16 Non-Drug Ways To Lower Blood Pressure (Continued)
9. Snack on celery. In a 1992 study, according to a New York Times article ("A New Look at an Ancient Remedy: Celery," June 9, 1992), a compound in celery relaxes the smooth muscle lining of blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. The equivalent of four ribs of celery a day (for a human being) was found to lower blood pressure by 12 to 14 percent in animal studies.
10. Go fish. Cold water fish, such as salmon, tuna, herring, mackerel, and halibut are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid), which may help to reduce blood pressure. If you're not a fish eater, try omega-3 enriched eggs, margarine, or peanut butter — or talk to your doctor about taking fish oil capsules.
11. Munch on walnuts. They're rich in the omega-3 fatty acid ALA (alpha-linolenic acid), which may also help lower blood pressure. For the best bang, go for English walnuts —they contain the most ALA. You can also get ALA from flaxseeds and tofu — or flaxseed, walnut, soybean, and canola oils.
12. Spice it up. Cooking with spices not only boosts the flavor of low-sodium fare, certain spices may help lower blood pressure as well. Fennel, oregano, black pepper, basil, and tarragon are all reported to help reduce blood pressure. Now Iranian researchers have found that the bittersweet herb saffron may also lower blood pressure.
13. A clove a day. A review of studies published over the past 50 years found that garlic supplements may be as effective in relieving hypertension as some commonly used blood pressure medications. Australian researchers note that the 600 mg to 900 mg dose of garlic powder used in most studies contains about 3.6 mg to 5.4 mg of allicin, the active ingredient in garlic. One fresh clove contains 5 mg to 9 mg of allicin.
14. Eat your spinach. Folate-rich foods, such as spinach, are associated with a lower risk of hypertension. A 2005 study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association found women who consumed at least 1,000 micrograms (mcg) of folate a day through either diet or supplements, had a decreased risk of hypertension compared with those who consumed 200 mcg a day. Other good sources of folate include any dark green leafy vegetables, legumes, and asparagus.
Reviewed by Susan Weiner, R.D., M.S., C.D.E., C.D.N. 10/08
- American Academy of Family Physicians. High Blood Pressure: Things You Can Do To Lower Yours. (Accessed July 28, 2008)
- American Diabetes Association. Treating High Blood Pressure in People With Diabetes. (Accessed July 29, 2008)
- American Heart Association. Blood Pressure. (Accessed July 23, 2009)
- American Heart Association. Your High Blood Pressure Questions Answered: Blood Pressure and Exercise. (Accessed August 1, 2008)
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010, press release: http://www.cdc.gov/media/pressrel/2010/r101001.html?s_cid=mediarel_r101001 (Accessed January 24, 2011).
- Chan, P., B. Tomlinson, Y.J. Chen, J.C. Liu, M.H. Hsieh, and J.T. Cheng. 2000. A double-blind placebo-controlled study of the effectiveness and tolerability of oral stevioside in human hypertension. British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology. 50:215-220
- Duke, James A. 1997. The Green Pharmacy: The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing Herbs. Emmaus, Pa.: Rodale Press.
- Fatehi, M., T. Rashidabady, and Z.F. Hassanabad. 2007. Effects of petals extracts of saffron on rat blood pressure and on responses induced by electrical field stimulation in the rat isolated vas deferens and guinea-pig ileum. Acta Horticulturae. 739:347-350
- Ferrari, Antonella, Giuseppina Costanzo, Annamaria Vetere, Ignazio Simonetti, Gian F. Gensini, and Pietro A. Modesti. Daily Sessions of Music Listening in Mild Hypertension Can Reduce 24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure after One Month. Paper presented at the 23rd Annual Meeting for the American Society of Hypertension, May 14-17, 2008 in New Orleans, La.
- Forman, J.P., E.B. Rimm, M.J. Stampfer, and G.C. Curhan. 2005. Folate intake and the risk of incident hypertension among US women. Journal of the American Medical Association. 293(3):320-9.
- Hawkley, L.C., C.M. Masi, J.D. Berry, and J.T. Cacioppo. 2006. Loneliness is a unique predictor of age-related differences in systolic blood pressure. Psychology and Aging. 21(1):152-64.
- Houston, Mark C. and Karen J. Harper. 2008. Potassium, magnesium, and calcium: Their role in both the cause and treatment of hypertension. Journal of Clinical Hypertension (Greenwich) 10(7 suppl 2): 2–11.
- Institute of Medicine. Dietary Reference Intakes: Electrolytes and Water. http://www.iom.edu/Object.File/Master/20/004/0.pdf (accessed August 4, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Calcium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/calcium/ (accessed August 12, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Essential Fatty Acids. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/othernuts/omega3fa/ (accessed August 4, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Magnesium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/magnesium/ (accessed August 12, 2008)
- Linus Pauling Institute. Micronutrient Information Center. Potassium. http://lpi.oregonstate.edu/infocenter/minerals/potassium/ (accessed August 4, 2008)
- Medline Plus, Herbs and Supplements. Omega-3 fatty acids, fish oil, alpha-linolenic acid. (accessed August 4, 2008)
- National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Your Guide To Lowering High Blood Pressure. (Accessed July 23, 2008)
- Norat, Teresa, Richard Bowman, Robert Luben, Ailsa Welch, Kay Tee Khaw, Nick Wareham, and Sheila Bingham. 2008. Blood pressure and interactions between the angiotensin polymorphism AGT M235T and sodium intake: a cross-sectional population study. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 88:392-397.
- Parr, A., F. Mellon, I. Colquhoun, and H. Davies. 2005. Dihydrocaffeoyl polymines (kukoamine and aillies) in potato (Solanum tuberosum) tubers detected during metabolite profiling. Journal of Agriculture Food Chemistry. 53(13):5461-5466.
- Pescatello, Linda S. Exercise and hypertension: Recent advances in exercise prescription. 2005. Current Hypertension Reports 7:281-286.
- Rainforth, Maxwell V., Robert H. Schneider, Sanford I. Nidich, Carolyn Gaylord-King, John W. Salerno and James W. Anderson. 2007. Stress reduction programs in patients with elevated blood pressure: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Current Hypertension Reports 9:520-528.
- Reid, K., O.R. Frank, N.P. Stocks, P. Fakler, and T. Sullivan. 2008. Effect of garlic on blood pressure: a systematic review and meta-analysis. BMC Cardiovascular Disorders. 8:13.
- Taubert, D., R. Roesen, C. Lehmann, N. Jung, and E. Schomig. 2007. Effects of low habitual cocoa intake on blood pressure and bioactive nitric oxide: a randomized controlled trial. Journal of the American Medical Association. 298(1):49-60.
- Webb, A.J., N. Patel, S. Loukogeorgakis, M. Okorie, Z. Aboud, S. Misra, R. Rashid, P. Miall, J. Deanfield, N. Benjamin, R. MacAllister, A.J. Hobbs, and A. Ahluwalia. 2008. Acute blood pressure lowering, vasoprotective, and antiplatelet properties of dietary nitrate via bioconversion to nitrite. Journal of Hypertension. 51(3):784-90.
- Whitaker, Julian M. 2001. Reversing Hypertension: A Vital New Program to Prevent, Treat, and Reduce High Blood Pressure. New York: Grand Central Publishing.
- Xin, X., J. He, M.G. Frontini, L.G. Ogden, O.I. Motsamai, and P.K. Whelton. 2001. Effects of alcohol reduction on blood pressure: a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials. Journal of Hypertension. 38(5):1112-7.
As I mentioned in an earlier post, one of the benefits that made it cost-effective for me to go with the real healthcare (HSA) plan rather than the phony (HRA) plan is that my company is now covering "preventative" medicines at $0 copay. The formulary for these, as stated by CVS/Caremark (my pharmacy benefits provider), covers all test strips, lancets, and control solutions. I dutifully get my doctor to write up prescriptions for all of my testing needs, submit...