weeks when
followed faithfully. The cornerstone of the diet is reduction of sodium to at
most 2,300 milligrams a day (1,500 milligrams was even more effective). The
recommended daily allowance for sodium in 2,400 milligrams a day in the
In addition to the reduction of sodium, the DASH diet calls for eating lots of grains, fruits and vegetables, as well as nuts, seeds, and dried beans. It's not a vegetarian diet but the amount of meat is reduced from what most people probably eat. The diet also involved supplementation with potassium, calcium and magnesium, all of which we will talk about later.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, "Scientists supported by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) conducted two key studies. Their findings showed that blood pressures were reduced with an eating plan that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, and total fat and that emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. This eating plan—known as the DASH eating plan—also includes whole grain products, fish, poultry, and nuts. It is reduced in lean red meat, sweets, added sugars, and sugar-containing beverages compared to the typical American diet. It is rich in potassium, magnesium, and calcium, as well as protein and fiber."
This diet can not only help reduce high blood pressure, the suggested reduction in calories will also make it easier to lose weight, which, again, will help lower blood pressure. Everything is connected!
"Results showed that reducing dietary sodium lowered blood pressure for both eating plans," according to the NHLBI. "At each sodium level, blood pressure was lower on the DASH eating plan than on the other eating plan. The greatest blood pressure reductions were for the DASH eating plan at the sodium intake of 1,500 milligrams per day. Those with high blood pressure saw the greatest reductions, but those with prehypertension also had large decreases."
Wine in particular has been in the news a lot lately for the healthy effect it seems to have on the body, including offering protection against heart disease and certain cancers. But too much alcohol can be bad news for people with high blood pressure, and if you are particularly sensitive to alcohol any amount may be too much.
The mechanism that causes alcohol to raise the blood pressure isn't known, but cutting back on drinking can lower your systolic pressure two to four points and your diastolic pressure by one to two points.
Alcohol in moderation is fine for most people. A woman can have one drink a day while a man can have two. A drink is defined as 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or one ounce of liquor.
Now that we've taken a look at what medical and natural health practitioners agree on when it comes to preventing or treating high blood pressure, let's delve into the more non-traditional but still quite effective treatments.
One of the most important nutrients for your body when it comes to treating high blood pressure is potassium. You probably know that bananas are high in potassium, even if you don't really know what potassium is or what it does for the body.
Potassium is an element and a nutrient that is required by the body. It allows muscle contraction and helps send nerve impulses through the body. Potassium can also help the body remove waste.
The interesting thing about potassium is that too much sodium in the body can keep potassium from working as it should. Even if you're getting enough potassium, which most people aren't, if you're also getting a lot of sodium you could be missing out on the healthy effects.
Further, diuretics can flush potassium as well as sodium from the body, giving you even more of a deficit than you started out with.
Researchers at Duke found that getting more potassium could lower blood pressure by as many as 20 points for people most at risk for high blood pressure. Other studies have found reductions of around four points for systolic pressure and two points for diastolic pressure, about half the reduction usually seen when using blood pressure lowering drugs.
It is possible to supplement potassium (though the potassium supplements sold over the counter have very small amounts of potassium and larger doses are only available by prescription) but the best way to get more potassium is through diet. Recent studies have found that the type of potassium found in most foods is as effective at lowering blood pressure as the type available in supplements.
The recommended daily allowance for potassium is 4,700 milligrams, though most people get much less than that. Here are some foods that are high in potassium:
Magnesium is a micronutrient found in the bones, body tissues and organs of the body. It is necessary for normal muscle and nerve function, steady heartbeat, strong bones and a healthy immune system. Potassium and magnesium actually work together in the body, so if you have low magnesium levels, it's likely your potassium levels will be low as well.
It is recommended that most people get around 400 milligrams of magnesium a day. Again, taking diuretics may flush magnesium from your body, so supplementation or eating extra foods rich in magnesium may be necessary.
There is not as much evidence regarding magnesium's effectiveness in treating high blood pressure as there is for potassium, but the DASH diet calls for 500 milligrams of potassium daily and many studies suggest that a combination of potassium, magnesium (and often calcium) and fiber are protective of the heart and can reduce high blood pressure. Foods that are high in magnesium include:
green leafy vegetables
kinds of nuts, especially almonds and cashews
Calcium is the third member of the nutrient trio that is often mentioned as important for the reduction of high blood pressure. Most people know that calcium helps keep the bones and teeth healthy, but it's also essential for the proper functioning of muscles and nerves and helps blood clot.
There is no consensus as to whether calcium supplementation is helpful for reducing high blood pressure, but, again, it was one of the nutrients that the DASH study focused on (it recommends 1,250 milligrams a day, while the RDA is 1,000 milligrams for most adults).
Even if calcium does not lower high blood pressure, most studies agree that having low levels of calcium can raise blood pressure, so it is important to try to get the recommended amount of calcium, whether through supplements or diet, such as the following foods:
· Dairy products (preferably low-fat)
· Orange juice, cereal and other foods fortified with calcium
Give Me Garlic
Garlic is probably one of the most popular herbal supplements out there. Garlic is a bulb that is popularly used for flavoring in cooking, but it is also beneficial for the heart and is known to help lower cholesterol.
It is thought that the volatile compounds in garlic are what are beneficial for lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels, especially allicin, which is what gives garlic its pungent smell.
Garlic supplements should provide at least 10 milligrams of allicin in
a daily dose. Commission E, which sets guidelines for dietary supplements and
This amount of garlic (or commercial garlic preparation) consumed daily can lower systolic blood pressure five to 11 points and diastolic pressure up to five points. The reduction in blood pressure is most significant when real, whole garlic is eaten, but the garlic supplements are also effective and better than nothing if you don't like garlic.
Coenzyme Q10, also known as CoQ10 for short, is a supplement you might not have heard of before, but its use is growing among people with lots of different health problems. CoQ10 is produced by the body and is needed for the basic functioning of cells. Levels of CoQ10 are thought to decrease as people get older, and they are often lower than normal in people with health conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other ailments.
In fact, in some studies nearly 40 percent of people with high blood pressure had low levels of CoQ10, which strongly suggests supplementing CoQ10 is helpful for those with high blood pressure.
CoQ10 has been used to treat everything from arthritis to Alzheimer's, to boost exercise performance among healthy people and to lower blood pressure. According to the Mayo Clinic, using CoQ10 supplements to treat high blood pressure is actually the most effective use, as supplements have shown small drops in blood pressure after several weeks of use. The standard dose is around 100 milligrams daily.
Hawthorn is an herb widely used in
Hawthorn widens the blood vessels, so it works in a similar way to the conventional ACE inhibitor drugs. Its ability to lower blood pressure is rather mild compared to some of the other supplements you could be taking, but it is also thought to generally improve the condition of the heart when taken for several weeks.
The recommended dose for hawthorn is 100 to 250 milligrams of hawthorn preparation with 10 percent procyanidins three times a day. You may have to take it for up to a month before you see effects.
Many vitamins have been shown to have an effect on blood pressure, particularly vitamins C, E, B5, B6 and folic acid, which is also a B vitamin.
Folic acid, found in green leafy vegetables and many enriched food products (because it prevents birth defects), reduces homocysteine levels in the blood. Homocysteine is a risk factor for heart disease, and higher levels out you at higher risk for heart problems.
Young women who consumed at least one milligram of folic acid daily had a 46 percent lower risk of high blood pressure than those who consumed less, while older women had an 18 percent reduced incidence of high blood pressure. The recommended dose for folic acid is 400 micrograms a day.
Vitamin B6 also affects homocysteine levels and is vital for metabolism. It is found in beans, meat, poultry and fortified cereals, as well as some fruits and vegetables. The recommended amount of B6 varies, but it is less than two milligrams for most people. One study gave people 5 milligrams per day per two pounds of body weight and significantly reduced blood pressure in just four weeks, with an average drop of about 10 points each for both systolic and diastolic pressure.
B5, which comes from beans, peas, vegetables, fish and whole grains, helps the body make coenzyme A, a deficiency of which can cause low energy levels. It may help improve heart function and detoxify the body. There are no supplements of coenzyme A—it has to be made by the body. Supplements that claim to be coenzyme A are really B5, calcium, magnesium and other nutrients, so you might as well save your money and eat a diet rich in these other nutrients.
A 500-milligram supplement of vitamin C was found to reduce blood pressure by about nine percent. That's much higher than the recommended daily amount of 60 milligrams a day, but it is safe to take vitamin C in high doses. The thought is that vitamin C protects the body's levels of nitric acid, a compound that dilates the blood vessels and helps to lower blood pressure. Since vitamin C is an antioxidant, it may help protect the body's level of nitric oxide when it is under stress.
Vitamin E is generally thought to be very helpful for the heart. It can help break down blood clots, improve circulation and strengthen the heartbeat. Vitamin E is recommended to people with high blood pressure more for these reasons than because it lowers blood pressure significantly. Since high blood pressure is a risk factor in other heart problems, it makes sense to supplement vitamin E to prevent further damage. The RDA is 10 milligrams a day, but it is safe to take much more. Nuts, wheat, apples and dark greens are good sources of vitamin E. If you want to supplement, buy the natural vitamin E pills, made with d-alpha-tocopherol, which is easier for your body to work with.
Along with zinc and copper, selenium may be helpful for people with high blood pressure. These three nutrients are often low in people with heart disease, so it makes sense that supplementing them may be helpful to people with heart problems or high blood pressure.
You can probably get enough of all three of these nutrients by taking a good quality multivitamin. Selenium comes from meat, dark greens, wheat, walnuts and Brazil nuts. Zinc can be found in meat, dairy, and beans. Copper is in seafood, nuts, legumes and leafy dark greens.
Beta glucan is found in oat bran and maitake mushrooms. It is beneficial for lowering cholesterol, which can help lower blood pressure if you already have high cholesterol. Oat bran is particularly helpful for moving waste materials out of the body.
About 200 milligrams of oat bran daily can help lower cholesterol and may be beneficial for high blood pressure.
An amino acid that helps the body produce nitric acid, L-argine may be helpful in lowering blood pressure. It can be found in meat, peanuts, soy and wheat products. A study that involved taking two grams of L-argine daily reduced systolic pressure 20 points after taking the supplement daily for just a few days.
L-argine is also helpful for lowering cholesterol.
Lecithin helps the body eliminate fat and can help improve liver function. Its function in the body is similar to the Omega 3 fatty acids, which we'll talk about in just a second. One good source for lecithin is beef and sheep brains, but the supplements you will find in the market are made from soy. Another good source is egg yolks.
The main problem with supplementing with lecithin is that it tastes awful. You can buy it in capsules but to get the recommended dose of around three tablespoons a day, you'd be taking most of an expensive bottle of pills daily. The granules are much cheaper but unpleasant to eat.
You can make them a little more palatable by eating them off a spoon coated with molasses and chasing the dose with milk. Or mix them into a cold beverage. They won't dissolve, but drinking them this way will mask the taste a little.
Fish oil, also known as Omega 3 fatty acid, is very helpful for the heart. If you eat fish two or three times a week, which the guidelines say we all should, you are probably getting enough fish oil to protect your heart and lower your blood pressure.
If not, supplementation may be in order. There are many high quality fish oil supplements out there, but there are also a lot that are not as good or don't include the amount of fatty acids the label suggests. If possible, ask your doctor, pharmacist or a natural health expert for a recommendation of a good brand.
If you don't eat fish because you are a vegetarian, you can also supplement with flaxseed oil. Flax contains alpha-linolenic acid, another term for Omega 3s, and is often more cost-effective than taking as many as 10 fish oil capsules a day.
Studies have shown that consuming just a tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily lowered both blood pressure numbers by about nine points.
Many people have had success treating high blood pressure with apple cider vinegar, perhaps because it is high in so many of the vitamins and nutrients that are thought to be helpful in lowering high blood pressure.
Apple cider vinegar includes vitamins C, A, E, B1, B2 and B6, in addition to potassium, magnesium, copper and many other helpful nutrients. Being vinegar, it doesn't taste great, but a common way to take it is to mix two tablespoons in eight ounces of water and add some honey to taste. Some people also throw in a garlic clove for even more heart-healthy benefits.
The usefulness of apple cider vinegar for high blood pressure is largely anecdotal, that is, there haven't been any studies showing its effectiveness. Still, given what's in it, it makes sense that it would help.
Mix a teaspoon of cayenne into a glass of water and drink a couple of times a day. Some people can work up to a tablespoon a glass, but you need to do this gradually to get your body used to it. Some people prefer to take it in hot water seasoned with lemon or honey.
A form of traditional Asian medicine, acupuncture uses small needles inserted in the skin to move the energy around in your body. It is believed that illness comes from blockages in energy, or chi, attempting to flow in the body. Acupuncture can help get the energy flowing again.
Even if you don't believe the theory behind acupuncture, it's hard to deny the effectiveness of it in practice. A study in rats using acupuncture combined with electronic stimulation lowered high blood pressure by as much as 50 percent.
A small human study showed no improvement in blood pressure, but other people have had good results. It is certainly something worth trying if other methods of controlling your high blood pressure have failed.
Acupressure, a method of directed massage that also works to get blocked energy flowing, can also be useful for high blood pressure. Again, it is important that you go to a practitioner with experience and do not try to do these moves on yourself or a loved one.
medicine is a discipline of medicine that originated in
Unless you know about ayurvedic medicine, you shouldn't attempt to treat yourself. A knowledgeable practitioner can tell you what herbs and in what doses are going to be most beneficial for you. Some of the most popular ayurvedic remedies for high blood pressure include sankhapuspi, ashwagandha, garlic, valerian, gotu kola and trikatu, among others.
Ginseng is a rather controversial blood pressure remedy because some people say that it helps lower blood pressure and others say it helps raise blood pressure. The theory is that ginseng is generally a blood pressure moderator, and whether your blood pressure is high or low, it will help you get it to a more normal level.
A Korean study in which people took 1.5 grams of red Asian ginseng three times a day for eight weeks, participants reduced their blood pressure by about five percent. This study is interesting because it studied people with what's known as "white coat hypertension," that is, people who have a spike in blood pressure just from going to the doctor. It's possible the ginseng reduced their stress levels rather than acting directly on blood pressure, but either way it was helpful.
as little as a half cup a day of green or oolong tea daily for a year could
cut the disk of hypertension by as much as 50 percent, according to a study
done in Taiwan. Drinking tea has long been associated with lower blood
There are many thousands of different compounds in tea that could be responsible for the health benefits. Or it could simply be that drinking tea tends to calm people down, which in turn reduces blood pressure. It could be a combination of those factors. Caffeine, for instance, is known to reduce blood pressure for a short period of time, but the effect is not thought to be long-lasting. Theanine, an amino acid found in tea has been shown to reduce blood pressure in rats.
There are polyphenols in green tea especially that act as antioxidants, which may have some effect on blood pressure. Other extracts seem to relax muscles, and these are just the theories based on known compounds of tea.
Another great reason to drink tea is that it is much healthier than soft drinks, alcoholic drinks or even coffee in terms of its health benefits and it is almost as hydrating as water. Replacing soft drinks with tea means you will consume fewer calories and enjoy better health.
While Western medicine has become the norm in
many cultures, it is not the only treatment option. Conventional western
medicine, often called allopathic medicine, is the system of medicine taught
at most medical schools and most pharmaceutical and synthetic medicines are
manufactured and marketed according to the principles of allopathic
medicine. Allopathic medicine is also sometimes called orthodox medicine.
Because most of us in the Western world have
grown up in a society in which allopathic medicine is the prevailing norm,
we forget that, only a few decades ago, homeopathic, herbal and other
natural medicines were commonly available – and freely used even by
conventional doctors. While there are often heated debates about which
system of medicine is ‘better’ than the other, many responsible doctors
(whether they are allopathic or not) recognize that both have a role to play
in the treatment program. Natural medicine has often been frowned on by
conventional doctors, especially by those who did not have sufficient
knowledge of these medicines. However, it is encouraging to note that some
medical schools are now beginning to re-introduce it into their course work,
thereby providing doctors with a wider range of treatment options from which
to choose. In many countries, especially in Europe, India and China, natural
and homeopathic medicines are commonly prescribed by conventional doctors
and represent a significant part of the total annual drug sales.
Naturopathy is a branch of medicine (just as
allopathy is a branch of medicine) which operates according to the
underlying philosophy that the body has an innate capacity to heal itself.
While natural medicines are often called ‘alternative’ or
‘complimentary’ medicines, they are, in fact, a unique and independent
form of medicine in their own right, well able to treat a variety of
conditions. Perhaps the term ‘holistic’ medicine is more apt, given the
broad range of treatment options and approaches which are to be found within
the practice of natural medicine, which encompasses many different
disciplines, including herbalism, homeopathy, iridology, osteopathy,
chiropractic, therapeutic massage techniques, aromatherapy, acupuncture and
many, many more. Most naturopaths will use a variety of treatment modalities
in order to treat their patients in a holistic way to support health,
relieve symptoms and prevent future disease. In fact, even the World Health
Organization defines health as being "... more than simply the absence
of illness. It is the active state of physical, emotional, mental and social
well-being." This is a wonderfully clear description of holistic or
natural medicine, which strives to support health (thereby relieving or
preventing symptoms), rather than simply eliminating disease.
Although allopathic medicine certainly has a
role to play and has made a tremendous contribution to medical science
during the past century, there is a growing perception that it is not the
only answer and that, in many cases, holistic medicine can accomplish just
as much, if not more – without the risk of side effects, addiction and
sacrifice to health so commonly associated with pharmaceutical drugs.
Contrary to common perception, and provided that they are manufactured in
the correct way, natural medicines can work quickly and safely to promote
healing. In many cases, they can succeed where pharmaceutical drugs have
failed. Despite frequent reports that they are ‘unproven’ and
‘untested’, the opposite is true. Natural medicines have a long history
of usage and there is a wealth of empirical evidence to support their
effectiveness and safety. In addition, active clinical research is carried
out by many academic hospitals and universities to support the extensive
traditional and empirical evidence behind natural medicines.
It is also important to know that, like any
medicine, herbal and homeopathic medicines must be manufactured in the
correct way, following acceptable procedures and manufacturing methods to
ensure maximum effectiveness and safety. Due to the recent rise in
popularity of natural remedies, many companies have sprung up to take
advantage of the market. Unfortunately not all of them are equipped to
manufacture to the correct standards, often resulting in a flood of inferior
(and sometimes even unsafe) remedies onto the market – and giving natural
remedies a bad name. Even some pharmaceutical companies have rushed to claim
their market share by producing so-called ‘standardized’ extracts of
herbs and offering these as superior to the tried and tested methods of
naturopathic manufacturing. Nothing could be further from the truth. While
‘standardized’ extracts may offer benefit of easy consistency of dosage
(and cheaper more efficient production lines), they have grave
disadvantages. These include an increase in side effects as the medicines
produced in this manner lose the natural protective properties of the herbs.
In some cases, these side effects have proved fatal – as was seen in the
liver toxicity associated with standardized extracts of kava kava, a herb
previously safely used for generations without any known side effects.
Most naturopaths recommend what is called
the Full Spectrum Method of extraction – which retains the benefits of
ALL the active ingredients within the herb as opposed to isolating only one
– thereby providing a more complete treatment as well as superior
protection against side effects.
Whatever your choice, always choose wisely.
Research what is best for you. If you have a chronic or life threatening
condition, don’t make changes without first discussing them with your
doctor in order that your condition may be monitored. Well informed and
supportive practitioners will support patients who want to take
responsibility for their own health.
In the treatment of high blood pressure, the
following herbal and homeopathic remedies are often used as part of the
High-Rite contains herbs which have
been carefully selected to balance and regulate blood pressure and
also to address some of the contributory factors which may be causing it.
While some of the ingredients in High-Rite
specifically target blood vessels which have become constricted,
others improve the heart's ability to pump blood effectively, while
also treating and preventing plaque build up in the arteries.
In addition to these properties, High-Rite
also helps to reduce stress and boost the body's ability to fight illness.
Each herb is in therapeutic dosage for maximum effect.
High-Rite comes in capsule form and contains the following therapeutic herbs:
|Crataegus oxyacantha (Hawthorn) is one of the most highly respected natural remedies for high blood pressure and has well-known cardio-protective properties. Hawthorn dilates blood vessels by blocking the action of a blood constricting enzyme called ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme). This increases the heart's energy supply and improves its pumping ability. Hawthorn not only reduces blood pressure in cases where there are chronically constricted arteries but its anti-oxidant properties also help to protect against damage caused by plaque build up in the coronary arteries.|
|Passiflora incarnata is a well known calmative herb which also relaxes blood vessels and reduces blood pressure.|
|Viburnum opulus (Guelder Rose bark) is a very effective cardiac tonic and muscle relaxant. It is known to relax the cardiovascular system and also to relieve nervous tension, often associated with high blood pressure.|
|Ginkgo biloba is one of the oldest trees on the planet, dating back about 200 million years. It has survived mainly in Oriental temple gardens, where it is highly prized for its medicinal properties in Chinese Traditional Medicine. Modern studies have demonstrated the significant effect that Ginkgo biloba has on the cardiovascular system, relaxing blood vessels, acting as a circulatory stimulant and anti-inflammatory. One of the most important active ingredients, ginkgolide, has been clinically shown to be just as effective as standard pharmaceutical drugs in treating irregular heart beats. Improving blood flow throughout the body, Ginkgo biloba can also reduce blood 'stickiness', which lowers the risk of blood clots.|
Aqua-Rite is a specially formulated as
a companion remedy for High-Rite,
especially in cases where water retention is associated with high blood
Acting as a natural diuretic, Aqua-Rite also
helps to balance blood pressure, assist liver and gall bladder
functioning and improve circulation.
Diuretics cause the kidneys to remove more
sodium and water from the body, which helps to relax the blood vessel walls,
thereby lowering blood pressure.
Aqua-Rite comes in a concentrated tincture form and contains the following therapeutic herbs:
|Agathosma betulina (Buchu) is one of South Africa's best known medicinal plants and has been used by the indigenous peoples of the area for centuries to treat a wide range of ailments. It is an effective diuretic and anti-inflammatory. Early Dutch settlers used Buchu to make a brandy tincture and Boegoebrandewyn (Buchu brandy) is still used today to treat many disorders.|
|Taraxacum officinale (Dandelion) is a rich source of vitamins and minerals, including Vitamin A, D, C, various B Vitamins, iron, lecithin, silicon, potassium, magnesium, zinc and manganese. It enhances liver and gall bladder functioning and may decrease high blood pressure due to its diuretic properties.|
|Olea europea is well known for its ability to lower blood pressure, improve circulatory functioning and balance blood sugar levels.|
We've already talked at length about a number of wonderful things you can do to prevent high blood pressure, namely eat right, especially reducing the sodium in your diet, exercise more, limit your alcohol intake and lose weight if you are overweight.
Not only will these four lifestyle changes help you prevent high blood pressure, they should keep you safe from a lot of other health problems you could face, from diabetes to cancer.
But there are many other things you can do to prevent high blood pressure or to keep yourself on a healthy road once you have lowered your blood pressure. One of the biggest ones is controlling stress.
Many studies suggest that lowering your stress levels or having a productive way to deal with the stress in your life will keep your blood pressure low. That's one reason aerobic exercise is so helpful, because not only does it strengthen your heart, it gives you an outlet than can reduce stress. Even mild stress can raise your blood pressure, so it is important to have a plan from day to day that will help you reduce stress and deal with the stress you can't eliminate constructively.
Other things you can do to reduce stress include practicing yoga or Tai chi, meditation, biofeedback, breathing exercises, even hypnotherapy. Anything that can get you to take some time away from your busy schedule and focus on relaxation can be helpful, even if it’s just playing with your kids or chasing the dog around the yard.
Pets, in fact, are a wonderful way to lower your blood pressure or prevent high blood pressure in the first place. Not only can the act of petting an animal lower your blood pressure, pet owners in general tend to have lower blood pressure, even when not with their animals.
It's important to find a good, productive way to handle your stress. Bottling stress up can cause heart attacks and other health problems, as well as, of course, raising your blood pressure. Whether you work out, enjoy a hobby, go to therapy or even share your worries with a friend or family member, all of these things will improve your health.
Many of the stress-reducing techniques mentioned above have been tested in relation to high blood pressure and have been found to be effective at lowering stress levels and, thus, high blood pressure. Not every method will work for everyone, but it is important to find something that will work for you so that every stressful event isn't sending you over the edge and potentially harming your long-term health.
One other thing that might help you reduce stress and live your optimum life is training your brain to give you its best. You can find out more about how to be more productive, reduce your stress levels, become more creative, think "smarter" and reduce your sleeping problems (we'll talk more about sleep in just a second) by visiting www.bartonpublishing.com/optimindzation. This information truly can change your life and make you much more productive and simply a better thinker in everything you do. That might make you a little less stressed about things, don't you think?
We know that we tend to feel more relaxed after a good vacation, but part of the reason may just be getting a good amount of sunlight. The UV rays from the sun have been found to boost mood, which may lower blood pressure.
Vitamin D is plentiful in sunlight, and it is necessary for a healthy immune system. Getting enough vitamin D will keep you healthier in all sorts of ways.
You've probably also heard of SAD or seasonal affective disorder, a kind of seasonal depression linked to not getting enough sunlight. Stepping outside and getting some sun when you're feeling stressed may make you feel better and help control your blood pressure.
Sleep is, of course, vital for reducing stress levels and living a healthy life. If you aren't getting enough good quality sleep it can affect your blood pressure. If you don't feel like you're sleeping as well as you should, and especially if your sleeping partner complains that you are snoring more than normal, you might want to get checked for sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea is a condition in which you actually stop breathing while you are asleep. Breathing usually starts again on its own and you probably won't even be aware that it's happening, but you could have 20 to 60 of these episodes an hour, which certainly disturbs your sleep.
About half of all sleep apnea patients are thought to have high blood pressure, so it's an important warning sign that you might be on the road to high blood pressure or other heart problems if you don’t get it treated.
Even if you don't have sleep apnea, getting a good night's sleep is so important for general health and well being. If you're sleep deprived, you'll feel more stress from smaller incidents. These little things that get on your nerves will raise your blood pressure and could even lead to a heart attack or other health problems.
If you're having trouble sleeping, consider buying a new mattress or talking to your doctor about prescription sleep aids. Drinking tea, particularly chamomile tea, before bed can be helpful. Also lavender and valerian are good for making you feel more calm and ready to sleep.
Set a sleep schedule that you can keep realistically. Try not to sleep in on the weekends if you can help it, because your body will do better if you keep a regular sleep schedule. Also, make sure you don't use the bed for anything other than sleeping and sex. If you do work in bed your mind might associate it as a place for work and stress, which won't help you sleep. And watching television in bed is a bad idea, too. For one thing, it's stimulation, which you don’t need when you're trying to sleep, and it keeps your bedroom from being a relaxing, quiet, peaceful haven, which is what you need if you're looking for a good night's rest.
If you're still having trouble sleeping and don’t know what to do, visit http://www.sleeeeep.com. This site can provide you with a wealth of information about cranking up your levels of deep sleep naturally to gain more energy and boost your productivity, even while you are sleeping less. Getting enough of the right kind of sleep can really change your life, improve the quality of your life and give you more energy to do things you love, as well as ridding you of health problems caused by stress over not being able to sleep properly. You owe it to yourself to check out this vital information.
A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that eating or drinking cocoa lowered blood pressure and reduced the risk of death in older men. Substances known as flavan-3-ols found in dark chocolate have been shown to lower blood pressure and improve the function of cells lining the blood vessels.
Men who ate chocolate regularly over a 15-year study were found to have lower blood pressure than those who didn't, even when weight, smoking, physical activity and other factors were taken into account.
This doesn't mean you should run out and start gobbling up candy bars, however. The most protective compounds are found in dark chocolate, and it should still only be consumed in small quantities. And it's not as clear that the benefits exist for women, but it couldn't hurt to try, now, could it?
The last two sections of the last chapter should give you are really good idea of the health and lifestyle changes you should be making in order to lower your blood pressure or keep your blood pressure from rising, if you don't already have high blood pressure.
But here's a quick tip sheet that will run down all the basics you should cover in your new healthy lifestyle to keep your blood pressure down without drugs. If you can make a big effort to reduce your weight, exercise more and eat more healthy foods, not only will your health in general improve in just a matter of months, you'll see your blood pressure go down as well.
Again, this is for informational purposes only. Always talk to your doctor before making a drastic change in your diet, especially if you are currently on prescription drugs for high blood pressure or any other medical condition. If you are planning to start taking supplements or herbal remedies to treat your high blood pressure, it is even more important to talk to your doctor. Seemingly harmless supplements can have serious interactions with prescription drugs, so make sure you tell your doctor everything you are taking as well as the doses. Better safe than sorry.
So without further ado, let's take a quick look at the things you should start doing today to lower your blood pressure naturally and safely. If you need any more information on any of these suggestions, go back to the section of the eBook where they were first mentioned, or check the resources in the next chapter for more information.
your salt intake to less than 2,400 milligrams a day. If possible, going as
low as 1,500 milligrams a day will have a more dramatic affect if you are
sensitive to sodium.
sure you're getting enough potassium. The DASH program recommended 4,700
milligrams a day. It's best to get potassium from foods, including bananas,
vegetable juice and potatoes.
on your calcium levels as well. A daily dose of 1,250 milligrams was used in
the DASH study. Make sure you're choosing lower-fat daily products or other
non-dairy sources, such as broccoli.
sure you're getting at least 500 milligrams of magnesium. Take a
multivitamin that includes magnesium, zinc, copper and selenium, as well as
all the standard vitamins and minerals.
in the fiber as well. We talked before about the importance of oat bran, but
any fiber is going to be helpful for clearing out the excess gunk in your
body and keeping your blood pressure levels more normal. Switch to whole
grain foods whenever possible.
your new food pyramid: six to eight servings of grains, four to five
servings each of fruit and vegetables and two or three servings of low-fat
dairy products daily. Add lean meats no more than six times a week, nuts and
seeds four or five times a week, and sparing use of fats, oils and sweets.
This plan should help you lose weight as well as lower your blood pressure.
forget to exercise. At least half an hour four or five times a week will do
wonders for your blood pressure, as well as your physique if you need to
water and tea over soft drinks and alcohol.
out ways to relieve and reduce stress, and participate in activities that
garlic, cayenne, hawthorn or other supplements to your diet if you need more
help. Apple cider vinegar is an easy way to boost your intake of many
vitamins and nutrients your body needs to help regulate your blood pressure.
on the road to better health by subscribing to our e-newsletter at http://www.bartonpublishing.com/bpnewsletter.htm.
It's packed with tips about health, nutrition and exercise that will keep
you and your family healthy. You'll get all the latest news about the best
supplements, diet fads, health scares and much more. It's completely free,
so sign up today!|
The American Heart Association (http://www.Americanheart.org) has a wonderful collection of pages about high blood pressure, how it is diagnosed and the many different ways to treat it. If you're looking at conventional treatments or want to know more about what these treatments might do you to, check out the association's extensive list of blood pressure drugs (http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=2141).
A wonderful site full of general information on blood pressure and non-medical treatments is Holistic Online (http://www.holistic-online.com/Remedies/Heart/hypert_home.htm). This site includes many, many pages about how to treat high blood pressure, both by changing your lifestyle and adding supplements. It offers a very common sense approach to dealing with high blood pressure and coming up with a treatment plan that makes sense for you.
The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/hbp/) has a wealth of information on high blood pressure to share. Particularly helpful on this site is information specific to women who are on the pill, pregnant or on hormone replacement therapy, which are all conditions that can alter blood pressure.
Life Clinic (http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/blood/whatisit.asp) is another good site with a lot of general information about blood pressure, what it is and how to lower it. This site can also help you find a doctor and offers a free hypertension cookbook that will help you cook healthier meals for yourself and your family. If you aren't sure how to make some of the necessary lifestyle changes, this site will help a lot.
For details of the DASH diet,
If you want to know more about how to exercise safely with high blood pressure, check out this page from WebMD (http://www.webmd.com/content/article/96/103776.htm), and don't forget to check with your doctor before beginning an exercise program. Holistic Online (http://www.holistic-online.com/Remedies/Heart/hypert_exercise.htm) also has a good page with tips on using exercise to control high blood pressure.
For more on sleep apnea, visit the website of the National Sleep Foundation (http://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleeplibrary/index.php?secid=&id=61).
If you're wondering exactly what makes a serving of fruit or vegetables, visit Five a Day (http://www.5aday.gov/), the federal website that encourages eating more fruits and veggies. The Environmental Working Group (http://www.foodnews.org/walletguide.php) has a handy chart that shows the fruits and vegetables with the highest pesticide load, so you know which ones to buy organic.
For tips on preparing raw garlic to be used as a treatment for high blood pressure, check out Science News (http://www.sciencenews.org/pages/sn_arc98/5_23_98/food.htm).
Body and Fitness (http://www.bodyandfitness.com/Information/Health/bloodpressure.htm) has a good rundown of supplements to take and other things to do to cut your blood pressure.
Dietician.com (http://www.dietitian.com/salt.html) has a good page on the salt debate and what it has to do with high blood pressure.
A somewhat dated press release from Hopkins Medicine (http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/press/1997/MAY/199716.HTM) talks about studies into the efficacy of taking potassium to lower high blood pressure.
Chocoloate.org (http://www.chocolate.org/health/darkchocolate.html), naturally, can tell you all about how chocolate may be beneficial to the heart, including by reducing blood pressure.
World Tai Chi (http://www.worldtaichiday.org/LIBRARYArticles/LIBRARYTaiChiHIGHBLOODPRESSURE.html) has a good roundup of studies and other information about how Tai chi might be used to treat high blood pressure.
The Colorado State University Extension Service (http://www.ext.colostate.edu/pubs/columnnn/nn000621.html) has a nice basic page detailing the benefits of tea and why choosing to drink tea over many other different kinds of drinks can be beneficial to your health. While this page doesn't specifically address high blood pressure, it is a good way to get some more general information about green tea.
Be sure to visit www.BartonPublishing.com for more home remedy reports and links to other resources dedicated to your good health!
back to heart page