Author: Elizabeth Friedman, MS
Based on 2017 data and a new definition, 116 million US adults (47%) are hypertensive, defined as having blood pressure greater than 130/80. Prevalence varies across demographic categories, with the highest hypertension rates in women aged 75 years and older and in the Black, non-Hispanic population. Of those afflicted, most do not have their hypertension well controlled. Unfortunately, this is partly due to the absence of symptoms; one in five people with high blood pressure are not aware they have it. It’s important to get blood pressure checked on a regular basis.
Uncontrolled hypertension is known as the “silent killer,” as it increases risk of heart disease, heart failure, and stroke. It can reduce life expectancy by as much as 5-7 years. Diet and lifestyle changes can help lower blood pressure and mitigate risk for adverse cardiovascular outcomes.
Healthy Diet & Lifestyle Changes
Lose excess weight. Excess weight is a major cause of increased blood pressure and puts a strain on the heart. Losing just 10 pounds can reduce blood pressure by as much as 10 points, and greater weight loss can reduce blood pressure even further.
Make healthy dietary choices. This will help with the weight loss noted above. Selecting more plant-based, unprocessed foods and lean proteins will increase vitality overall. Specifically:
a. GGOBE Foods (Ginger, Garlic, Onion, Brassica Sprouts, and Eggs) can improve cardiovascular health. Ginger acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, directly dilating blood vessels. Onion also acts as a vasodilator through both calcium channel blockage and increase of endothelial nitric oxide, and directly lowers heart rate. Research has suggested that garlic decreases blood pressure through mediation of intracellular nitric oxide and through prevention of the production of angiotensin II (a compound that causes blood vessels to constrict). Broccoli and its sprouts contain sulphoraphane glucosinolate (SGS), a compound that decreases oxidative stress and blood pressure. Eggs have demonstrated a 12% reduction in stroke risk.
b. Fruits and vegetables contain potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, as well as other helpful compounds. Berries, leafy greens, avocados, seeds, nuts, and citrus fruits are especially helpful.
c. Alkaline-forming foods. Eating in accordance with Nature’s Alkaline Way and Nature’s pHarmacy includes choosing a wide variety of whole foods (preferably organic/biodynamic) prepared in a wide variety of ways. Many plant-based foods contain antioxidant and “life-ly” compounds that help support digestion, circulation, and overall functioning. We recommend eating at least 60% alkaline-forming foods if you are in overall good health. If your immune system is compromised or challenged, or if you are not feeling your best, we recommend selecting at least 80% alkalinizing foods from the Acid/Alkaline Body Chemical Balance chart. The alkalinizing diet can help lower blood pressure, and can help you to lose weight, further decreasing strain on the heart and blood vessels.
d. Minimize salt intake. The number one food that raises blood pressure is sodium, or common table salt. In countries that consume low-salt diets, the age-related increase in blood pressure seen in Western counties is absent. In addition, researchers have found that reducing dietary sodium over a period of four weeks leads to significant decreases in blood pressure.
e. Eat in harmony with your nature. Be sure to avoid consuming any foods to which your immune system reacts. Use the list of reactive foods from your LRA by ELISA/ACT tests results if you have had testing for delayed allergies; if you have not yet been tested, it is highly recommended. Most overweight people lose weight effortlessly and enhance metabolism when they substitute nonreactive foods for reactive ones, which helps reduce blood pressure.
Hydrate. Dehydration can cause high blood pressure. Vasopressin is released by the pituitary in response to high serum osmolarity – which means that the circulating blood is too “concentrated.” Vasopressin tells the kidneys to conserve fluids and the blood vessels to constrict, raising blood pressure. Stay properly hydrated by consuming more than four liters (or four quarts) of water or herbal beverage daily.
Get moving. Regular physical exercise can help strengthen the heart and blood vessels through a variety of mechanismswith a resultant decrease in blood pressure. We recommend at a minimum, walking for 45 minutes every other day and at least 20 minutes of movement practice on the alternate days. A great place to start is by adding a daily stretch, a brisk walk, or simply getting up to move about for a few minutes each hour. Once you are ready to add more, try yoga, Tai Chi Chuan or Aikido
Get restorative sleep. Sleep deprivation can cause high blood pressure, and the less you sleep, the higher it may go, increasing risk for heart disease and stroke. This is thought to be due to changes in the hormones that control stress and metabolism that are normally expressed during sleep. Check out Dr. Jaffe’s top sleep tips to ensure you get the best possible sleep.
Take a salt and soda bath. As part of your bedtime routine, consider taking a salt and soda bath. This relaxing soak (equal amounts of Epsom salts and baking soda) will help remove toxic matter through your skin pores and will help increase magnesium uptake. Magnesium has been shown in some studies to lower blood pressure, and the warm water will help lower stress and promote relaxation.
Practice mindfulness. In November of last year, an abstract was presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, showing that a mindfulness practice can significantly reduce systolic blood pressure. Check out some ideas for practicing mindfulness in the kitchen, and/or subscribe to the Nature’s pHarmacy newsletter from DrJ for weekly mindfulness tips.
Practice abdominal breathing. Also known as diaphragmatic breathing, abdominal breathing can help lower stress, reduce heart rate and reduce blood pressure. Practicing multiple times per day can help you add this valuable tool to your health-promoting toolkit.
Add nutritional supplements. Supplementation of key nutrients can also be helpful.
a. Magnesium has been shown to significantly reduce blood pressure, yet a large percentage of Americans are magnesium deficient. In addition the ability of the body to absorb magnesium from the diet decreases with age. PERQUE Magnesium Plus Guard™ combines three highly bioavailable forms of magnesium to enhance delivery and functional beneﬁts.* PERQUE Choline Citrate™ boosts magnesium uptake by combining with magnesium in a patented enhanced magnesium uptake system (US Patent 8,017,160) to effortlessly carry it as a neutral compound through cell membranes.* Take enough magnesium and choline citrate to keep first morning urine pH between 6.5 and 7.5.
b. Vitamin C has been shown to decrease both systolic and diastolic blood pressure across many studies PERQUE Potent C Guard™ powder and tabsules protect delicate endothelial cells that line blood vessels from free radical and toxin damage, and increase nitrous oxide (nature’s small vessel relaxation molecule) thus lowering blood pressure via enhanced biopterin action. Use our C-calibration protocol to determine the amount needed.
c. Quercetin is a polyphenolic flavonoid found in foods such as apples, berries, and onions, that has been shown to decrease blood pressure in hypertensive patients through a variety of mechanisms. Pomegranate juice has many health promoting effects, including blood pressure reduction. Finally, OPCs (oligomeric proanthocyanidins) are antioxidants found in grapes, apples, nuts and certain berries that can also reduce blood pressure. PERQUE Repair Guard™ is a combination of quercetin dihydrate, pomegranate juice, and OPCs that delivers potent antioxidant benefits and cell support that may also positively effect blood pressure.*
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Making many or all of these healthy diet and lifestyle changes will help to reduce blood pressure and decrease your cardiovascular risk.
*This statement has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.