An overnight high blood pressure epidemic?Did 30 million people "catch" HBP overnight? Of course not—it's not contagious. So what happened? The medical community redefined HBP. You know the XX / YY metric—the top number is your systolic pressure—the maximum force your heart can exert when it pumps. The bottom number is when your heart relaxes between beats, your diastolic pressure. Since 1993, "high" has been defined as 140/90. The new measure is anything over 120/80.
Why the change in measuring HBP risk?A major study in 2015 found the risk of heart disease was significantly lower in people who aimed for a blood pressure high of 120 / 80. The data were persuasive enough that Canada and Australia also took that as their new "high." Most countries in Europe will do the same next year.
Does the new "high" blood pressure affect you?It depends on a number of variables, including your age. If you're under 65, let's look at how the new high of 120 affects where your own blood pressure level puts you, compared to when "normal" was 140/90:
|Blood Pressure Category||Systolic (top number)||and/or||Diastolyic (bottom number)|
|Hypertension Stage 1||130-139||or||80-89|
|Hypertension Stage 2||≥140||or||≥90|
HBP when you're over 65?For people over 65, however, the new "high" has been lowered from a systolic pressure (top number) of 150 to anything higher than 130. At that level, the new guidelines recommend medication for these older adults, pointing to research that's found a lower risk of serious HBP consequences—heart attack and stroke, for example—among those who hit and hold the 130 target. The exception: those with conditions that make Big Pharma's conventional meds too risky. That's an open invitation to put those diet and lifestyle improvements to work—pronto.
Control Blood Pressure Naturally, without DrugsI use a magic number to persuade my patients to get and keep their blood pressure healthy. It's 5. That's how many years longer you can live compared to people with high blood pressure. That's on average, so the healthier you are, the more years you get. If you have high blood pressure, you're at risk of dying from heart disease, stroke, or kidney failure. And if you have high blood pressure, Big Pharma probably has you in the palm of its greedy hand, with one or more of its
- Internal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Easy bruising
- Erectile dysfunction
Safe, natural alternatives
NattokinaseWhen you want a shot of the quirky and wonderful, you can often find it in Japan. Say hello to natto, a fermented soy dish that’s popular in Japan. The nutrient we’re interested in is called nattokinase, an enzyme extract from the natto. Nattokinase is a natural blood thinner and a safe, effective, way to help normalize blood pressure, with no side effects. Sure, you can just eat natto. But like many uber-healthy fermented foods, its taste, smell, and texture—sticky, gooey, creamy—don't make it an instant dining table hit. That said, it has plenty of fans online, who advise that it's a taste you can acquire. Not everyone likes beer or kale the first time, either. But you can also find it in a flavor- and odor-free supplement. And it’s probably worth your while. Because its talents include not just preventing clots, but also undoing them. At healthy levels, fibrinogen is a protein that helps create the healthy clotting we sometimes need to end bleeding as the result of an injury. But elevated fibrinogen levels increase the risk of high blood pressure, as well as diabetes, cancer, and blood clots—and it’s linked to a 700 percent increase in deaths from all causes! Nattokinase can help by spotting unhealthy clots in progress and dissolving them, and also by helping blood vessels stay smooth and flexible, another level of protection. In a Japanese study, volunteers with high blood pressure were given 30 grams of natto extract (equivalent to one serving of natto), orally for 4 consecutive days. Results?
- Systolic blood pressure decreased on average from 173.8 to 154.8
- Diastolic blood pressure decreased on average from 101.0 to 91.2.
Grape seed extractAfter their lovely juice has been extracted, grapes still have a lot to offer. Their skins and seeds are rich in:
- Vitamin E
- Linoleic acid, an essential fatty acid
- Flavonoids and other powerful, free-radical scavenging antioxidants
- 25 to 150 milligrams daily for general antioxidant support
- 150 to 300 milligrams daily for chronic venous insufficiency
- Grape seed extract can act as a mild blood thinner, so work with your doctor if you’re already taking blood thinners or are at risk for bleeding
- Don't confuse grape seed extract with grape seed oil—the oil contains an overload of omega-6 fatty acid, the kind we don't want
MagnesiumMagnesium is a frontline protector of your blood pressure and cardiac systems, regulating the enzymes that relax constricted blood vessels or prevent them from constricting in the first place. Who benefits from relaxed blood vessels? You do, because your heart doesn't have to work so hard to keep your circulation moving. Translation: low blood pressure. A substantial study of 34 separate studies of magnesium as a supplement resulted in the kind of conclusion that's music to everyone's ears:
L-arginineL-arginine, found in nuts, fish, red meat, soy, whole grains, beans, and dairy products shows clear signs that it relaxes and opens arteries, which helps lower blood pressure. Our bodies can usually make all the L-arginine we need from our food. That's prompted some experts to claim that taking a supplement is "rarely necessary, and may be of benefit only to people who have a deficiency." My take? Thanks to the Standard American Diet (SAD) of over-processed, toxin-ridden, artificial non-foods ... most people do, in fact, have a deficiency or deficiencies. If you're unsure of your l-arginine status, have your doctor check it, along with other essential nutrients you might lack in effective amounts (especially D3). If you do need to supplement, remember that the best way to increase your l-arginine levels is to take l-citruline, which your body converts efficiently to l-arginine.
WaterGood old water…our dear, life-sustaining, thirst-quenching, high blood pressure-reducing friend. HBP or not, drink a lot of it. Every day. Ten glasses sounds like a lot, but not when you sip all day. If you're healthy, it'll help you stay that way. If you're not, it'll help you get better.
Pink Himalayan saltThis exotic salt contains trace minerals that set it apart from ordinary salt, including heavy health hitters like potassium, magnesium, and calcium, which give the salt its light pink tint. It's also more "pure" than ordinary salt, without the chemical anti-caking agents we get in ordinary salt. Adding a pinch of pink salt to meals or drinks can help the body achieve optimal fluid balance, thus preventing dehydration.
CeleryCelery leaves have loads of vitamin A, and the stems are an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and C, with loads of potassium, folate, calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, sodium and plenty of essential amino acids. Celery contains an unusual organic sodium. And unlike the sodium that I always warn against, this particular form actually reduces blood pressure. A compound called phtalides helps relax the muscle around the arteries, dilating the vessels and allowing blood to flow normally. Best bet? Celery juice for a week, then stop for three weeks, then start over. It's as easy as pie to pile some celery into your diet—soups, salads, sauces, juice. Eat your fill—you can't overdose on healthy food.
Make your five-year planI hope this gives you some good news and good new options. But always remember what sets you on the best road toward healthy blood pressure—exercise, even a walk around the house or the neighborhood, and a healthy diet. If you're exercising and eating a fresh, local, organic, humanely raised diet, rich in healthy oils, fruits, veggies, beans, and leafy greens, light on red meat—you've got a head start. And don't think it will take five years to collect your health benefits. You can see those in a matter of weeks. Or, in the nattokinase study, days. If you're on Big Pharma meds, please work with your doctor to get a safer, natural blood pressure regimen. Increasingly, natural treatments help make powerful prescription meds more effective and more tolerable. Five or more additional years of good health, family, friends, and all of life's treasures are the richest of all rewards. Take good care.
- "Celery reduces hypertension, cleanses kidneys, relieves arthritis and gout pains!" Juicing for Health. Published November 17, 2017. Last accessed November 19, 2017.
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- Fidler, Julie. "Magnesium and Blood Pressure—What You Need To Know" Natural Society. Published July 28, 2016. Last accessed April 2, 2017.
- Sheps, Sheldon. "Can L-arginine supplements lower blood pressure?" MayoClinic. Published NA. Last accessed April 2, 2017.
- Gunnars, Kris "Grape Seed Oil—A “Health Food” That is Not Healthy at All" Authority Nutrition. Published NA. Last accessed April 2, 2017.
- Nordqvist, Joseph. "Grape Seed Extract: How Healthful Is It?" Medical News Today. Updated September 6, 2016. Last accessed April 2, 2017.
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