WHEN HIGH OR LOW BLOOD PRESSURE HAS YOU CONCERNED...
natural ways to balance your blood pressure.
“Can garlic supplements lower blood pressure?, Is celery seed extract good for high blood pressure?, What is passion flower extract good for?”Answering your most common questions about blood pressure control.
How does blood pressure affect overall health?
One of the leading causes of death in Canada is High blood pressure (HBP) - otherwise known as hypertension. HBP can cause strokes, heart attacks and heart or kidney failure. It has also been related to dementia and to sexsual dysfuntion. A ‘normal’ blood pressure allows blood to flow and to deliver oxygen and food to different parts of the body. Blood pressure is measured with two numbers, for example 120/80 mmHg. The first of these numbers is called the systolic blood pressure and the second is referred to as diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure (SBP) is the highest blood pressure measurement and is recorded when the heart contracts. Diastolic blood pressure (DBP) is the lowest blood pressure measurement and is recorded when the heart relaxes and fills with blood. The higher your SBP or DBP are, and the longer they stay high, the more damage is made to the blood vessels. Strokes and heart attacks are caused by damaged blood vessels.
Blood pressure increases with age, and more than nine in ten Canadians will develop hypertension unless they follow a healthy lifestyle. Luckily there are several things you can do the prevent hypertension and to lower your blood pressure. These include:
- Be physically active for 30 to 60 minutes on most days of the week.
- Eating a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and other foods low in fat and salt.
- Reduce your salt intake.
- Limit alcohol consumption.
- Keep your body weight in a healthy range.
Garlic has a wide range of well-documented effects, including helping to lower blood pressure. Why it works: The beneficial effects of garlic can be attributed to its sulfur-containing compounds: allicin, diallyl disulfide, diallyl trisulfide, and others. Allicin is mainly responsible for the strong odor garlic has. This enzyme is activated by heat, oxygen, or water. This accounts for the fact that cooked garlic, odorless supplements and garlic oil products produce neither as strong an odor as raw garlic or nearly as powerful medicinal effects as raw fresh garlic.
Celery seed extract contains an important compound known as 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB) that is also responsible for the familiar flavor and odor of celery. Studies have shown that small amounts of 3nB can lower blood pressure by 12-14% and that it also lowered cholesterol by about 7%. A major advantage celery extract has over conventional drugs used in high blood pressure, is that drugs like beta-blockers, ACE inhibitors, and calcium channel blockers tend to significantly lower the blood flow to the brain. While this effect is helpful in reducing the likelihood of stroke, it often leaves patients feeling tired, depressed, dizzy, and forgetful. Celery extract, on the other hand, has actually been shown to not only help prevent strokes in animal studies, but to also improve blood flow and enhance energy production with the brain.
With a name like ‘passion flower’, it could only be something kind, gentle and calming from nature. Passion flower is said to reduce anxiety, improve sleep, reduce inflammation, lower insulin levels and to lower blood pressure.
The Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry conducted a study dosing with 50 milligrams per kilogram of body weight using passion flower skin extract. The study found that blood pressure levels were significantly reduced. Researchers believe that edulilic - a compound found in passion flower - may contribute to the reduced blood pressure levels. Additional studies have indicated that the pulp of the passion flower fruit increases levels of antioxidant enzymes and decreases levels of oxidized lipids that can cause damage from accumulated toxins and waste products in the body.
For those who suffer from hypertension (HBP); apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and a good diet, *drinking 1 cup of passionflower tea every day has been shown to help to regulate blood pressure levels.
So, where do you measure up? What blood pressure is normal?
The following blood pressure chart can help you figure out if your blood pressure is at an optimum level or if you'll need to take a few steps to improve your numbers.
Precautions & Recommendations
Talk with your healthcare provider about how to lower blood pressure naturally and safely. *Always check with your healthcare provider before making major diet and exercise changes. If you’re taking any medications, you’ll also want to make sure there are no drug interactions with any natural supplements you plan to take. A full healthy lifestyle, including healthy eating, is part of the Canadian recommendation for the management of high blood pressure. Changing your diet means a lifelong commitment to healthier lifestyle choices. Those who make small changes in their diet over a longer period of time, rather than a dramatic change all at once, are more likely to stay committed to a healthier diet.
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