Medical News Today explains blood pressure. Two doctors explain how to measure blood pressure at home.
Suggestions for treatment for extremely high blood pressure is here.
The hazards of high blood pressure
Blood pressure control is essential for kidney health. Keep it at or below 120 (systolic).
Blood pressure above 130/80 mmHg on one’s 30’s is a predictor of future brain shrinkage and cognitive decline later in life.
Blood pressure above 120 can cause cardiovascular disease. Among patients at high risk for cardiovascular events but without diabetes, targeting a systolic blood pressure of less than 120 mm Hg, as compared with less than 140 mm Hg, resulted in lower rates of fatal and nonfatal major cardiovascular events and death from any cause, although significantly higher rates of some adverse events were observed in the intensive-treatment group.
There is a a broadly linear relationship between blood pressure reduction and lower risk of dementia, regardless of which type of treatment was used. Raised blood pressure at any age speeds cognitive decline. Normal blood pressure prevents brain shrinkage.
High blood pressure slows the removal of waste from the brain.
High blood pressure injures by stiffening arteries ➝ silent strokes.
Normal blood pressure prevents small vessel disease which may cause Alzheimer’s.
Especially bad is late life high blood pressure which may cause white matter lesions and cerebral microbleeds.
Hypertension alters the structure of cerebral blood vessels and disrupts intricate and disrupts intricate vasoregulatory mechanisms that assure an adequate blood supply to the brain.
The brain relies on continuous delivery of blood flow to its active regions in accordance with their dynamic metabolic needs. Hypertension disrupts these vital regulatory mechanisms, leading to the neuronal dysfunction and damage underlying cognitive impairment.
Compared to a person with a high blood pressure of 135/85, someone with an optimal reading of 110/70 was found to have a brain age that appears more than six months younger by the time they reach middle age. By detecting the impact of increased blood pressure on the brain health of people in their 40s and older, we have to assume the effects of elevated blood pressure must build up over many years and could start in their 20s. This means that a young person’s brain is already vulnerable.
In this study of 658 people, some underwent aggressive blood pressure management to get BB down to 120, while others opted for only standard blood pressure care for a maximum blood pressure of 140. After an average of 3.9 years, 243 people in the intensive treatment group and 199 in the standard treatment group had repeat brain MRI scans. Only those in stardard care showed abnormalities in the perivascular spaces which may be associated with certain forms of dementia.
Normal blood pressure prevents vascular dementia.
Three doctors discuss blood pressure. These doctors then discuss how to lower blood pressure: eat beets and flax seed, which they state are the most proven.
WebMD: Many people with diabetes also have high blood pressure. Other conditions like high cholesterol, sleep apnea, and thyroid disorders are also often linked with it. When you manage your overall health, you’ll help keep your blood pressure in check.
Mitochondrial dysfunction may contribute to the regulation of blood pressure and vascular tone. α‐lipoic acid and acetyl‐L‐carnitine reduce oxidative stress and improve mitochondrial function. Exercise can also improve mitochondrial function.
Long-term N-acetylcysteine and L-arginine administration reduced blood pressure in 24 type 2 diabetics.
The landmark World Health Organization Global Burden of Disease 2000 Comparative Risk Analysis study assessed the risks and benefits of alcohol by region and then globally and attributed 16% of all hypertensive disease to alcohol.
Animals treated with rilmenidine, currently used to treat hypertension (high blood pressure), at young and older ages increase lifespan and improve health markers, mimicking the effects of caloric restriction. Significantly lowering blood pressure by any other means might have a similar effect.
Investigators analyzed five randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials involving 28,000 people (average age 69) with high blood pressure. All trials measured blood pressure at baseline and annually for an average follow-up period of 4.3 years. Each trial compared people who were prescribed blood pressure medication with those who took placebos. The results showed that people who took blood pressure medications had a 13% lower risk of dementia. And those who had the most significant drop in blood pressure also had the greatest reduction in dementia risk. So, reducing blood pressure around age 70 can be of significant cognitive benefit.
Arterial stiffening is the principal cause of increasing systolic pressure with advancing years and in patients with arterial hypertension.
This systematic review and meta-analysis showed that higher arterial stiffness systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure are associated with incident hypertension in normotensive adult subjects.
This systematic review and meta analysis of 22 studies and 8 articles found that obesity in children is correlated with high blood pressure and high arterial stiffness.
Vitamin K2 mk7 may help avoid arterial stiffness.
This study in rats found that aerobic exercise reduced the age-associated increase in arterial stiffness. Aerobic exercise training can blunt the age-associated stiffening of large blood vessels in humans. This systematic review and meta-analysis showed that aerobic exercise improved arterial stiffness significantly and that the effect was enhanced with higher aerobic exercise intensity and in participants with greater arterial stiffness at baseline.
Intense resistance training can acutely increase arterial stiffness.
Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are a blood pressure threat
Advanced glycation end-products (AGEs) are proteins that become glycated after contact with sugars and are implicated in endothelial dysfunction and arterial stiffening. Even low levels of AGEs are damaging .
The formation of AGEs on extra cellular matrix molecules alters the constitution of the matrix and increases stiffness.
This systematic review and meta-analysis further establishes the link between AGEs and arterial stiffness.
Smoking tobacco creates significant advanced glycation end products.
Animal-derived foods that are high in fat and protein are generally AGE-rich and prone to new AGE formation during cooking. The foods producing the most AGEs tend to be processed foods high in sugar or fat, especially animal fat, that are then grilled, baked or fried at high temperatures, often until they’re crispy and golden. Roasted nuts feature more AGEs than raw nuts. Dry heat cooking is bad news:
– Crispy rice cereal contains 220 times more AGEs per gram than boiled rice.
– Fast-food fries contain 87 times more AGEs per gram than a boiled spud.
– A fried egg has 62 times more AGEs than a poached egg.
– A serving of oven-fried and breaded Atlantic whiting has 16 times more dietary AGEs per gram than salmon sushi.
Bacon is really high in AGEs.
Cloves, allspice and cinnamon are the leading spices that offer significant protection against the formation of advanced glycation end-products (AGE). Oregano, rosemary, sage, thyme marjoram, tarragon, rosemary and turmeric, also showed an ability to inhibit glycation. A low-starch plant-based diet will lower circulating AGEs.
Diabetics often have high blood circulating AGEs.
Amla reduced blood pressure in this study of 60 volunteers. Whole dried amla berries are available from Mountain Rose Herbs.
This randomized, triple-blind, placebo-controlled, 8-week study of 92 patients with uncontrolled hypertension despite taking hypotensive drugs, showed that an 8-week combination therapy of amla with standard antihypertensive drugs significantly reduced the systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure more than placebo in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
Berries and other colorful foods feature anthocyanins which may help prevent or even reduce arterial stiffness in people including postmenopausal women. Eating berries in yogurt may block the blood pressure benefit.
Capsaicin, the “active ingredient” in peppers like habaneros should probably be sold by prescription only. While lips burn and eyes water, blood vessels actually relax, thanks to increased production of the signaling molecule nitric oxide. In rodents, anyway.
Cocoa – yum!
This analysis of 44 middle-aged overweight men over two periods of four weeks as they consumed 70 grams of chocolate per day showed that dark chocolate helps restore flexibility to arteries while also preventing white blood cells from sticking to the walls of blood vessels.
This systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of randomized clinical trials investigating the effect of cocoa products consumption on vascular stiffness indicated the beneficial effect of acute and chronic consumption of cocoa-based products ingestion on platelet function and arterial stiffness in healthy adults regardless of age especially in males.
Pooled meta-analysis of 15 trials revealed a significant blood pressure-reducing effect on hypertensive participants of cocoa-chocolate (taken daily for two or more weeks) compared with control. Cocoa did not lower blood pressure in participants with normal blood pressure.
This meta-analysis of 10 randomized controlled trials comprising 297 individuals confirms the BP-lowering capacity of flavanol-rich cocoa products.
This meta-analysis of 13 studies with 758 total participants showed a blood pressure lowering effect of 2.71 mm systolic and 1.47 mm diastolic.
The Cochrane (high quality) meta-analysis of of 35 trials provided moderate‐quality evidence that flavanol‐rich chocolate and cocoa products cause a small (2 mmHg) blood pressure‐lowering effect in mainly healthy adults in the short term.
Cocoa (but not milk chocolate) can, via polyphenols (flavonols) act through a number of pathways in our bodies, including helping blood vessels to relax more readily which can lower blood pressure. Cocoa works short term and long term. But (sugar and fat containing) chocolate failed to lower blood pressure.
Dark chocolate and berries control blood pressure via gut bacteria.
Vitamin D vs. arterial stiffness?
This study of 554 subjects showed that vitamin D insufficiency is associated with increased arterial stiffness and endothelial dysfunction in the conductance and resistance blood vessels in humans, irrespective of traditional risk burden.
This study included 100 newly diagnosed hypertensive patients (63 male, 37 female and mean age: 51.7 ± 10.3 years) without cardiovascular disease, malignancy, chronic kidney disease and diabetes mellitus. It was found that vitamin D deficiency is associated with increased arterial stiffness in newly diagnosed hypertensive patients.
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 18 randomized clinical trials found that vitamin D supplementation improves indicators of arterial stiffness.
Vitamin D supplements do not lower blood pressure.
A whole-food, unprocessed plant-based diet
Plant-based diets have been associated with lowering overall and ischemic heart disease mortality2; supporting sustainable weight management3; reducing medication needs4–6; lowering the risk for most chronic diseases7,8; decreasing the incidence and severity of high-risk conditions, including obesity,9 hypertension,10 hyperlipidemia,11 and hyperglycemia;11 and even possibly reversing advanced coronary artery disease12,13 and type 2 diabetes.6
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 41 controlled intervention trials found that plant-based diets were associated with lower SBP [Dietary Approach to Stop Hypertension −5.53 mmHg, Mediterranean −0.95 mmHg, Vegan −1.30 mmHg, Lacto-ovo vegetarian −5.47 mmHg, Nordic −4.47 mmHg, high-fiber −0.65 mmHg, high-fruit and vegetable −0.57 mmH. Similar effects were seen on DBP.
Blood pressure of 110/70 is best, which may be attained by eating only plants.
This review and meta-analysis showed that garlic lowers blood pressure in hypertensive subjects, improves arterial stiffness and gut microbiota.
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 8 randomized clinical trials found that supplementation of soy isoflavones reduced arterial stiffness.
Short-term folate administration lowered ambulatory blood pressure in postmenopausal women in this placebo-controlled study.
This randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind, crossover study of 41 asymptomatic men showed that folic acid is a safe and effective supplement that targets large artery stiffness. Folate from veggies is a better choice because folic acid supplement may be a mortality hazard.
This study of 48 healthy postmenopausal women aged 50-65 y concluded that regular grapefruit juice consumption by middle-aged, healthy postmenopausal women is beneficial for arterial stiffness. That effect is probably due to flavanones in the fruit juice. Lots of citrus and other foods contain flavanones.
This meta-analysis of 30 studies showed that there was a significant reduction in arterial stiffness with daily magnesium supplement of 350 mg for 24 wk in overweight and obese adults. Magnesium is abundant on a plant-based diet.
Magnesium helps to protect the elastic fibers from calcium deposition and maintains the elasticity of the vessels. Considering the numerous positive effects on a number of mechanisms related to arterial hypertension, consuming a healthy diet that provides the recommended amount of magnesium can be an appropriate strategy for helping control blood pressure.
Vitamin K may help keep blood pressure lower by preventing mineralization, where minerals build up in the arteries. This enables the heart to pump blood freely through the body. Vitamin K sources are green leafy vegetables including collard and turnip greens, kale, spinach, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, lettuces. Confirmed, again, by this Quora answer.
This systematic review and meta-analysis of controlled feeding trials found that pulses (beans) significantly lowered blood pressure in people with and without hypertension. Sprouted beans may also lower blood pressure.
Celery is rich in potassium and also features phthalide (3-n-butylphtalide [3nb] ) which relaxes smooth muscles in the vessel walls causing them to dilate and allow blood to flow more easily.
This study of 37 hypertensive patients (20 female, 17 male) age 45-65, were given 6 grams of powder of celery seed. Before treatment, the mean systolic blood pressure was 171.35 ml Hg and the mean diastolic blood pressure was 94 ml Hg. After they became 154.3 mlHg and 89.6 mlHg respectively.
Nitrates to the rescue
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 13 studies showed that inorganic nitrate or beetroot juice supplementation (dietary nitrate) was associated with a significant decline in systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. See the top of the post for the three doctors agreement on this.
This systematic review and meta-analysis showed that inorganic nitrate and beetroot juice supplementation was associated with a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure.
This randomized, placebo-controlled trial showed that beetroot juice will lower blood pressure in men when consumed as part of a normal diet in free-living healthy adults.
Beet root powder is available, and is less messy.
Beet root juice can be used acutely.
An alkaline (plant-based) diet will probably lower blood pressure due to nitrates.
This randomized controlled cross-over trial of 26 participants showed that consumption of a nitrate-rich meal of spinach can lower systolic blood pressure and pulse pressure and increase large artery compliance acutely in healthy men and women.
Using a placebo-controlled, crossover design, 27 healthy participants were randomly assigned to receive either a high-nitrate (spinach; 845 mg nitrate/day) or low-nitrate soup (asparagus; 0.6 mg nitrate/day) for 7 days. The nitrate intervention is not associated with the development of tolerance for at least 7 days of continued supplementation. The high-nitrate spinach soup administration, containing decreased postprandial arterial stiffness measure by 6.93 ± 8.7% and reduced central SBP by 4.05 ± 5.9 mmHg following 7 days of administration.
This placebo-controlled, crossover study of 27 healthy participants suggests that dietary nitrate from spinach may contribute to beneficial hemodynamic effects of vegetable-rich diets.
Sodium nitrate is added to bacon, luncheon meats and jerky, to help preserve them and prolong their shelf life. This is not the same a plant nitrates. Avoid this chemical.
Quality plant-based diets are high in magnesium
Magnesium is a cofactor in more than 300 enzyme systems that regulate diverse biochemical reactions in the body, including protein synthesis, muscle and nerve function, blood glucose control, and blood pressure regulation.
A significant negative correlation was found between dietary calcium intake and diastolic blood pressure in men and between dietary magnesium intake and systolic blood pressure in women.
This meta-analysis of magnesium supplementation with 22 trials and 23 sets of data (n=1173), with 3 to 24 weeks of follow-up showed decrease in systolic blood pressure of 3-4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure of 2-3 mm Hg, which further increased with crossover designed trials and intake >370 mg/day.
Quality plant-based diets are high in potassium
Epidemiological and clinical studies show that a high-potassium diet lowers blood pressure in individuals with both raised blood pressure and average population blood pressure. Increasing potassium intake to recommended levels by consuming a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help lower blood pressure and may have additional benefits to health.
Spinach provides a source of potassium, which is found to lower blood pressure, according to the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University. Potassium helps lower blood pressure by protecting against salt sensitivity, so consuming salt in your diet will have a milder effect on increasing your blood pressure.
Dietary cholesterol, saturated fatty acids, and starch were positively related to blood pressure; protein and the ratio of dietary polyunsaturated to saturated fatty acids were inversely related to blood pressure. These macronutrient–blood pressure findings were obtained in analyses that controlled for body mass, dietary sodium and ratio of sodium to potassium, and alcohol intake, each positively related to blood pressure, and intake of potassium and caffeine, both inversely related to blood pressure.
Citrus fruits keep blood pressure low via potassium. Potassium citrate can also lower blood pressure.
Fiber, both soluble and insoluble, is naturally high on an unprocessed, whole-food, plant-based diet
Researchers tallied the results of 25 studies on the effects of dietary fiber on blood pressure and found that a high-fiber diet was associated with a significant reduction in blood pressure levels among people with high blood pressure or hypertension.
This longitudinal cohort study among 373 participants showed that lower lifetime intake of fiber during the course of young age is associated with carotid artery stiffness in adulthood.
Average blood pressures were 10% lower with high carbohydrate and fiber diets diets than with control diets.
Dietary fiber lower blood pressure via the kidney smell receptor Olfr78.
This study of 41 hypertensive subjects found that 24-hour systolic blood pressure was 5.9 mm Hg lower with fiber and with protein.
This study of 2195 men and women aged between 40 and 59 years found that insoluble fiber supplementation lowered systolic blood pressure 1.8 mm Hg.
A plant-based diet may may also work via improved gut microbiome, nurtured by fiber.
People who ate plain purple potatoes cooked in the microwave twice a day for a month lowered their blood pressure by 3%-4% without gaining weight. The blood pressure-lowering effects are likely due to the high concentration of antioxidants found naturally in potatoes. The frying process destroys the healthy substances in potatoes.
A South American tribe living in near-total isolation with no Western dietary influences showed no increase in average blood pressure from age one to age 60. In comparison, a nearby tribe whose diet includes some processed foods and salt did show higher blood pressure into late middle age.
When a plant-based diet is combined with fried food, sweets, refined grains, red meat and processed meat, benefits are diminished.
The much-touted Mediterranean diet is less effective for lowering blood pressure than the high-quality unprocessed plant-based diet.
Basil lowered blood pressure in rats.
Bisphenol A and related chemicals are bad news
This study of 60 older adults demonstrated that consuming canned beverages and a consequent increase of bis-phenol A (BPA) exposure increased blood pressure acutely.
This study of 1380 participants showed that urinary BPA levels are associated with hypertension, independent of traditional risk factors.
In this study of 560 noninstitutionalized elderly citizens, urinary BPA was associated negatively with the root mean square of successive differences for heart rate and positively with blood pressure.
Phthalates from plastics are bad news. Phthalates increase the flexibility, transparency, durability, and longevity of plastics. Phthalates are commonly used in food packaging, medications, toys, and even medical devices.
This randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial showed that black cumin seeds lowered blood pressure for those with mild hypertension.
Black tea lowered blood pressure in this study of 19 hypertensives.
Is salt a blood pressure hazard?
To prevent chronic diseases like heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and obesity, Americans should eat less sugar, saturated fat, and sodium (from salt).
Too much salt, too little potassium, and too much alcohol have all been found to increase the risk of high blood pressure. Too much stress and too little physical activity both increase the danger of developing high blood pressure, as does being overweight or obese.
When eating out: Research suggests most of the sodium in U.S. diets comes from restaurant and packaged foods. Look for low-sodium menu options or ask the chef to make your meal without salt.
Depending on the baseline blood pressure and degree of salt intake reduction, systolic blood pressure can be lowered by 4 to 8 mm Hg.
A low-salt diet is supported by a meta-analysis of 34 trials with 3230 participants.
Shown by a study of 411 adults, who were 30 to 60 years of age.
A low-salt diet is supported by American Heart Association.
Most get too much salt from processed food – not the shaker.
Salt injures via reduced beta-hydroxybutyrate (βOHB).
Low salt may benefit via beta-hydroxyisovalerate and methionine sulfone.
Use spices instead – the case is conclusive.
Here are salt sources – why processed meat has so much salt.
All processed food is salt-laden
The sodium-to-potassium ratio is important.
Potassium may blunt the hypertensive effect of sodium
Salt may be addictive!
Data from 2,632 men and women aged between 30 and 64 years, who were part of the Framingham Offspring Study – an offshoot of the Framingham Heart Study. Over the 16-year follow-up period, the researchers observed that the participants who consumed under 2,500 milligrams of sodium each day had higher blood pressure than those who consumed higher quantities of sodium. There may be certain people who are particularly sensitive to sodium and who might, therefore, benefit from reducing salt in their diet.
Breathing and blood pressure are functionally linked through the sympathetic nervous system, which sends nerve signals to the heart and blood vessels. Slow breathing decreases blood pressure in essential (unexplained) hypertension. Voluntary diaphragmatic breathing at <10 or 6 breaths per minute for 10 min twice a day for 4 weeks was effective in lowering blood pressure in prehypertensive or hypertensive adults.
This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials showed that vitamin C supplementation reduced systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure. In a quality whole-food plant-based diet, vitamin C is synergistic with other nutrients, some of which may also lower blood pressure, so diet is the best way to get one’s vitamin C.
Cochrane says there is not enough quality evidence for calcium’s role in controlling blood pressure.
The calorically restricted low-fat nutrient-dense diet in Biosphere 2 significantly lowered blood glucose, total leukocyte count, cholesterol, and blood pressure in humans.
Calorie restriction (CR) could reduce blood pressure by elevating NO production and lowering ACE activity, as shown in rats.
A single dose of cannabidiol reduced blood pressure in 9 healthy male volunteers in a randomized crossover study.
There are lots of blood pressure references in this page from Norml.
Chamomile may lower blood pressure slightly.
Chia may lower blood pressure slightly.
Chlorella significantly decreased blood pressure in 80 hypertensive subjects compared with placebo.
This study on 200 male patients with uncontrolled hypertension showed that 2 gms of home ground cinnamon powder can reduce blood pressure.
A robust circadian oscillation (circadian-friendly lifestyle) can help control blood pressure. This works via circadian clock genes.
Eating mostly early in the day (circadian-friendly) was shown by a study of 12,708 participants, ages 18 to 76. A circadian-friendly lifestyle maximizes melatonin release at evening and night.
This systematic review of 11 studies comprising 734 participants showed that consuming curcumin/turmeric may improve systolic blood pressure when administered in long duration.
DASH diet – or not – it stops short of the most effective intervention: a vegan (plant-based) diet.
Dental diligence (good oral health) may help control blood pressure.
Diuretics are used to rid the body of extra fluid or salt. People with high blood pressure, heart failure, swollen tissues, and kidney disease often use diuretics to treat these conditions. Here are natural diuretics.
Energy drinks may increase blood pressure and disturb your heart’s natural rhythm, decrease blood flow to the brain, and send one to the emergency room.
The essential oils which form the basis of aromatherapy for stress relief are also reported to have a beneficial effect on heart rate and blood pressure following short-term exposure – and may therefore reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, on the downside, those beneficial effects were reversed when exposure to essential oils lasted more than an hour.
Physical activity, but more so physical fitness (the physiological benefit obtained from physical activity), has a dose-dependent BP benefit.
Exercise works in short spurts.
Regular physical activity makes your heart stronger. A stronger heart can pump more blood with less effort. As a result, the force on your arteries decreases, lowering your blood pressure.
The BP lowering effects of exercise are most pronounced in people with hypertension who engage in endurance exercise with BP decreasing approximately 5–7 mm Hg after an isolated exercise session (acute) or following exercise training (chronic). Moreover, BP is reduced for up to 22 h after an endurance exercise bout (e.g., postexercise hypotension), with the greatest decreases among those with the highest baseline BP.
Resistance training also increases bone density, lowers blood pressure and cholesterol, improves insulin sensitivity, and can help alleviate depression and arthritis. Researchers found that strength training was most effective in reducing blood pressure when participants used the following criteria:
- participants engaged in strength training that was moderate to vigorous
- participants participated in strength training at least two times a week
- the intervention lasted at least eight weeks
A combination of aerobic and weight (resistance) training seems to provide the most heart-healthy benefits.
Pilates significantly improves blood pressure in young, obese women.
The combination of insulin resistance and compensatory hyperinsulinemia predisposes to the development of a cluster of abnormalities, including some degree of glucose intolerance, an increase in plasma triglyceride and a decrease in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol concentrations, high blood pressure, and hyperuricemia.
Young adults with hyperinsulinemia are significantly more likely to have hypertension (HTN) later in life, regardless of sex, ethnicity, or body weight.
Insulin resistance inhibits the kidney’s ability to filter salt out of the blood.
Exercise may be as effective as prescribed drugs.
Cycling and treadmill workstations are better than standing workstations.
This meta-analysis of 30 studies showed that there is a significant reduction in arterial stiffness 30 min after aerobic exercise, but the levels of arterial stiffness return to their basal levels after 24 h. These findings could imply that, in order to achieve improvements in arterial stiffness, exercise should be performed on a daily basis.
Intensive resistance training can temporarily stiffen arteries.
The AMPK enzyme may lower blood pressure. AMPK is increased by exercise and by metformin.
Intermittent fasting (IF) may lower blood pressure. The weight loss benefits of IF may be mediated by changes in gut bacteria.
In rodents intermittent or periodic fasting protects against diabetes, cancers, heart disease and neurodegeneration, while in humans it helps reduce obesity, hypertension, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis.
Both IF and calorie restriction enhance cardiovascular and brain functions and improve several risk factors for coronary artery disease and stroke including a reduction in blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity.
Multiple reviews have highlighted the cardiovascular benefits of chronic intermittent fasting (7–9). In humans, intermittent fasting can reduce blood pressure, oxidative stress, and the risk of atherosclerosis (5, 10–12). One month of alternate-day fasting effectively lowers blood pressure and heart rate in healthy nonobese humans, suggesting that chronic fasting may enhance parasympathetic activity (13).
The Cleveland Clinic: More and more research shows that IF improves your heart and your overall health by lowering cholesterol, blood pressure, insulin, and blood sugar levels. This can happen even if you do not lose weight while you are doing it.
Time-restricted eating in the form of eating only early in the day may help control blood pressure.
The effect of intermittent fasting may kick in after one day.
High-fat (fast food) diet caution, which may raise blood pressure via nasty gut bugs.
Ω-3 fatty acids
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 14 randomized controlled trials showed that fish oil supplementation had a beneficial effect on pulse wave velocity (arterial stiffness).
Fish oil may work via the SLO1 potassium channel.:
Shown by a study of 324 subjects (20-40 y of age, body mass index 27.5-32.5kg/m(2), from Iceland, Spain, and Ireland.
Shown by a study of healthy young (18-42 years) and older (53-70 years) males.
Shown by a study of 2,036 young, healthy adults.
Shown by a study of 4680 men and women, 40 to 59, in China.
Shown by a metaregression analysis of 90 randomized trials.
Even in small doses, fish oil helps reduce blood pressure in people with elevated levels.This systematic review of 11 studies comprising 734 participants showed that consuming curcumin/turmeric may improve systolic blood pressure when administered in long duration.
Flaxseed also provides Ω-3 fatty acids.
Flaxseed is a proven therapy for high blood pressure
A 12-week dietary supplementation with flaxseed oil, rich in ALA (8 g/day) – another Ω-3 fatty acid, reduced blood pressure in 27 middle-aged dyslipidaemic men.
In this randomized, double-blinded, controlled clinical trial, participants with peripheral arterial disease (75% hypertensive) consumed 30 g of milled flaxseed/d for 6 months. The flaxseed group exhibited significant reductions in systolic (-10 mm Hg) and diastolic (-7 mm Hg) blood pressure.
In this prospective, double-blinded, placebo-controlled, randomized trial, patients (110 in total) ingested a variety of foods that contained 30 g of milled flaxseed or placebo each day over 6 months. Systolic blood pressure was ≈ 10 mm Hg lower, and diastolic blood pressure was ≈ 7 mm Hg lower in the flaxseed group compared with placebo after 6 months.
According to this meta-analysis of controlled trials, the beneficial potential of flaxseed to reduce blood pressure (especially diastolic blood pressure) may be greater when it is consumed as a whole seed and for a duration of >12 wk.
The results of this study showed that flaxseed can be effective in reducing blood pressure, total cholesterol, and body mass index in hypertensive patients in a twelve-week period.
Systematic review and meta-analysis concluded that flaxseed reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number) by nearly 3 points and diastolic (lower number) by more than 2 points, on average, with greater effects seen in trials that were 12 weeks or longer. According to the researchers, the blood pressure benefits may be due to the synergistic action of the flaxseed compounds.
Flax seed oil is fragile: it goes rancid rapidly. If one is adding ground flax seed to food, grind the seed immediately prior. And do not cook with ground flax seed or flax oil.
People who visit parks for 30 minutes or more each week are much less likely to have high blood pressure or poor mental health than those who don’t.
Fructose consumption can trigger high blood pressure.
Frequent sugar-sweetened beverage intake (and particularly fructose) is linked to hypertension and well-known cardiovascular disease risk factors. (Sugar is 1/2 fructose, 1/2 glucose).
This prospective analysis of 810 adults found that a reduction in sugar sweetened beverage (soda) intake was still significantly associated with reductions in systolic and diastolic BPs.
This analysis including the Nurses’ Health Studies I (n = 88,540 women) and II (n = 97,991 women) and the Health Professionals’ Follow-Up Study (n = 37,360 men) found that higher sugar sweetened beverage and artificially sweetened beverage intake was associated with an increased risk of developing hypertension.
A diet high in fructose increases the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension), according to a paper being presented at the American Society of Nephrology’s 42nd Annual Meeting and Scientific Exposition in San Diego, California. The findings suggest that cutting back on processed foods and beverages that contain high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) may help prevent hypertension.
Fructose is metabolized by fructokinase (KHK). KHK has no negative feedback system, and ATP is used for phosphorylation. This results in intracellular phosphate depletion and the rapid generation of uric acid due to activation of AMP deaminase.
Uric acid, a byproduct of this reaction, has been linked to endothelial dysfunction, insulin resistance, and hypertension.
The systematic review and meta-analysis of 15 studies found that fructose consumption was positively associated with increased fasting blood sugar, elevated triglycerides, and elevated systolic blood pressure.
When you eat fructose, it tricks the cells into reducing ATP levels. Once the ATP levels are low, it sets off an alarm that says “hey, I wanna gain weight, I wanna store fat, I wanna become insulin resistant, I wanna raise my blood pressure, because my energy levels are dropping. Then, when you eat the food, instead of replacing the ATP, it shunt the food into fat, and only replaces a tiny bit of the ATP, so the your ATP levels stay low, and you keep eating, then finally your ATP approaches normal, but you ate more than you normally would have.
This study of fruit juice consumption in 160 community dwelling adults found that central systolic BP was 3-4 mmHg higher for those who consumed fruit juice daily rather than rarely or occasionally.
Soda whether artificially or sugar sweetened can raise blood pressure.
This meta-analysis of 12 trials with 503 patients showed that systolic blood pressure was lower in garlic group (mean difference -3.62 ). Meta-analysis showed that diastolic blood pressure was lower in garlic group (mean difference ) on follow-up.
Garlic may be as effective as atenolol.
The bacterial-derived metabolites that are produced in the gut are capable of widespread effects to several tissue types and organs in the body. It is clear that the extensive metabolic function that is lost with gut dysbiosis is unlikely to be replenished with a single metabolite or bacterial strain. Instead, combinations of bacteria and concomitant therapies will provide a more well-rounded solution to manage hypertension.
Butyrate-producing gut bugs may provide for lower blood pressure. A plant-base diet will encourage butyrate-producing gut bugs. See this blog post.
Increased serum or fecal butyrate is associated with lowered blood pressure in 121 adult cancer survivors.
Short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) (from good gut bugs) not only directly affect hypertension progression but also regulate several hypertension-related syndromes, such as obesity, insulin sensitivity and diabetes.
Butyrate is a short chain fatty acid, also increased by exercise.
This systematic review of 4 trials (254 participants) found that hawthorn can significantly lower BP in people with mild hypertension if applied for at least 12 weeks.
A multicentric comparative pilot intervention for 121 participants with high blood pressure (BP) found that hibiscus significantly lowered blood pressure with a mean reduction of 23.1 (±11.8) mmHg and 12.0 (±11.2) for systolic and diastolic BP, respectively.
Further reports of the blood pressure lowering effect of hibiscus tea are here.
Three kiwifruits per day was associated with lower systolic and diastolic 24-h BP compared with one apple a day.
Red meat and saturated fats can cause hypertension. Long-term intake of meat and poultry were associated with increased risk of hypertension.
Meditation can reduce blood pressure by lowering one’s perceived stress.
Supplemental taurine, 1-6 grams per day, may lower blood pressure.
Administration of melatonin decreased BP in several animal models of hypertension, in healthy men and women, and in patients with arterial hypertension. Melatonin can, via its scavenging and antioxidant nature, improve endothelial function with increased availability of nitric oxide exerting vasodilatory and hypotensive effects.
Evening controlled-release melatonin 2 mg treatment for 4 weeks significantly reduced nocturnal systolic BP in patients with nocturnal hypertension. Repeated melatonin (2.5 mg) intake reduced systolic and diastolic blood pressure during sleep by 6 or 4 mm Hg.
People with hypertension have lower melatonin levels than those with normal blood pressure. The administration of the hormone in question declines blood pressure to normal range. It has been observed that melatonin, even in a dose 1 mg, reduced blood pressure and decreased catecholamine level after 90 min in human subjects. Melatonin may reduce blood pressure via the following mechanisms: 1) by a direct effect on the hypothalamus; 2) as an antioxidant which lowers blood pressure; 3) by decreasing the level of catecholamines, or 4) by relaxing the smooth muscle in the aorta wall.
Nuts for lower blood pressure
From WebMD: Tree nuts — hold the salt! — like walnuts and almonds can be a great source of healthy fats that help your heart. But for high blood pressure, your best pick is pistachios. They seem to have the strongest effect on lowering both your top and bottom blood pressure readings.
The Mayo Clinic: Regularly eating a healthy diet that includes nuts may:
- Improve artery health
- Reduce inflammation related to heart disease
- Decrease the risk of blood clots, which can lead to heart attacks and strokes
- Lower the risk of high blood pressure
- Lower the risk of early death due to heart disease
- Lower unhealthy cholesterol levels, specifically low-density lipoprotein (LDL or “bad”) cholesterol and triglycerides, which can clog arteries
More frequent nut consumption is associated with lower BP and lower risk of hypertension among 9660 randomly selected Iranian adults.
Medical News Today suggests that olive leaf might lower blood pressure.
Healthline also touts olive leaf for blood pressure.
Kaiser Permanente gives olive leaf 2 out of 3 stars for blood pressure management.
The Framingham study population of 5,209 men and women shows us that persons in the highest body mass index quartile had a 16 mmHg higher systolic blood pressure and a 9 mmHg higher diastolic blood pressure than persons in the lowest body mass index quartile. Systolic blood pressure increased 4 mmHg for each 4.5 kg of increased weight.
In 19,841 Canadians aged 18 to 74 years, the prevalence of hypertension in men and in women increased with increasing body mass index, especially in those aged 18 to 34 years. In the younger adults, men and women with a body mass index of more than 30 kg/m2 had a 5 times higher prevalence of hypertension than persons with a body mass index less than 20 kg/m2
A cohort of 82,473 female nurses in the United States, aged 30 to 55 showed us that the body mass index was positively associated with the development of hypertension. Compared with a weight change of 2 kg or less, the risk of hypertension was 15% less in women who lost 5 to 9.9 kg, 26% less in women who lost 10 kg or more, increased 74% in women who gained 5 to 9.9 kg, and increased 5.21 times in women who gained 25 kg or more.
Body mass index is positively associated with blood pressure, according to the ongoing study of 1.7 million Chinese men and women being conducted by researchers at the Yale Center for Outcomes Research and Evaluation (CORE) and in China.
This study of 4700 volunteers followed for 25 years concluded that, by maintaining a healthy body weight into middle age, you can help preserve low blood pressure.
Taking aspirin before bedtime as opposed to upon waking in the morning is an effective strategy to lower blood pressure and cost effective way to individualize treatment regimes in pre-hypertensive patients.
This systematic review and meta-analysis of 9 randomized, controlled trials found that probiotic consumption significantly changed systolic BP by -3.56 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, -6.46 to -0.66) and diastolic BP by -2.38 mm Hg (95% confidence interval, -2.38 to -0.93) compared with control groups. A greater reduction was found with multiple as compared with single species of probiotics, for both systolic and diastolic BP.
This systematic review and meta-analysis of eight controlled trials with a total of 843 participants showed that sesame consumption can reduce systolic and diastolic BP.
This systematic review and meta-analysis showed that sesame consumption can reduce systolic blood pressure by 2.68 mm and diastolic blood pressure by 2 mm.
This meta-analysis of 29 articles from 45 041 patients indicates that poor sleep quality was significantly associated with a greater likelihood of hypertension.
This study of 24 volunteers showed that blood pressure dropped significantly for one hour following exposure to UV rays, but not after the heat-only sessions. Sun exposure works via nitric oxide due to blue light.
This meta-analysis of 7 peer-reviewed studies concluded that taurine can reduce blood pressure in a clinically relevant magnitude without any adverse side effects.
This meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials (meta analysis of meta anlyses) concluded that taurine has a significant effect on systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Combined uridine and choline helped cognition in hypertensive rats.
Chronic low blood pressure is also a cognitive threat. Strong calf muscles may help.
Here is alternative treatments for high blood pressure from WebMd.
Common Stuff that Raises Blood Pressure:
Aircraft noise is a blood pressure hazard.
Light at night is a blood pressure hazard.
St. John’s wort, ephedra/ma huang, yohimbine and licorice
living near an airport
stress (duh!) (try mindfulness)
coffee (for three hours), or any caffeine
excessive carbohydrates, such as potatoes
Sugar, due to the fructose fraction and added calories, may raise blood pressure. It is especially hazardous when combined with a high sodium (salt) intake and high linoleic acid intake.
Obesity →oxidative stress →insomnia.
Oxidative stress → less tetrahydrobiopterin → less nitric oxide → high blood pressure. See this blog post on oxidative stress.
excessive sitting – moving around a bit for breaks will help
excess uric acid (see heart health (m-z) for information on lowering uric acid
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