From arterial hypertension, millions of people suffer. Review the list of products that reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Author: Joey Leach, Ph.D., a certified nutritionist
Elevated blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is an elusive and invisible killer, the victims of which each year are millions of people. For many years and even decades you can not notice any symptoms, and all this time there is a destruction of the cardiovascular system. As a result, one day, during training or during rest, it will happen – a heart attack or a stroke that will break or forever change your life.
Arterial hypertension is a very common chronic disease in adults associated with increased blood pressure. It is worth the blood pressure to rise, and it is very difficult to return to normal numbers. Most people need more rest and sleep, regular exercise, daily medication and, most difficult, changing eating habits. And, you know, what is the catch? Stress because of all this only aggravates the situation. Meanwhile, the normalization of blood pressure – one of the most important steps, if not the most important, to improve health and increase life expectancy.
Fortunately, there is an alternative to a handful of tablets: many products can reduce blood pressure naturally. Scientists have proved that one does not always have to limit oneself. You can benefit greatly from the inclusion of the following foods in the diet.
Nitrates and nitrites are chemical compounds that play a very important role in the metabolic system. The mechanism of action of nitrates may seem confusing at first, but if you have problems with pressure, it's definitely worth taking a look at all this.
Many people think that nitrates and nitrites are artificial chemistry, but it is not. They are often added to foods as preservatives, but they are also produced in your body. Nitrates and nitrites can be converted into two types of compounds, between which there is a huge difference: nitrosamines (very bad) and nitric oxide (very good).
Nitrosamines are formed from nitrites under the influence of extremely high temperatures. Imagine frying nitrite in the pan with bacon, stuffed with preservatives, or burning nitrites in cigarettes. In all these cases, the risk of developing cancerous tumors increases.
Quite another matter is nitrogen oxide (NO). It is a molecule-regulator, which is very useful for health. It sends signals to the cells in the walls of the arteries and tells them that you can relax. A consequence of this is a significant vasodilation, which leads to a decrease in blood pressure.
That's why nitrate-rich foods that are not exposed to very high temperatures are healthy. They can be converted to nitric oxide. Unfortunately, very few people understand that vegetables are the main sources of nitrates in our diet.
Beets will be the best choice. In their research, scientists focused mainly on the use of beet juice. In the 2013 report, the results of 16 clinical studies on this topic were analyzed. It turned out that regular use of beet juice reduces blood pressure by 4-10 mm Hg. Art. in just a few hours. Note that the reduction in blood pressure even at 5 mm Hg. Art. reduces the risk of death from stroke by 14%, and the risk of cardiovascular disease – by 9%.
Do you know that at the dawn of history, garlic was not used for cooking? Since ancient times, garlic has been used mainly for medical purposes. This proves the legacy left by the great civilizations, in particular, ancient Egypt, Babylon, ancient Greece, the Roman Empire and China. The active component of garlic is an allicin – a sulfur-containing molecule, which is formed when you chop, squeeze or chew on garlic.
Several studies in humans have shown that the use of garlic leads to a significant reduction in blood pressure. The results of one of the scientific works were especially impressive. Scientists came to the conclusion that for 24 weeks garlic gives the same effect as prescription hypotensive drugs.
Given that, among other things, garlic at 10-15% lowers low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, it absolutely needs to be added to your diet, I'm sure of it. The results were obtained by using 600-1200 mg of garlic per day, which is equivalent to daily eating at least two denticles.
This remedy has one significant side effect: garlic breath!
Fish oil is useful in natural carboxylic acids, which are found in certain types of fish. These carboxylic acids – for example, omega-3 fats – are incredibly useful for cardiovascular health. Many studies in humans have proven that eating fish oil is an effective remedy for high blood pressure. However, this effect was observed only in people with arterial hypertension.
The mechanism of action is not entirely clear, but most experts believe that the whole thing is in the proportion of omega-6 and omega-3. In a nutshell, the more omega-3 in your diet (compared to omega-6), the better for the heart. It is proved that at a ratio of 1: 1, the blood vessels are much healthier and stronger.
For our ancestors this ratio, presumably, was somewhere between 1: 1 and 4: 1 (omega-6: omega-3). However, today due to the widespread use of vegetable oil in the usual Western diet, this proportion reaches 16: 1. In other words, for every 16 gram of omega-6 fats we consume only 1 gram of omega-3. Reducing the ratio at least to 4: 1 leads to a reduction in the risk of death from cardio-vascular events by 70%. The best way to do this is to get more omega-3 fats with fish oil, olive oil, walnuts and flax seeds. It is also advisable to limit the intake of other vegetable oils with high omega-6 fats.
Additives with fish oil are an effective and convenient alternative to oily fish. However, if the fish in your edges are abundant, 2-3 servings per week will be very useful for your heart.
Nuts that grow on trees, not to be confused with peanuts, which grows in the ground, have a beneficial effect on metabolic processes. Almonds and cashews stand apart, especially when it comes to such metabolic problems as high blood pressure.
Particularly useful is their high content of magnesium. Magnesium is an indispensable mineral that participates in more than 300 biochemical processes. The deficiency of magnesium in the diet is associated with problems with blood pressure directly. In numerous scientific papers it is proved that replenishment of magnesium deficiency leads to a sharp decrease in elevated blood pressure. By the way, about 68% of adult US residents suffer from a lack of magnesium.
Interestingly, in one study in people with 2 type of diabetes mellitus, blood pressure reduction was achieved only after the addition of vitamins C and E to magnesium. Diabetics should take this note if they decide to choose not whole foods but food additives.
The recommended daily dose of magnesium today is 310-420 milligram. One cup of almonds or cashews will give you 360 mg, and that's how much I recommend to my customers for maintaining an optimal balance.
Cabbage kale is a rare representative of the superfood category, which really deserves this title. Like spinach, it is loaded to the top with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and other chemical compounds that prevent the development of diseases.
Due to what kale reduces high blood pressure? It's all about a unique set of nutrients. In feces a lot of magnesium, potassium and vitamin C, and a potassium-enriched diet is inextricably linked with a decrease in blood pressure. This can be explained by the fact that the influence of magnesium on blood pressure increases with increasing potassium levels. In some cases, this tandem reduces pressure as effectively as medications.
Unfortunately, most people do not get enough potassium from their food. Our ancestors who hunted and hunted daily received with food about 10500 mg of potassium, while in our days we only get 2800 mg per day.
I prefer cabbage kale, because the vitamin C in it is 4 times more than in spinach! As in the case of potassium-magnesium interaction, vitamin C can increase the hypotensive effect of magnesium, and at the same time increase the level of potassium in the blood.
The trinity of nutrients from magnesium, potassium and vitamin C makes cabbage feces an unrivaled means for controlling blood pressure and minimizing the risk of developing diseases. If you have to choose only one green leafy vegetable, choose feces!
When refined sugar was recognized as harmful, alternative sugar substitutes have become incredibly popular. Stevia is one of the most common options. This is one of the few natural sweeteners that does not lead to a sharp rise in blood glucose and does not cause fear, unlike many artificial sweeteners on the market.
The sweet taste of stevia is associated with two active ingredients – stevioside and rebaudioside A.
In a one-year study on people with hypertension, the following results were obtained. In participants who were given 750 mg stevioside per day, systolic blood pressure decreased by 8,1% in three months, and diastolic pressure decreased by 13,8%. Impressive is that they were able to maintain this reduction in blood pressure over the next nine months.
In another experiment, high doses of stevioside (1500 mg per day) were used. As a result, after two years, blood pressure decreased by 6,5%.
In a number of scientific papers, it has not been possible to find any positive effect on health. I must say, these were short-term studies in which healthy people participated, and sweeteners, as a rule, use for a long time. If you plan to replace sugar or use another sweetener, stevia will be the best choice, especially for people with hypertension. Do not wait for immediate results, but in the long run it is safe and, perhaps, even useful.
Curcuma is a popular Indian condiment for curry. For centuries, the inhabitants of India used it not only for cooking, but also as a medicinal plant. Something they knew.
Curative properties of turmeric were recently proved by science, and they are very impressive. The main active ingredient of turmeric is curcumin, which has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect.
In one 32 experiment, women in post-menopause took 150 mg of curcumin for eight weeks. The result was an improvement in blood circulation to a level characteristic of people who exercise sports three times a week.
In another study in humans, 500 mg of turmeric was used three times a day (each dose contains 22,1 mg of curcumin). A significant reduction in blood pressure was observed in subjects with nephritis, or inflammatory kidney disease. In individuals with vascular pathology, in particular, in diabetics, the risk of developing such problems with the kidneys is increased.
It is believed that the beneficial effect of curcumin on blood circulation and blood pressure is associated with nitric oxide, as in the case with the beet mentioned at the very beginning. It is proved that against the background of taking curcumin only for 4 a week the level of circulating nitric oxide increases, and in some cases by 40%. The likely benefit for the cardiovascular system is too great to ignore, especially if you are in a high-risk group developing complications.
With curcumin, there is only one problem: people very badly absorb this substance. For any appreciable influence on health it is necessary to use curcumin together with catalysts of digestion like black pepper. Black pepper contains piperin – an alkaloid, which enhances the absorption of curcumin by a monstrous 2000%!
Add more pepper in curry based on turmeric. Or, if you decide to stay on food additives, drink them along with peas of black pepper.
Coming from China, green tea is charged with an array of powerful chemical compounds and antioxidants that you will not find in any other product.
The secret to the use of tea, especially green tea, is to be found in polyphenols. One of the polyphenols of green tea, known as catechin, has a beneficial effect on blood circulation and blood pressure. As in the case of beets and curcumin, the mechanism of action is presumably associated with nitric oxide.
A large-scale study on green tea confirmed that two cups per day (500 ml) can increase the diameter of the arteries to 40%. Just as wide pipes let in more water, wide and relaxed blood vessels increase blood flow and lower blood pressure. Not surprisingly, in avid lovers of green tea, the risk of cardiovascular disease is lower by 31%.
Coffee beans are naturally green, and only roasting gives them a brown color. In fact, green coffee is just another name for non-roasted coffee beans.
Although, after roasting in coffee beans, practically the same set of chemical compounds remains, thermal treatment destroys most of the chlorogenic acid. This active ingredient makes green coffee beans particularly useful, and it is this component of coffee beans that is used in food additives such as green coffee extract.
Perhaps the green coffee extract is not "a magic tool for losing weight," but it definitely improves blood circulation, at least in the short term.
In one 12-week study, 480 mg of green coffee extract was used (equivalent to 140 mg of chlorogenic acid). The scientists concluded that this reduces the heart rate and blood pressure by 8%. The positive effect persisted for all 12 weeks of supplementation, but only in people with initially high blood pressure. After stopping the intake of the additive, the effect was lost.
In theory, if you drink more green coffee, you will get the same effect as when taking the supplement, but this depends on the concentration of chlorogenic acid. In this study, doses equivalent to 120-300 mg of chlorogenic acid were used.
Try replacing the regular coffee with green and a month later check if it affects your blood pressure.
For decades, we were told that we need to remove all the fats from our diet. Unfortunately, these recommendations were based on erroneous scientific evidence.
In the context of the consumption of fats and blood pressure, fatty dairy products can be very useful, as they contain vitamin K2. Vitamin K2 is involved in the metabolism of calcium. It retains calcium in the bones and removes it from the blood vessels, where it can cause compaction and calcification of the arteries.
To date, there are no scientific papers in which the effect of vitamin K2 on blood pressure was assessed, but given the relationship of vitamin K2 to vascular health, it is logical to assume that it is positive. In the near future, an observational study will be published, which has become one of the largest in Europe. It showed that people who eat 8 portions of fatty dairy products daily, the risk of developing 2 type diabetes is lower by 23% than those who are restricted to one portion a day. Arterial pressure is a key prognostic sign of vascular pathology, heart diseases and 2 type diabetes.
Fatty organic dairy products are definitely the best source of vitamin K2. These include butter, cheese, fatty yogurt and ghee. The liver and other organs are also a good source, along with fermented products like sauerkraut, soy cheese and miso. If these products for some reason do not suit you, taking food supplements will be a worthy alternative, but for maximum effect they should be taken with vitamin D.
In my opinion, we should all increase the intake of vitamin K2 for the prevention of heart disease. This is especially true for those who are prone to calcium deposition in the arteries due to diabetes mellitus or a family predisposition to high cholesterol and arterial pressure.
Perhaps, olive oil can be called the most useful oil in the world. The basis of the Mediterranean diet is rich in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats and phenolic antioxidants. Extra-virgin olive oil contains the maximum number of useful components, because it is subjected to minimal processing.
The beneficial effect of olive oil on the cardiovascular system is for no one a secret. In one large-scale study, it was proven that it reduces the risk of heart attacks, stroke and death by an impressive 30%. Is it any wonder that olive oil is a fantastic product for lowering blood pressure.
In a study involving 23 a person with high blood pressure, olive oil at 48% more effectively lowered blood pressure than sunflower oil. Eight participants use of olive oil even allowed to reduce the need for antihypertensive drugs!
Of course, many other factors affect blood pressure. Among them, physical activity, good sleep, sun exposure, meditation and other ways to deal with stress. In the end, however, most of the roads return to the diet. What gets into your mouth becomes the most influential factor.
There are a lot of natural products that can help you lower your blood pressure – especially if it's hard for you to cope with the problem without the help of pharmaceuticals. The only question is which of them you decide to try.