10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines

What to do when your blood pressure simply won’t go down

Researchers have identified a condition called Resistant Hypertension – high blood pressure that simply doesn’t respond to medical treatment – even when a combination of drugs is used.

But a recent study from Johns Hopkins University in America shows that Resistant Hypertension can be lowered.

That’s good news when more than half the people over the age of 50 have elevated blood pressure (BP).  Unfortunately most don’t realise they have the condition, which is why it’s called

‘The silent killer’  

The health threat is obvious when a recent editorial in the Lancet calculated the risk of becoming hypertensive is greater than 90 percent for indi­viduals in developed countries!

So, if you have struggled for years to get your blood pressure under control – or are over 50 – you are wise to follow this proven way to lower BP.

Especially when a 2018 report from the National Institute of Health and Medical Research in Paris, shows that high blood pressure at 50 raises the risk of dementia in later life. ‘High’ being defined as a systolic blood pressure of 140. 

The report in the European Heart Journal explained that high blood pressure has been linked to silent mini-strokes in the brain, damage to the brain’s white matter, and restricted blood supply to the brain.

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

A 10-point plan to reduce BP naturally

Following this 10 point plan will improve your health and normalise your blood pressure, without potentially dangerous drugs – whether you are aiming to reduce your Systolic Blood Pressure to below 140 or 120.

1. Eat a DASH diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension)

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

The eating plan known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Research shows it can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg.

The DASH diet is also an anti-inflammatory diet which will not only lower blood pressure but defend you against a range of illnesses. See this link: https://nutrishield.com/the-science/anti-inflammatory/.

Reducing inflammation reduces hypertension. Inflammation is linked to the build-up of cholesterol on arterial walls, which narrows and restricts the blood vessels, which means that the heart has to pump harder, which increases blood pressure.

2. Reduce sugar and other carbohydrates

Insulin plays an important role in high blood pressure, as many people with hypertension have insulin resistance.

Eating sug­ars and excess carbohydrates – including bread, pasta, potatoes, or rice which are metabolised as sugars – will cause your insulin levels to remain elevated, leading to increased insulin resistance. To compensate, your body generates yet more insulin. It’s a vicious circle.

Insulin encourages the uptake of magnesium, but if your body’s insulin receptors are compromised and your cells grow resistant to insulin, you will not store magnesium effectively. That’s a problem because magnesium relaxes muscles, especially those in your arterial network. If your magnesium level is too low, your blood vessels will tend to constrict rather than relax, which will raise your blood pressure.

Insulin further affects your blood pressure by encouraging your body to retain sodium. Sodium retention causes fluid retention – which in turn causes high blood pressure.

3. Increase your Omega 3 intake

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Rollmop and caper bruschetta from the Health Defence Cookbook

We in the West are getting too much omega-6 in our diets and far too little omega-3. Omega 6 fatty acids – found in polyunsaturated plant oils like safflower, sunflower and corn oil – are used by the body to produce hormones that promote inflammation.

Omega 3 fatty acids (from oily fish) have the opposite effect – they are used to produce hormones that reduce inflammation – which as we’ve seen helps reduce blood pressure. Omega-3 fats have another benefit – they help to re-sensitize your insulin receptors if you suffer from insulin resistance.

Omega-3 fats are typically found in flaxseed oil, walnut oil and fish, with fish being easily the best source.

4. Lose excess pounds and watch waistline measurements

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure, because blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure by up to 5 points.

Belly fat is especially dangerous and in general:

  • Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 cm).
  • Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 cm)

5. Less sodium and more potassium

Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by between 2 to 8 mm Hg. In fact only small amounts of sodium occur naturally in foods – most sodium is added during processing. So eat fewer processed foods.

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium

In cooking, add less standard table salt; replace with low-sodium, high-potassium salts or other herbs and spices.

Add extra potassium to your diet which can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. Good sources of potassium are bananas, avocadoes, spinach and sweet potatoes.

6. Reduce your stress

Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure. It’s not stressful events themselves that are harmful, but your feelings of inability to cope. Studies show that people with heart disease can lower their risk of subsequent cardiac problems by over 70 percent simply by learning to manage their stress.

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

So make time for this simple but effective de-stressing deep breathing exercise which can be done anywhere, and takes a short time but brings immediate results. Click to go to Instant Relaxation exercise.

You might also want to listen to some classical music. A study at the University of Florence showed that listening for 30 minutes a day for 30 days while breathing calmly, could ‘significantly’ reduce blood pressure.

7. Be physically active regularly

Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes on most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by an average of  7 mm Hg.

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure as it helps to reduce insulin sensitivity.

You should try to exercise to an intense level. ‘Intense’ means exerting yourself sufficiently that you are out of breath and can’t com­fortably talk to someone during your workout. Fast walking while swinging your arms is a simple way to ‘intensify’ your exercise.

8. Moderate alcohol

In small amounts, a drink can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg.

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

But that protective effect vanishes if you drink too much alcohol. The limit is generally one drink a day for women (and men over age 65), or two a day for men under 65. One drink equals 150ml (5 fl oz) of wine.

Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

Does coffee increase blood pressure? The evidence is that it may increase your BP levels short term, possibly by blocking a hormone that dilates your arteries. Drink more decaf and try hibiscus tea which has been shown to help lower BP.

9. Ensure an optimum level of vitamin D

Research shows that blood pressure is typi­cally higher in winter months than during the summer!

10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

That’s because sun exposure enable your body to produce vitamin D. Lack of sunlight re­duces your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to insulin resistance and Metabolic Syndrome, a constellation of health problems that include elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Unfortunately there is abundant evidence that almost all of us in the West are well below optimum vitamin D levels – and would benefit from a vitamin D supplement in the winter. See https://nutrishield.com/category/vitamins/vitamin-d/

10. Take a well-designed daily health supplement

No one vitamin or nutrient will make a lot of difference on its own. It is a combination that can make a real difference to blood pressure levels – and health generally.

Studies indicate that vitamins C and E can be helpful in lowering blood pressure, as can calcium and magnesium.

The optimum level of vitamin C is 500mg a day – at which level there are other benefits too – including a reduction in cataract risk. Vitamin C has been shown to increase the body’s production of nitric oxide which helps keep blood vessels dilated.

The optimum level for vitamin E is 70mg a day, ideally including all the tocopherols (d-alpha, d-beta, d-gamma and d-delta) – the “family” of vitamin E compounds that are more effective than simple d-alpha vitamin E.

Omega 3 fish oil should be included at a level of 1,000mg a day. To get that level you would need to eat oily fish 3 times a week, so a supplement is wise for most people.

To which nutrients add the powerful anti-oxidant CoQ10 which, along with vitamin B6, helps dilate blood vessels. The University of Maryland examined several studies and found that supplementing with CoQ10 over 4-12 weeks could deliver a remarkable 17 point drop in systolic levels and 10 points in diastolic.

Folic acid and the lesser known nutrient betaine are also important. They reduce the level of a blood protein called homocysteine. Homocysteine makes arteries less flexible and stiff – restricting blood flow and increasing blood pressure.

Finally polyphenols – the protective compounds in fruits and vegetables and in green tea – have a role to play in reducing inflammation and hence indirectly, blood pressure.

There is a supplement that includes all these nutrients and more. It was formulated by the former Chair of the Forum on Food and Health at the Royal Society of Medicine. It’s called NutriShield Premiumwww.nutrishield.com.


When a natural approach to preventing disease is available, it is a better choice than drugs. In the case of high blood pressure, the above 10 point plan is such a choice.


10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

This article was written by Colin Rose, a Senior Associate Member of the Royal Society of Medicine, who has been writing on science for 40 years.


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10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals
Register now for a free monthly e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.


10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive health supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Dr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from booksellers.

Read it here online or see the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.


10 ways to lower blood pressure naturally to meet new guidelines NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet.


References:

Ann Intern Med, Published online January 17, 2017. Guidelines.

A Randomized Trial of Intensive versus Standard Blood-Pressure Control N Engl J Med 2015; 373:2103-2116 November 26, 2015 DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1511939

Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) Trial: Design and Methods John B. Buse, MD, PhD The American Journal of Cardiology Volume 99, Issue 12, Supplement, 18 June 2007, Pages S21–S3

https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dash
http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/coenzyme-q10
http://www.reuters.com/article/us-listening-music-idUSCOL65690420080516

Intracellular magnesium and insulin resistance. Takaya J1, Higashino H, Kobayashi Y. Magnes Res. 2004 Jun;17(2):126-36.


Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure

Why NO is a big YES

NONitric Oxide – is a vital chemical messenger which relaxes otherwise constricted and stiff blood vessels, increasing both oxygen and blood flow. So it’s vital for reducing blood pressure and therefore heart health.

Improved blood and oxygen flow is also critical for better brain function as the brain uses 20% of our oxygen intake.

It’s also a way to help in cases of ED – erectile dysfunction. Drugs like sildenafil work in exactly this way – boosting nitric oxide signalling, relaxing arteries and increasing blood flow. And adequate Nitric Oxide is equally important for women, because unhindered blood flow helps sexual arousal in both men and women.

The inside of the arteries produces NO

The interior surface of your arteries is called the endothelium and it produces nitric oxide. When oxidised cholesterol (plaque) builds up there – the condition known as atherosclerosis – you reduce your capacity to produce nitric oxide and your arteries then become rigid, making blood flow more difficult. Your blood pressure rises and that significantly increases your risk of a heart attack, stroke or sexual dysfunction.

Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Preventing this chain of events is why physicians prescribe nitroglycerin for heart and stroke patients. But beetroot has a similar effect!

The free radical connection

The normal action of Nitric Oxide is impaired by excess free radicals.

Some free radical action is a normal part of metabolism – when food molecules are broken down in the presence of oxygen to create energy.

But there are occasions when oxygen in the body splits into single atoms with unpaired electrons. Electrons need to be in pairs, so these atoms, now called free radicals, scavenge the body to seek out other electrons so they can become a pair. This causes damage to cells, proteins and DNA.

As a consequence, free radical damage is linked to cancer, atherosclerosis, macular degeneration, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and to ageing generally. Indeed, ageing has been defined as a gradual accumulation of free-radical damage.

Free radicals – and what is called oxidative stress – can be created when we consume high-temperature fried foods and alcohol, when we exercise to excess, or when we are exposed to tobacco smoke, residual pesticides and air pollutants.

A natural solution – anti-oxidants in food

Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

If oxidative stress is the enemy of Nitric Oxide, anti-oxidants are the solution. You need to bathe your blood stream in anti-oxidants to neutralise excess free radicals.  This ensures that your endothelial cells can produce the Nitric Oxide that will, in turn, keep your arteries supple and your blood pressure normal.

You do that with anti-oxidant-rich foods like berry fruits, kale, broccoli and spinach, and nitrate-rich foods like beetroot and leafy green vegetables.

The nitrate in these plants is converted into nitric oxide in the body. Indeed researchers were able to show that drinking 250ml beetroot juice could drop blood pressure in a group of normal BP people by 10 points in just two hours.

Top nitrate foods include:
  • RockeNitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Mineralst
  • Rhubarb
  • Lettuce
  • Coriander
  • Beetroot and beetroot greens
  • Spring greens
  • Basil
  • Chard
  • Whole grains

This suggests that a regular mixed salad with rocket, lettuce, coriander, basil and beetroot can be a top blood pressure lowering dish.

Nitrates for boosting athletic performance?

It also suggests that nitrate-rich foods might boost athletic performance. And this seems to be true. A study (referenced below) where cyclists were given beetroot juice before training showed that their energy production became 11% more efficient. For a top athlete that is a huge competitive advantage.

But since it’s an all-natural intervention, don’t expect newspaper headlines along the lines of: ‘Beetroot Doping Scandal Hits Tour de France!!’

Protect your NO

Eating nitrate-rich foods is one important way to lower blood pressure. Another way is to increase your consumption of foods containing the amino acid L-arginine, which can be found in nuts, fruits and dairy.

Nitric oxide only lasts a short time in the body, so the more antioxidant protection we provide it, the longer the effects will last. In fact, surgeons are even coating stents (the mesh tubes that prop open arteries after surgery) with drugs that produce nitric oxide.

You can protect your nitric oxide by consuming anti-oxidant rich foods as outlined above, and by supplementing with anti-oxidant nutrients including vitamins C and E, beta carotene, Co-Q10, lycopene, lutein and selenium.

Exercise for increased NO

When you exercise, your muscles need more oxygen, which is supplied by the blood. As the heart pumps, the lining of the arteries releases nitric oxide into the blood, which relaxes and widens the vessel wall, allowing for more blood to pass through.

Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsAs we get older, however, our blood vessels and nitric oxide system become less efficient due to free radical damage, causing our veins and arteries to become less elastic. So maintaining activity and exercise is important for Nitric Oxide health.

There’s a final heart/brain benefit to nitric oxide: in addition to relaxing or vasodilating blood vessels, nitric oxide also displays anti-platelet properties, which helps to prevent inappropriate blood clotting.

 


If you enjoyed this article, please share it with family and friends. You can follow us on Facebook or Twitter for daily headline health tweets.

Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsNitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsNitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals

Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsAnd register now for a free monthly e-newsletter on the latest in nutrition and health research.


Dr Paul Clayton designed NutriShield as a comprehensive healthNitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals supplement with OPTIMUM levels of essential nutrients. See more detail elsewhere on this site or click on the button.


Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and MineralsDr Paul Clayton’s best-selling book Health Defence is available from most good bookstores.

See the website www.healthdefence.com for excerpts and links to buy direct from the publisher.


See online here for delicious recipes from the Health Defence Cookbook incorporating healthy foods featuring in a Mediterranean Diet. Nitrate-rich foods reduce blood pressure NutriShield Multi Vitamins and Minerals


REFERENCES

Beetroot juice and exercise: pharmacodynamic and dose-response relationships. Wylie LJ, Kelly J, Bailey SJ, Blackwell JR, Skiba PF, Winyard PG, Jeukendrup AE, Vanhatalo A, Jones AM. J Appl Physiol (1985). 2013 Aug 1;115(3):325-36. doi: 10.1152/japplphysiol.00372.2013. Epub 2013 May 2.

Nitric Oxide: a molecule of the millennium. Shinde UA, Mehta AA, Goyal RK. Indian J Exp Biol 2000 Mar;38(3):201-10.

Discovery concerning nitric oxide as a signaling molecule in the cardiovascular system. Furchgott RF, Ignarro LJ, Murad F. Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology 1998.

In vitro effects of a novel class of nitric oxide (NO) donating compounds on isolated human erectile tissue. Seidler M, Uckert S, Waldkirch E, Stief CG, Oelke M, Tsikas D, Sohn M, Jonas U. Eur Urol. 2002 Nov;42(5):523-8

Age-related reduction of NO availability and oxidative stress in humans. Taddei S, Virdis A, Ghiadoni L, Salvetti G, Bernini G, Magagna A, Salvetti A. Hypertension. 2001 Aug;38(2):274-9.

Arginine Metabolism: nitric oxide and beyond. Guoyao WU, Morris SM. Biochem J 1998; 336:1-17

Antioxidants and the bioactivity of endothelium-derived nitric oxide. Tomasian D, Keaney JF, Vita JA. Cardiovasc Res. 2000 Aug 18;47(3):426-35.

Free radicals, antioxidants and functional foods: Impact on human health. V Lobo, A Patil, A Phatak, N Chandra. Pharmacogn Rev. 2010 Jul-Dec; 4(8): 118–126. doi:  10.4103/0973-7847.70902