High blood pressure, aka hypertension, is extremely common in the United States. In fact, raw stats show that over 73.6 million Americans suffer from high blood pressure. Hypertension is known as the “silent killer” because there are no noticeable symptoms and yet is one of the greatest risk factors for both heart attacks and strokes.
The fact is that nearly 1/3 of our population have high blood pressure!
The common medical response to hypertension is to prescribe drugs that can help lower the blood pressure to the normal range. The problem with this approach is that 80% of the time, high blood pressure is mild enough that it can be brought down to a normal range using natural and drug-free methods. ((Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine pg. 524)) And since blood pressure lowering drugs have some very serious and ugly side effects such as headaches, dizziness, impotence, kidney damage, anemia, and depression here are 7 powerful remedies for lowering blood pressure, naturally!
1. Lose Weight.
If you fit this category, chances are, you are tired of hearing this mantra but it could not be more vital to your health. Excess weight causes excess strain on the heart which raises blood pressure. Drop a few pounds, drop a few blood pressure points. Success!
2. Start Moving.
Another bit of advice that is frequently recommended and rarely followed. Exercise has so many health benefits that even if it doesn’t lower your blood pressure, it will improve countless other areas of your life. Get moving and start enjoying the virtues of a healthy life. ((Augmented blood pressure response to exercise is associated with improved long-term survival in older people. Heart. 2009 Jul;95(13):1072-8. Epub 2009 Mar 19.))
3. Balance Your Sodium/Potassium Ratio.
This is a natural intervention that can drastically reduce blood pressure. When potassium and sodium are in harmony, often blood pressure is as well. Although the ideal ratio of potassium to sodium is 5:1, most Americans have a potassium to sodium ratio of 1:2, which is totally backwards. Table salt and processed foods are the biggest culprits of sodium overload. Also, a lack of fruits and veggies contributes to our paltry potassium intake. Increasing fruits and veggies and putting the salt shaker back in the cupboard (and the processed foods back in the freezer at the grocery store) will greatly help to harmonize your potassium to sodium ratio. (For an excellent source of potassium, check out Capra Mineral Whey.)
4. Increase your Vitamin D
Vitamin D plays a large role in many metabolic processes and it has been hypothesized that vitamin D regulates blood pressure. In a previous post titled The Top 3 ways to defeat Vitamin D deficiency, it was discussed that a recent study showed more and more Americans were vitamin D deficient. With this in mind, there is more reason than ever to get out in the sunshine! Or, if you live in a cave, Alaska, or refuse to go outside, you can get Vitamin D in pill. Just make sure that you are taking vitamin D3 as this is the form of vitamin D that is easiest to absorb. ((Vitamin D status and arterial hypertension: a systematic review. Nat Rev Cardiol. 2009 Aug 18.))
5. Boost your Vitamin C intake.
Another hypertension recommendation with some loose ends to tie. Although several studies have shown a drop in BP when vitamin C was supplemented, ((J.A. Simon, “Vitamin C and Cardiovascular Disease: A Review,” J Am Coll Nutr 11)) why this happens is still unknown. More research in this area will likely uncover new findings as to why it is effective at lowering blood pressure. A high-quality Vitamin C supplement is safe to take and has other benefits than just a reduction in BP.
6. Increase Co-Enzyme Q10.
Co-Q10 is also known as ubiquinone and plays a vital role in the energy production cells known as mitochondria. Co-Q10 is an antioxidant and has been shown to cause up to a 10% reduction in BP. ((P. Langsjoen, Treatment of Essential Hypertension with Co-Q10. Mol Aspects Med 15))
Co-Q10 is a safe supplement but usually takes around 4–12 weeks to see results. The patients in the cited study were given 225 mg each day and we’re consistent in taking the supplement each day. So be patient and don’t forget!
Finally, let’s face it, most of us are stressed out about something. Stress is just part of life right? Well, whereas stress does more than put us in bad moods, it releases cortisol which can cause weight gain, immune suppression, and even (surprise) high blood pressure. Relaxation including deep breathing can have a seriously good effect on our blood pressure and make us feel better too!
So if you happen to be one of the 72 million Americans struggling with high blood pressure, consider these natural ways to lower your blood pressure before you travel down the road of conventional drug therapy.
Here’s to your health!