High blood pressure is the “silent killer”, because there are usually no or few warning signs associated with hypertension. High blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease and strokes and affects one in three adults or nearly 68 million adults in the US according to the CDC. Given the expense and side effects of some of these drugs it would be great if there were natural ways to lower blood pressure. Well, there are.
A wide-range of pharmaceutical drugs have been developed to treat high blood pressure. These include diuretics (water pills), beta-blockers, alpha-blockers, calcium-channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme blockers (ACE inhibitors), angiotensin II receptor blockers, vasodilators, and more. Each of these drug classes target a specific mechanism related to blood pressure control.
But, some of the active ingredients found in these prescription drugs can be found in nature in the food we should be eating. Through improved nutrition including nutritional supplements and exercise there are natural ways to lower blood pressure.
The real key is to simply eat more fruits and vegetables (4 to 5 servings a day of each) which are filled with antioxidants and nearly all antioxidants have beneficial effects on blood pressure, and are high in critical minerals that lower blood pressure. In addition, they contain chemicals similar to active ingredients in some blood pressure medicines. Click here to see guidelines for blood pressure from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute which use the DASH eating plan.
Nutritional Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Several supplements have been shown to lower blood pressure. Of course you can just eat the foods high in these nutrients. The list includes:
- Vitamins C, D, and E.
- Coenzyme Q10
- Omega-3 fatty acids.
- Potassium and magnesium.
- Cocoa or dark chocolate.
- Lutein and lycopene.
- Whey protein.
If you’re eating lots of fruits and vegetables you will automatically be receiving adequate amounts of many of these nutrients, and you don’t need to take all of these as supplements. Two or three may be sufficient. Also, never stop your blood pressure medication without discussing with your doctor first. It’s also a great idea to monitor your own blood pressure at home as you consider some of these nutrient strategies.
Typical daily doses include 1,000 mg of vitamin C , 200 to 400 IUs of vitamin E (mixed tocopherols), 400 to 800 mg magnesium, 100 mg to 200 mg of coenzyme Q10, 1,000 mg of garlic (do not take if you take coumadin- a blood thinner), 2,000 to 4,000 mg of fish oil, enough vitamin D to get vitamin D levels above 50 ng/dl, 30 grams of dark chocolate, 30 grams of whey protein.
Exercise Ways to Lower Blood Pressure
Aerobic exerecise can lower blood pressure. Exercise has anti-infammatory effects which can improve blood pressure control. Plus aerobic exercise improves nitric oxide production which relaxes blood vessels lowering blood pressure. As little as 20 minutes of walking a day reduces the risk of high blood pressure in men, and 30 minutes of vigorous exercise once a week reduces the risk as well. That’s a great investment of time. Take advantage of exercise.
For more information about protecting yourself from high blood pressure and heart disease consider obtaining a copy of What Your Doctor May Not Tell You About Heart Disease by Mark Houston, MD and Reverse Heart Disease Now by Stephen Sinatra, MD and James Roberts, MD.