You probably know that high blood pressure can lead to serious heart trouble. But did you know that 1/3 of American adults have high blood pressure? And that many of them don’t even know it? That means there’s a 1 in 3 chance your blood pressure is too high.
High blood pressure is an expensive problem, too. The Centers for Disease Control estimates high blood pressure cost Americans $76.6 billion in 2010.
Other than drugs, “diet and exercise” is the most common advice for lowering blood pressure. And it’s very effective. But there are some other – easier – ways to promote healthy blood pressure. You can use these simple tricks to help you reach your goals sooner.
Garlic is probably the best-known herb to promote healthy blood pressure. And it’s been proven in scores of studies.
A couple of years ago, researchers from the University of Adelaide searched through 62 years of garlic studies. They reviewed studies that looked strictly at garlic and that had good controls in place. Their conclusion? Garlic is effective in promoting healthy blood pressure.(1)
I love roasted garlic, but you may be concerned about garlic’s odor. If so, your local health food store should carry “deodorized” garlic in capsules.
As long as we’re in the spice rack, cinnamon is another good choice for healthy blood pressure. An Ohio study found cinnamon promotes healthy blood sugar levels and better body composition, too.(2)
Cinnamon is delicious in applesauce or sprinkled on winter squash. And here’s a good reason to eat that squash… It’s high in carotenes, which also support healthy blood pressure.
Scientists at the University of Minnesota looked at people’s blood pressure over the long term. They found that people with higher levels of carotenes – plant pigments related to vitamin A – were less likely to develop blood pressure problems.(3)
Carrots, tomatoes, green beans and Swiss chard are other good sources of carotenes. To get the most benefit, eat them raw or steamed.
And you may want to have a little tuna, lean beef or chicken with those veggies. All 3 are excellent sources of selenium. A study of Finnish men found that those with higher selenium levels tended to have healthier blood pressure, too.(4)
Nutrients aren’t the only way to promote healthier blood pressure, either. Korean researchers discovered a novel trick that seems to work very well.
At Geochang Provincial College, researchers discovered that aromatherapy can help. They exposed a group of people with high blood pressure to a mixture of lavender, ylang ylang and bergamot oil (the oil used to flavor Earl Grey tea). After 4 weeks, the subjects were more relaxed and had lower blood pressure readings.(5)
German scientists recently discovered another trick you may enjoy. Chocolate appears to promote healthier blood pressure.
The scientists followed 357 people for 8 years. They discovered that eating a little chocolate may help support healthy blood pressure. Just a quarter-ounce per day, on average, had a moderate effect on blood pressure levels. The results also suggest that chocolate may help lower your risk of heart trouble overall.(6)
An ounce of dark chocolate a few days a week may feel like an indulgence. But if you choose a chocolate with at least 60% cocoa, it can be healthy, too. Look for organic chocolate, and a product that hasn’t been processed with alkali.
1 Ried, K., “Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis,” BMC Cardiovasc Disord. Jun 16, 2008;8:13.
2 Ziegenfuss, T.N., “Effects of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on body composition and features of the metabolic syndrome in pre-diabetic men and women,” J Int Soc Sports Nutr. Dec 28, 2006;3:45-53.
3 Hozawa, A., et al, “Circulating carotenoid concentrations and incident hypertension: the Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study,” J Hypertens. Feb 2009;27(2):237-42.
4 Salonen, J.T., et al, “Blood pressure, dietary fats, and antioxidants,” American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 1988;48:1226-1232.
5 Hwang, J.H., “The effects of the inhalation method using essential oils on blood pressure and stress responses of clients with essential hypertension,” Taehan Kanho Hakhoe Chi. Dec 2006;36(7):1123-34.
6 Buijsse, B., et al, “Chocolate consumption in relation to blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular disease in German adults,” Eur Heart J. 2010;doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehq068.
Dr. Woliner is a board certified medical physician and modern day pioneer in the world of alternative men’s health and nutritional science. Using a unique combination of modern “Western” medicine and traditional holistic healing practices, Dr.Woliner has revolutionized men’s health care treatments for many of today’s most common male health concerns – specializing in alternative treatments for Prostate enlargement (BPH) and a myriad of erectile concerns and men’s sexual health issues.
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