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Healthy Heart

What’s the Big Deal about Blood Pressure?

BY PUREHEALTH RESEARCH | Sep 03, 2021

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Your heart pumps blood to circulate throughout your body to provide critical oxygen and nutrients to each cell. The force of the circulating blood on the walls of your arteries and blood vessels is called Blood Pressure.

Blood

When the blood pressure (force) is high, it brushes more roughly against the delicate arterial and blood vessel wall linings, tearing, gouging, and pitting them. This damage triggers inflammation (macrophage cells). It also changes the blood flow, creating little whirlpools where sticky cholesterol can clump up into clots.

The pits and grooves are perfect nooks and crannies where waxy cholesterol can stick, narrowing the arteries and driving up blood pressure.

The cholesterol then hardens, causing stiffening and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The cholesterol can also burst, causing a blood clot to form.

Clots can block vital blood from reaching the heart, causing a heart attack (myocardial infarction). This means the heart can’t get enough oxygen and nutrients and starves. This damages the heart muscle cells.1

Blood vessels

Blood vesselsThe cholesterol then hardens, causing stiffening and hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis). The cholesterol can also burst, causing a blood clot to form.

Clots can block vital blood from reaching the heart, causing a heart attack (myocardial infarction). This means the heart can’t get enough oxygen and nutrients and starves. This damages the heart muscle cells.1

A stroke happens when the clot breaks away and blocks adequate blood from reaching the brain, and neurons begin to die within minutes.2

What Causes High Blood Pressure?

Your lifestyle choices influence blood pressure. For example, sugar and fatty foods cause the narrowing of arteries that drive up blood pressure. Other factors include:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders
  • Sleep apnea
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • More than 1-2 drinks of alcohol consumption per day

What are the Stages of Blood Pressure?

Normal blood pressure is 120 over 80 or 120/80. The higher number is read higher and is called systolic, and the lower is called diastolic. The systolic (higher) reading is when your heart beats, squeezing blood through arteries to the rest of your body. The diastolic (lower) number indicates when the heart rests between beats. The heart fills with blood in preparation for the next beat and receives oxygen and nutrients during this period.

Typically, the systolic (higher) reading is a good indicator for cardiovascular disease in people over 50. That's because as you age, systolic numbers rise steadily due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries from a long-term buildup of plaque. This increases the risk of cardiac and vascular disease with age. The following chart shows the various stages of blood pressure:

Blood pressure category

Natural Ways to Lower Blood Pressure

Get Moving

Exercise is one of the pillars of health. Studies show that getting active 3-4 times per week for at least 40 minutes of aerobic exercise (making your heart beat faster) is extremely beneficial.3

Lose Excess Weight

Losing weight drops blood pressure like gangbusters. For every pound you lose, you’ll shave off 1 point off your blood pressure numbers.4

Eat Healthy Foods

Eat whole foods with grass-fed meat limited to twice a week, wild-caught fatty fish, lots of colorful veggies, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. You can use the Mediterranean way of eating as a healthy guide.

Blood pressure medications, such as ACE inhibitors and Calcium Channel Blockers, mimic the effects of some botanicals. For example, some herbs and spices are excellent at helping lower blood pressure, including:

Sweet Basil

Sweet Basil – High in eugenol, studies show it may help reduce blood pressure by acting as a natural calcium channel blocker, allowing blood vessels to relax.5

Parsley – Animal studies show it reduces systolic and diastolic blood pressure by acting as a calcium channel blocker.6

Celery Seeds

Celery Seeds – Studies found it lowered blood pressure in rats with high blood pressure but didn't affect the animals with normal blood pressure levels.7

Bacopa monnieri – Animal studies show it lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers by stimulating blood vessels to release nitric oxide, which relaxes them.8 9

Celery Seeds – Studies found it lowered blood pressure in rats with high blood pressure but didn't affect the animals with normal blood pressure levels.7

Bacopa monnieri – Animal studies show it lowers both systolic and diastolic blood pressure numbers by stimulating blood vessels to release nitric oxide, which relaxes them.8 9

Celery Seeds
Thyme

Thyme – Animal studies have shown the compound rosmarinic acid helped significantly reduce systolic pressure by inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) that narrows vessels.10 11 Studies also show it reduces heart factor risks by lowering total cholesterol, LDL “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure.12 13

Cinnamon – Studies showed that consistent use of cinnamon reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure by an average of 6.2 mm Hg and 3.9 mm Hg, respectively.14

Quality Supplements

As you get older, it’s not as easy to absorb all the nutrients you need from foods. That’s when quality supplements can help pick up the slack. For blood pressure, studies show the following are exceptional:

Hibiscus

Hibiscus – Studies show Hibiscus significantly lowers systolic and diastolic pressure numbers. This tea is loaded with healthy carbohydrates, proteins, fatty acids, flavonoids, minerals, and vitamins. It fights free radicals that harm arterial walls and LDL cholesterol oxidation – leading to plaque and inflammation. It improves kidney filtration that can be affected by heart disease.15 16 17 18

Garlic – Recent studies show Garlic is effective at opening blood vessels and improving heart-related functions through several mechanisms. This improvement results in lowering systolic and diastolic pressure numbers.19 20

Garlic
Garlic

Garlic – Recent studies show Garlic is effective at opening blood vessels and improving heart-related functions through several mechanisms. This improvement results in lowering systolic and diastolic pressure numbers.19 20

Beetroot

Beetroot – Beetroot has an impressive nutrient profile, including betalains antioxidants that protect blood vessel walls. It also contains nitrates that are converted into nitric oxide, which dilates blood vessels, lowers blood pressure, and improves circulation. Studies show reductions in pressure numbers, especially systolic (higher), by 4-10 mm Hg over a few hours.21 22 23 24 25

CoQ10 – CoQ10 or Ubiquinol is a bioactive, easily absorbed fat-soluble antioxidant. A review of 12 clinical studies found that CoQ10 can lower systolic (higher) numbers by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic (lower) numbers by 10 mm Hg without significant side effects.26 27 28 29 30 CoQ10 also plays a significant role in immunity and acts as an antioxidant, protecting delicate vessels from damage and clot formation.

Vitamins and Minerals, including Folate, Magnesium, and Potassium, are also essential for a healthy heart and helps balance blood pressure levels.

Try finding a quality product that combines the above nutrients. Combining blood pressure medication with these supplements might lower your blood pressure too much. Talk to your doctor about using supplements as your dosage or meds might require adjusting.

As you can see, keeping tabs on your blood pressure and tweaking a few daily habits can help ensure your golden years are delightful!

REFERENCES:
  1. https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/heart_attack.htm
  2. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/stroke/symptoms-causes/syc-20350113
  3. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/diastolic-and-systolic-blood-pressure-know-your-numbers
  4. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/diastolic-and-systolic-blood-pressure-know-your-numbers
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24921632/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31252093/
  7. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23735001/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21762768/
  9. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29242090/
  10. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29425648/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17977703/
  12. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25272894/
  13. https://journals.lww.com/jhypertension/Abstract/2010/06001/Thyme_Extract_Improves_Blood_Pressure_and.1437.aspx
  14. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31617744/
  15. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6621350/
  16. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6621350/
  17. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593772/
  18. https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03804801
  19. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4266250/
  20. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4266250/
  21. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18250365/
  22. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23884387/
  23. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23231777/
  24. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15223073/
  25. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4425174/
  26. http://pennstatehershey.adam.com/content.aspx?productid=107&pid=33&gid=000295
  27. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6486033/
  28. https://www.nature.com/articles/1002138/
  29. https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/kbase/topic.jhtml?docId=hn-2831009
  30. https://www.medicatrix.be/download/ubiquinol.2014(2).pdf
  31. https://www.mountsinai.org/health-library/diseases-conditions/hardening-of-the-arteries
  32. https://www.heartandstroke.ca/heart-disease/conditions/atherosclerosis
  33. https://www.webmd.com/hypertension-high-blood-pressure/guide/diastolic-and-systolic-blood-pressure-know-your-numbers
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