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Natural Reduction 
of High Blood Pressure


People with uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension) are at a greater risk for heart attack and stroke.

50 million Americans have high blood pressure. This condition left untreated can lead to serious health threats -- heart attack, stroke, kidney failure. Yes, you can lower your blood pressure nicely by restricting your sodium (salt) intake. Sodium causes your body to absorb more water, and extra water in your arteries means more water pressure, plain and simple. And yes, most Americans eat twice the salt they need. So, we strongly endorse salt restriction as one way to drop your blood pressure quickly (along with cutting your weight, and your tobacco and alcohol use). Another way to reduce blood pressure is to increase cardiovascular exercise - that is, exercise that increases the pulse and respiratory rate for 25 to 30 minutes or more 3 to 4 times per week -- or even better, daily.

Heavy use of nonaspirin pain relievers does increase risk for high blood pressure. In one groundbreaking study, women who took nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen; 22 times a month or more were 86% more likely to have high blood pressure than those who did not take NSAIDs. Those taking acetaminophen were twice as likely to be hypertensive. Aspirin did not increase the risk. If you are at risk for high blood pressure or already have the condition, ask your doctor which pain reliever is appropriate for you.

A daily regimen of aspirin seems to decrease the risk of heart related ailments. Nighttime is the best time to take a daily aspirin to protect your heart. In a recent study, people with mild hypertension who waited until bedtime to take an aspirin tablet lowered their systolic blood pressure by an average of 7 points after 3 months. Those who did not take aspirin or who took aspirin in the morning showed no change in blood pressure. 

There are some other natural treatments:

Apple Juice Drinking as little as 12 ounces a day of apple juice reduced oxidation of LDL (bad) cholesterol by 20%, compared to 9% in people who ate two whole apples a day. LDL cholesterol oxidation triggers the formation of plaque on coronary artery walls.
Calcium Many hypertensives have a lower daily calcium intake than individuals with a healthy blood pressure. Studies are ongoing.
Sources: Nuts, salmon, sardines, low fat dairy products, watercress, kale, broccoli, turnip greens, collard greens, and mustard greens. 1,200 mg daily would be good -- take with about 400 IU of Vitamin D to help with absorption.
Capsicum, also known as cayenne, contains capsaicin – the compound that produces the "hot" in hot peppers. Cayenne peppers have been used for centuries as a folk medicine for stimulating circulation, aiding digestion and relieving pain (topically). Contemporary uses have placed cayenne extracts as thermogenic aids to help increase metabolism. Reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, which can lead to hypertension.
Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) This is a nutrient that shows promise for hypertensives and that naturally occurs in our bodies. One study investigated 26 hypertensives who took 50mg of CoQ10 twice a day for 10 weeks. At the end of the study, systolic blood pressure had dropped from an average of 165 to 147, and diastolic blood pressure dropped from 98 to 86. It is widely recommended to repair heart damage and to boost the function of the heart, as well as in preventative use to safeguard against heart attacks and valve damage.
Fish Oil
(Omega 3 Fatty Acids)
Fish Oil seem to offer numerous benefits for lowering blood pressure and reducing risk of heart disease. (read more
Folic Acid
Folate (a B vitamin) helps lower blood levels of amino acid homocysteine. A high level of homosysteine (above 10) is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke. A study of more than 9,000 Americans shows that people with the highest dietary intake of folate -- 400 micrograms (mcg) a day,  have an 86% lower risk for heart attack and a 79% lower risk for stroke than those with the lowest intake (100 mcg).
Garlic Garlic helps reduce cholesterol as well as blood pressure. In a 1993 study, people with high blood pressure consumed one clove of garlic, a day for 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the study, they demonstrated significantly lower diastolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels. If you already take a blood thinner, a lot of garlic could be dangerous.
Hawthorn 300 mg 3 times daily. This herb dilates arteries and improves coronary blood flow reducing blood pressure. Can widen blood vessels, especially the coronary arteries. Some of the flavonoids in Hawthorn help prevent the narrowing of blood vessels. It also is a mild diuretic that reduces blood volume. Most patients who take hawthorn have a drop in blood pressure of 10 to 15 points over 8 weeks. Once blood pressure is down, you may be able to reduce the dosage to stop taking the herb altogether. Recently, hawthorn has been used mostly as a cardiotonic (to “strengthen” the heart muscle and promote more forceful contractions).
Kava Kava A root from a pepper plant used by Pacific islanders (e.g. Fiji, Hawaii) for centuries as a ceremonial intoxicant to help people relax and socialize. More recent uses suggest a role for kava in relieving anxiety and tension. This  remarkable ability to promote relaxation without loss in mental sharpness makes it a perfect herbal supplement for today's too-busy-to-relax lifestyle. And it's safe! Used for thousands of years by the people of the South Pacific islands who have the reputation of being the happiest, friendliest people in the world. Best of all, Kava-Kava is free of the side effects and addictive properties common to anti-anxiety drugs.
Kudzu Contains a chemical (puerarin) that has decreased blood pressure by 15 percent in lab animals (*2). In addition, puerarin has many times the antioxidant activity of vitamin E, thus reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer.
320 mg Women
420 mg Men
250 mg twice daily. Taken daily, helps to relax artery walls and increase blood flow. Also reduce fatigue and promotes weight loss by helping the body to convert food into energy.
Sources: green vegetables, nuts (especially almonds, cashews and pecans), rice, bananas, potatoes, wheat germ, kidney and lima beans, peas soy products, molasses, oats, bran and fish.
Oat bran Oat bran or oat meal is a natural cholesterol lowering "medication."
Onions These are also recommended for hypertensives. In one study, two to three tablespoons of onion essential oil a day lowered blood pressure in 67 percent of people with moderately high blood pressure. Their systolic levels fell an average of 25 points and their diastolic readings fell 15 points. Onion essential oil is not available, but you can promote healthy blood pressure by adding more onions to your diet.
Orange Juice Drinking a glass of any type of orange juice twice a day significantly reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. It improves blood vessel function, a measure of elasticity of the blood vessels.
Potassium Supplementation of this may be especially beneficial for hypertensives over the age of 65. "The elderly often do not fully respond to blood pressure - lowering drugs, which makes the use of potassium supplementation an exciting possibility." 
Source: Bananas, oranges, tangerines, beans, dried peas, potatoes and others.
Saffron Contains a blood-pressure-lowering chemical called crocetin. Some researchers speculate that the low rate of heart disease in Spain is due to the Spaniards' high consumption of saffron.
Vitamin C Supplementation has exerted a modest blood-pressure-lowering effect in people with mild hypertension.  One way vitamin C may support healthy blood pressure is by promoting the excretion of lead, which is linked to hypertension. Vitamin C also has shown that it reduces cholesterol (2,000 mg a day).
Valerian Valerian has been used as a medicinal anti-anxiety herb and sleep aid since the days of the Romans. The dried roots of the plant are used in teas, tinctures and in capsule/tablet forms. Promotes higher levels of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) in the body. GABA helps regulate blood pressure. In addition, valerian has sedative activity, which has a beneficial impact on blood pressure.

Chinese physicians have long used celery to dependably reduce blood pressure. Scientists have discovered exactly why it works so well. Celery contains a unique oil that relaxes the muscles that regulate blood pressure, improving flow, and lowering pressure. Just 4 stalks a day (or some celery juice) does the trick.

Deep breathing -- People who practice deep breathing for 15 minutes daily  -- inhaling through the nose for about 4 seconds ... holding it momentarily ... then exhaling through the mouth for four seconds may reduce their blood pressure.

Your Blood Pressure Measurement
Blood pressure is a measurement of the force applied to the walls of the arteries as the heart pumps blood through the body. The pressure is determined by the force and the amount of blood pumped and the size and flexibility of the arteries.

The top number, which is called the systolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart is forcing blood through them. The bottom number, called the diastolic pressure, shows the pressure in your arteries when your heart relaxes. The top number can be anywhere from 90 to 240 and the bottom number can be anywhere from 60 to 140. Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury, which is written down as: mmHg

Blood pressure is continually changing depending on activity, temperature, diet, emotional state, posture, physical state, and medication use.

Blood pressure typically is checked while the patient is seated. For the most  accurate reading, blood pressure should be tested in both arms, preferably while the patient is lying down. If blood pressure differs by 15% or more, between arms, there may be blockages in the large blood vessels.

Category Systolic Diastolic
High - stage 2 160 and up 100 and up
High - Stage 1 140 -159 90 - 99
Pre-hypertension 121 -139 81 - 89
Normal Less than 120 Less than 80

Pulse pressure may predict heart disease more accurately than systolic and diastolic readings. Pulse pressure is the numerical difference between systolic and diastolic pressure. Some researchers believe that pulse pressure is even more important than systolic pressure in determining long-term health risks.
A pulse pressure below 50 indicates that the arteries are elastic and healthy. But when arteries are stiff and inelastic, systolic pressure rises and diastolic pressure falls. This increases pulse pressure to 60 or greater.

For more information:
Blood Pressure Association

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