If you’ve ever tried to lower your blood pressure without drugs before, you sure don’t need me to tell you how tough it can be. Getting those numbers to cooperate can be like herding cats. Talk about frustrating.
But here’s the thing, no matter if you’re trying to lower your BP a moderate or a massive amount, chances are you’ve been approaching it the wrong way. Because you’ve likely been focusing on single approach solutions, when the name of the game is team effort.
The good news is there are some ways to nudge your high blood pressure back into the normal zone without resorting to heavy duty drugs. Following are three natural remedies that have been proven to help reduce high blood pressure.
Each can have an effect on its own, but by combining two or all three you may be able to reap even bigger benefits. Just be sure to check in with your doc before trying them and keep an eye on your BP so you don’t end up accidently pushing your numbers too low.
You’re never going to be given a more delicious “prescription” than this one. Eat more garlic. LOTS more. Mix it into your favorite dishes from salad dressings to stews.
Garlic has been shown to effectively lower blood pressure, in some cases even as well as drugs. When a daily dose of 600 mg of garlic was given to a group of guys suffering from mild to moderate hypertension, their systolic blood pressure plummeted by 7.0 mm Hg and their diastolic dropped by 3.8 on average, according to a study published in the journal Hypertension Research.1
Whenever possible leave the garlic out until your almost done cooking. The allicin in garlic is the active ingredient behind its blood thinning and blood pressure lowering benefits. But cooking destroys some of the compound.
LDL cholesterol isn’t the villain that it’s been cast as. In fact it’s not really technically cholesterol at all. LDL is a carrier protein whose job is to distribute life sustaining cholesterol to all the cells in your body.
But when free radicals cause LDL to oxidize it leads to inflammation, tissue damage and hardening of your arteries as your body desperately works to repair the damage. The result is less elastic arteries and climbing blood pressure.
That’s where vitamin C comes in. C is a powerful antioxidant which can help keep LDL from oxidizing and leading to further plaque buildup in your arteries.2,3 Over 12 weeks a daily dose of just 500 mg of vitamin C significantly reduced oxidized LDL in a group of men who were at risk for heart disease, according to a study published in the Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Science.4
You can raise your levels of vitamin C by eating more bell peppers, dark leafy greens, kiwi, broccoli, strawberries, mango and citrus fruits. You can also take a supplement.
For even more protection against oxidized LDL consider adding vitamin E and beta carotene into the mix too. In the same study 400 IU of vitamin E and 15 mg of beta carotene helped significantly reduce LDL as well.
Magnesium is a natural muscle relaxer and since your arteries are surrounded by smooth muscle when they’re relaxed blood flow improves and blood pressure drops. Low levels of magnesium are associated with elevated blood pressure.5
The trouble is magnesium deficiencies are quite common. In fact, at least 50 percent of Americans are low on the mineral, according to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. And two thirds of seniors 71 and over aren’t getting enough of the critical nutrient.6
If your levels are low, raising them can improve blood flow and lower your BP.7 Folks taking 268 milligrams of magnesium for three months saw their systolic blood pressure sink 2.00 mm HG and their diastolic drop 1.78 mm Hg, according to research published in the journal Hypertension.8
You can raise your magnesium levels by eating more whole grains, nuts, beans and green leafy vegetables or by taking a supplement.
Lots of different factors can play a part in driving blood pressure up. But the truth is, for most of us living with hypertension there are three big factors that almost always play a role: age, weight and lack of exercise.
And while you can’t do a thing about your age, you can commit to eating better and getting up and moving more. We recommend cutting back on carbs and slashing added sugars from your diet. And don’t worry, you don’t need to spend hours at the gym every day. Try a half an hour walk at lunch or give one of these two minute workouts a try.
Combine healthier eating and being more active with one, or all three, of these natural hypertension fighters and before you know it your high blood pressure may be nothing more than a distant memory.
1. “Time-released garlic powder tablets lower systolic and diastolic blood pressure in men with mild and moderate arterial hypertension,” Hypertension Research (2009) 32, 433–437
2. “Vitamin C Inhibits Lipid Oxidation in Human HDL,”Nutr. October 1, 2003, vol. 133 no. 10 3047-3051
3. “Vitamin C supplementation lowers serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol and triglycerides: a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials,” J Chiropr Med. 2008 Jun; 7(2): 48–58
4. “Effect of Vitamin Supplementation on Serum Oxidized Low-Density Lipoprotein Levels in Male Subjects with Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factors,” Iran J Basic Med Sciv.15(4); Jul-Aug 2012
5.”Association of Magnesium Intake with High Blood Pressure in Korean Adults: Korea National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2007–2009,” PLOS One, Published: June 15, 2015
6. “2005-2006 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES),” U.S. Department of Agricultural Research Service, Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center
7. “Effect of magnesium supplementation on blood pressure: a meta-analysis,” European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2012) 66, 411–418
8. “Effects of Magnesium Supplementation on Blood Pressure A Meta-Analysis of Randomized Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Trials,” Hypertension, 2016;68:00-00
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