Here are 12 proven ways to reduce your diastolic and systolic blood pressure without resorting to drugs; you can start today; over a third of adults in the Western world have high blood pressure and risk many illnesses like heart attack, kidney failure and stroke as a result.
- Do not smoke – there’s clear research showing this puts up blood pressure
- Don’t be overweight – research shows that a controlled weight-loss programme reduces blood pressure. Your waistline size is also linked directly to blood pressure!
Take aerobic exercise – run, walk, jog, swim. Regular exercise for 45-60 minutes 3-4 times per week, where you get out of breath for at least 20 is what’s required.
Avoid Stress – Stress has a devastating effect on blood pressure. Pinpoint your stress triggers, and try to cut those people and things out of your life. Make time to relax and calm down. Watch funny films, listen to calm music, pray, meditate, try yoga or a sauna, take ashwagandha. Plan your weeks better, include times when you work, times when you relax, times when you are enjoying other interests. Cultivate a regular sleeping regime.
Eat a Rainbow Diet – in research, women who stuck most closely to the Rainbow Diet over a 15 year period, avoided 11 chronic illnesses that beset the Western World – one being high blood pressure. A low carb diet reduces diastolic Blood Pressure by 4.5 mm Hg and systolic by 5.9 mm HG; whereas a low fat diet only reduces blood pressure by 0.4 and 1.5 respectively, even when taking medicines! Dark chocolate is helpful, as is ginger, green tea, celery juice, cooked tomatoes and sesame seeds and oil.
Avoid salt – higher sodium levels in the body are linked to higher blood pressure. You should cut foods such as Chinese meals, sausages, bacon, dried meats, salted nuts and crisps. You should focus on the potassium-rich foods of the Rainbow Diet (fish, green leafy vegetables, avocado, banana, spinach, sweet potato, apricots, pomegranate, mushrooms) and magnesium-rich foods (almonds, figs, spinach, dark chocolate, pumpkin seeds). Eat fresh, not processed or packaged foods.
Moderate drinking – while a glass of red wine appears beneficial in lowering blood pressure, a bottle a day most definitely increases blood pressure levels.
Eat more, more colourful vegetables – Glutathione in vegetables and fruits reduces blood pressure; Beetroot, for example, has been shown to reduce blood pressure levels by 5 points, as it contains nitrate which converts to nitric oxide, which dilates arteries. Watermelon contains citrulline and does the same; arginine is found in pumpkin seeds, nuts and pulses and reduces blood pressure. Other nitrate containing foods include green leafy vegetables, celery, fennel and broccoli.
Eat more soluble fibre foods – oats, barley, nuts, seeds and legumes (pulses) are the favourite foods of good gut bacteria and their consumption is linked to increased levels of friendly bacteria and lowered blood sugar, lowered oestrogen levels and lowered blood pressure.
Eat more Mediterranean foods – Extra Virgin Olive Oil, oily fish, pomegranate, garlic, onions – all these have proven benefits in reducing blood pressure. Mediterranean foods like greens, apricots, nuts and seeds, pulses and herbs like sage and basil are high in magnesium, and low magnesium is linked to higher blood pressure. Alcohol consumption lowers magnesium levels. A real coffee (like Italian expresso) is actually good for you, although the caffeine does cause a short-term spike in blood pressure.
Enjoy sunshine – We all know you increase blood levels of vitamin D if you lie in the sunshine. But did you know our levels of serotonin increase and that generates happy hormones, cutting stress, and also sunshine increase nitric oxide levels reducing blood pressure.
Cut calcium intake – several studies from BIOMED and the Karolinska have confirmed that there is a direct link between high calcium and heart disease risk. Calcium build up lines the arteries and restricts blood flow. A coronary artery calcium scan is even used to accurately predict heart attack risk. Cut all dairy and calcium supplements.
Of course, you could always supplement – fish oils, Coenzyme Q10 and magnesium seem the top three, although nattokinase has its fans.
Go to books: Rainbow Diet book; Heal your Gut Book