High Blood Pressure – Natural remedies can help! If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure, your doctor has probably prescribed a blood pressure lowering medication. It’s not uncommon to see patients in my practice taking two or three different medications for hypertension.
Hypertension is a common diagnosis for millions of people, and a common finding in younger and younger people, including children.
“Over 90-95% of hypertension is considered to have no known cause and treated with drugs that can cause serious long-term side effects.” – Dr. Alex Vasquez
When blood pressure rises, the heart works harder to pump blood out to the rest of the body. Hypertension contributes to stroke, hardening of the arteries, cardiovascular disease, heart failure and more. We are not genetically programmed to develop high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is a warning light on your “health dashboard” signaling for you to make major lifestyle changes.
Causes for hypertension
• Overly stressful lifestyles
• Poor diet of processed foods and excessive consumption of chemicals and sodium found in refined salt
• Nutrient deficiencies: magnesium, calcium, potassium, vitamin D, omega-3s
• Insulin resistance, blood sugar instability and diabetes
• Heavy drinking, excessive alcohol intake and alcoholism
• Being overweight or obese
• Environmental triggers, toxic chemicals, electropollution, endocrine disruptors
• Fluoride found in drinking water, toothpaste and several medications is a risk factor for hypertension. Fluoride impairs thyroid function and accelerates arterial calcification and stiffening that leads to hypertension. [Biol Trace Elem Res. 2011 Dec;144(1-3):157-63.]
• High aldosterone, a hormone secreted by the adrenal glands can silently cause high blood pressure. Elevated aldosterone also causes water retention (edema), inflammation, decreased potassium, and impaired metabolism.
• Sleep deprivation and sleep apnea. Lack of sleep not only leads to hypertension, but also contributes to the development of diabetes, immune problems, obesity, metabolic syndrome, anxiety and depression. Sleeping during the day and being awake at night increases the risk for cardiovascular disease by increasing a person’s blood pressure and inflammation.
• Disrupted circadian rhythm. Disruption of the circadian system caused by disordered exposure to light, artificial light, bright screens at night, shift work, and lack of sunlight is pervasive in modern society and increases the risk of hypertension, arrhythmia, and cardiovascular disease. JAMA Neurology.
• Estrogen dominance and too little progesterone trigger an increase in blood pressure.
• Thyroid dysfunction. When the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough thyroid hormone (hypothyroidism) or produces too much thyroid hormone (hyperthyroidism), high blood pressure can result. Dr. Broda Barnes found that 80% of patients with a prior diagnosis of high blood pressure had their blood pressure normalize with thyroid therapy alone.
• Drugs, medications and some supplements including decongestants, antihistamines, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, antidepressants, corticosteroids, estrogens including birth control pills and hormone replacement therapy (HRT and BHRT), cough, cold and asthma medications, migraine medications, and certain herbal supplements including ginseng, licorice and ephedra (ma-huang) may increase blood pressure. Many illegal drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine also increase blood pressure.
• Use food as medicine to reduce blood pressure
• Increase intake of foods rich in potassium and magnesium: a diversity of organic vegetables, plants, leafy greens, bitters, herbs, fruits, sprouted beans and sprouted legumes (if not lectin-resistant), seafood and wild fish. Most people consume only half the recommended daily intake of potassium and an excess of sodium. Magnesium deficiency is another factor linked to high blood pressure. Magnesium and potassium are key minerals for regulating blood pressure. Eat foods rich in magnesium or consider supplementing.
• Raw cacao has a blood pressure lowering capacity and is superior to placebos in lowering systolic hypertension or diastolic pre-hypertension.
• Blueberries rival prescription drugs in lowering high blood pressure. A study published in The Journals of Gerontology: Series A reported that “after one month, participants who consumed 200gm (equivalent to approximately one cup) of blueberries every day for a month exhibited improved blood vessel function within two hours and reduced their systolic blood pressure—an effect similar to prescription blood pressure drugs.
• Raw beets, beet root juice and beet root powder are a nutritional strategy that may help to control arterial blood pressure in healthy subjects, pre-hypertensive population, and even patients diagnosed and treated with drugs. Beets, beet root powder and beet root juice support healthy blood pressure because they contains nitrates that are vasodilators. They’re an excellent source of fiber, folate, magnesium, potassium, iron, and zinc.
• Celery has been used for many years in Chinese medicine to alleviate high blood pressure. Celery contains a phytochemical called phthalides that relax the tissues of the artery walls to help increase blood flow, relieve stress hormones and reduce blood pressure. Celery also helps increase bile flow, hydrochloric acid, and acts as a diuretic helping to minimize water retention. Celery and celery juice may lower cholesterol by increasing bile acid secretion.
• Protein is a natural ACE inhibitor due to the amino acids. A study published in the journal Neurology found that those consuming a diet higher in protein were 20% less likely to develop a stroke.
A study published in the American Journal of Hypertension found that participants consuming the highest amount of protein (an average of 100 g protein/day) had a 40% lower risk of having high blood pressure.
• Garlic, ginger, turmeric, hibiscus tea, extra-virgin olive oil, tomatoes, cherries, beets, and pomegranates are especially helpful for reducing high blood pressure.
• Smoothie Recipe for Hypertension. Blend the following ingredients in a Vitamix or other high-powered blender: one whole organic beet (sliced) or one scoop organic beet root powder, handful of fresh parsley, 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 2-3 stalks of celery, 1/2 cup blueberries, a knuckle of fresh ginger root and turmeric, water and ice.
Avoid these top offenders that increase blood pressure: non-organic foods, grains, wheat, sugar, fructose corn syrup, ultra-processed carbohydrates, soy, rancid omega-6 seed and vegetable oils (corn, canola, soybean, safflower), and all artificial sweeteners. Phenylalanine, found in Nutra-Sweet and OTC anti-histamines aggravate high blood pressure.
Avoid frankenfats found in hundreds of processed, packaged and fast foods (cereals, cookies, chips, fried foods, packaged foods). Restaurant food, especially from fast food chains often serve food loaded with trans fats. Our bodies don’t know how to metabolize these toxic fats.
• Hydrate with clean filtered water (no plastic water bottles). Install water filters in your kitchen and shower. The solution to pollution is dilution.
• Rule out heavy metal toxicity. This is a very common finding in those with hypertension. Learn more >> Heavy Metals Sources, Signs and Symptoms
• Inflammation is a silent killer and a hypertension precursor. The key to healing is to resolve the root cause of inflammation (inflammatory foods, sedentary lifestyles, chronic stress, infections, disrupted microbiome, infections, lack of sleep, gut infections, pesticides, herbicides, chemicals, GMOs, glyphosate). When the inflammation is resolved, blood pressure tends to normalize (120/80).
• Strengthen vagal tone: Balance the parasympathetic (calming) and sympathetic nervous system. Chiropractic, acupuncture, nature therapy, sunlight, breathing exercises, yin yoga, restorative yoga, walking, strengthen vagal tone and activate the vagus nerve, and sound therapy and music such as listening to binaural beats, classical music, Solfeggio frequencies or any calming music are natural, drug-free therapies for hypertension.
• Psychological Factors and Hypertension. Stress comes in many forms: emotional, mental, psychological, spiritual, thermal, environmental, electromagnetic and physical. Although stress is a normal part of living, it’s our perception and how we choose to deal with stressors that inevitably occur. Stress and anxiety cause chemicals to be released into the body that elevate blood pressure and reduce blood flow to the heart.
Scientific research has shown over and over that rumination on angry thoughts leads to physical manifestations of that pain. Bottled up betrayals and resentments bring on muscle tension, high blood pressure, place undue stress on our heart, and it’s even been proven to lower our immunity, cause anxiety and greater risk for depression.
Psychological factors including depression, anxiety, stress, panic disorder, loneliness, hostility, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and personality (type D) are associated with a significantly increased risk of developing hypertension, heart disease and coronary artery disease in both women (22%) and men (25%).
Nurture your relationships. Find ways to manage stress: meditation, prayer, journaling, yoga, spending time in Nature, breathing exercises, watching a funny movie, pet an animal, and simple, yet not easy—we must forgive. Forgiveness is what frees us from the chains that bind us to our pain and suffering. In the process, you may find that your muscle aches, upset stomach, high blood pressure, sleep improves and depression melts away as well.
• Hidden infections. 75% of individuals with hypertension often have underlying infections (bacterial, viral, Candida overgrowth, fungal, H. pylori, parasites, Lyme, mold, mycotoxins, and dental infections). The appropriate testing is provides valuable information to determine if a hidden infection may be the root cause of high blood pressure.
• Decrease alcohol consumption, which trigger adrenaline rushes, vascular damage and inflammation that cause blood pressure to soar. Excess alcohol also leads to insulin resistance, disrupts glucose, uric acid and triglycerides levels, affects brain and neurological function, liver health and gut health.
• Healthy thyroid function. Rule out thyroid dysfunction, hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, and thyroid autoimmune disorders (Hashimoto’s and Grave’s disease)
• Good sleep is crucial for reducing high blood pressure. Rule out sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome.
• Wear amber-colored blue blocking glasses inside at night after sunset, avoid bright screens, and dim the lights in your home, turn on salt lamps.
• Reduce toxin exposure, optimize detoxification pathways and healthy adrenal, thyroid, liver, gallbladder, colon/GI, lymphatic, and kidney function.
• Electropollution. Reduce WiFi, artificial lighting and EMF exposure. EMFs, WiFi, 5G, artificial blue light at night and dirty electricity have been linked to hypertension and many other modern diseases, health conditions and life-threatening health problems. Avoid bright screens, artificial lighting and blue light at night 3 hours before bedtime.
• Lose excess body fat with nutrient-dense, organic foods, a smart and sensible exercise program, move more, less screen time and sitting, more quality sleep and self-care, and reducing exposure to toxic chemicals.
• Daily exercise. This isn’t breaking news. Walk outdoors every day. Lift weights and strength train: there’s evidence that resistance training results in a more favorable balance in myocardial oxygen supply and demand than aerobic exercise due to the lower heart rate and higher myocardial perfusion pressure. Resistance training with weights can control and even prevent hypertension. [Circulation 116: 572-584, 2007]
• Sunlight. Vitamin D deficiency/insufficiency is associated with hypertension. Daily sunlight exposure helps to reduce blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Get outdoors every single day and watch the sunrise, again to watch the sunset, and also go outdoors for afternoon sun exposure. Research shows that sunlight exposure causes release of nitric oxide from the vascular endothelium, which normalizes blood pressure.
Each person is unique. Talk with your practitioner to determine the best targeted nutritional therapy for you.
“Vitamin D is very important in blood pressure control due to an effect on a hormone call renin that controls blood pressure. If vitamin D is low, renin is increased, and this in turn causes the arteries to constrict and increase the pressure of the blood.” —Mark Houston, MD, director of the Hypertension Institute in Nashville
Side effects from hypertension drugs: dizziness, increased risk of breast cancer, memory loss, nausea, asthma-like symptoms, joint pain and impotence in men.