There’s both bad and good news when it comes to blood pressure. What worries public health authorities is the fact that rates of high blood pressure, or hypertension, have doubled globally over the past 40 years. According to a study published in The Lancet, the number of people with hypertension worldwide rose from 594 million in 1975 to more than 1 billion in 2015, with the aging of the world’s population playing a key role. Rates have gone up most dramatically in poorer countries and among poorer populations.
The good news? Hypertension rates have actually gone down in the US. What’s more, intensive lowering of systolic pressure (the higher top number) could prevent more than 100,000 deaths in the US each year, according to a study presented before the American Society of Nephrology in 2016.
Severe hypertension requires medical intervention. Otherwise, natural aids may promote healthy blood pressure when included as part of an overall antihypertensive lifestyle; always discuss their usage with your healthcare practitioner.
|Name||What It Is||What It Does|
|Bilberry||Vaccinium myrtillus, a European relative of the American blueberry||Acts as a vasodilator, a substance that helps lower pressure by widening blood vessels; used to protect small vessels in the eye from hypertensive damage and to improve blood flow through veins|
|Coenzyme Q10||A substance found in most of the body’s cells; also known as ubiquinol; meat and fish are among the richest sources||Helps thin the blood, reducing pressure; also fights cholesterol oxidation while helping the body to maintain healthy glucose levels and cardiac muscle cells to generate energy|
|Electrolytes|| Minerals in solution within the body; calcium, magnesium and potassium are among the major electrolytes||Electrolytes help maintain fluid balance within the body, which affects blood pressure; magnesium and potassium help regulate heartbeat|
|Garlic||Allium sativum L., used in cultures around the world as a culinary and medicinal herb||An all-around health tonic that contains pressure-lowering substances; also appears to fight the development of atherosclerosis, a hardening of blood vessel walls, and abnormal blood clotting|
|Grape Seed Extract*||Taken from the seeds of Vitis vinifera, common grapes that are eaten fresh, dried as raisins or made into juice and wine||Contains oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes, or OPCs, which have shown an ability to improve small-vessel circulation; has reduced blood pressure in clinical trials, especially in younger people|
|Hawthorn*||Various species of Crataegus, a thorny shrub in the rose family with red berries and glossy leaves||Has long been used by European herbalists as an all-around cardiac herb, often in people with early congestive heart failure; helped reduce pressure among people with type 2 diabetes in one study|
|Hydroxytyrosol*||A compound responsible for much of extra virgin olive oil’s beneficial effects on health||Has improved arterial elasticity, a key component of blood pressure control, in studies; may help hinder the development of atherosclerosis and diabetes|
|L-cysteine||An amino acid, or protein building block, found in animal foods and some plant foods||Has shown antihypertensive effects in lab studies; has also been shown to reduce insulin resistance, a key factor in diabetes control|
|Omega-3||EPA and DHA, the long-chain varieties, are found in fish and oils taken from fish and other marine animals||Found to lower blood pressure in an analysis of 17 clinical studies; has also been found to raise levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol and lower those of triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood|
|Oregano||Origanum vulgaris, a kitchen herb that is native to the Mediterranean region||Contains substances that have reduced blood pressure and protected heart muscle cells in lab studies|
|Resveratrol *||The healthful component in red wine; Japanese knotweed (Polygonum cuspidatum) contains greater amounts||Inhibits excessive proliferation of muscle cells within blood walls and stimulates release of nitric oxide, key factors in maintaining healthy blood pressure|
|Vitamin D||A fat-soluble nutrient created in skin that is exposed to sunshine; food sources include fish and egg yolks||Helps decrease the risk of hypertension and maintain proper levels of the electrolytes calcium and potassium; also helps the body secrete insulin, helping to control glucose levels|
*Generally available only in supplement form in the US.
NOTE: Always consult with your healthcare practitioner for help in designing a supplementation program, especially if you have a pre-existing condition.
More Heart-Healthy Remedies
|Name||What It Is||What It Does|
|Folate, also a B vitamin, is mainly found in green vegetables and beans; B12 occurs in animal-based foods||Reduces homocysteine, a metabolic byproduct linked to increased cardiovascular risk|
|Plant Sterols||Cholesterol-like compounds found in wheat germ and bran, various oils and other sources||Lowers total and LDL cholesterol by hampering cholesterol absorption within the digestive tract; has also shown anti-inflammatory and glucose-controlling properties|
|Taurine||An amino acid found in fish and other animal-based food||Helps control cholesterol levels and protect heart cells from damage caused by calcium imbalances; may reduce cardiac risk associated with high cholesterol level|
|Vitamin E||A family of eight related compounds found in oils, nuts and other foods||Helps fight oxidation in the fatty parts of cells; increased intake has been associated with reductions in heart attack incidence and heart disease mortality|