It took me several years to find the most effective natural remedy for high blood pressure, mainly by experimentation and lots of research through medical journals, medical books, and internet forums. Sometimes, the truth is buried deep where you don’t expect it, such as honest product reviews on various retailer websites!
The Most Important Things About High Blood Pressure
The most important thing to know about high blood pressure is awareness. If you don’t know you have high blood pressure, that’s when you are really screwed. Once you know it, you need to be persistent to find what is causing it. I believe high blood pressure is a symptom, not a disease. The body is trying to tell us, “listen something isn’t right” and you better listen to your body as high blood pressure can quickly lead to organ damage, heart damage, atherosclerosis, stroke, and heart attacks.
The second most important thing is ownership. Take ownership of your problem and fix it. No one else will do the effort to figure out why your BP is higher it should be. This will require some effort and time but it is worth it bacause taking BP medication isn’t ever going to fix the underlying cause.
Lower Your Blood Pressure Systematically
Learn to Measure BP Correctly, Reliably, and Systematically
The first thing to do is measure your blood pressure properly. This means, you likely should not follow the instructions in the user’s manual of your BP monitor as-is because they are likely incorrect. The above link will lead you to an in-depth article about how to do it right and what to watch out for. Measure your BP in the morning before drinking coffee and eating breakfast, then before lunch, in the afternoon, and again in the evening. Ideally you would write all measurements down and use the exact same body position every time you measure. For a while these measurements need to be part of your routine, because only then the numbers have some meaning. BP measured in the doctor’s office is likely to be of little use for many reasons mentioned in the linked article above.
Please check the picture below and pay close attention to the level of the arm. It’s almost at 90 degrees, not as low as a desk. If you measure BP with your arm lower than that, you will measure BP values that are way too high (up to 40 points!), see link to the article above. The reason for this is that gravity pulls more blood down your arm and more pressure is needed to move the blood upward against gravity. That’s also the reason why if you measured BP in your legs while standing, you would likely measure a systolic pressure around 200, even if your arm BP is normal.
Find the BP Patterns in the Measurements You Gathered
It’s likely that you will find after a few days that there is a pattern, you might even see the same pattern I’m seeing. In the morning the BP is low and rises during the day, peaking around lunch and afternoon. In the evening it should come down again. You will also notice, certain foods, activities, and drinks raise BP for a certain amount of time. For example, many people (and I used to be one of them) have a caffeine response. The heart rate goes up and the BP goes up for a few hours after drinking the coffee; however, this only happens in some people, not everyone. Another thing to record is your pulse, which is also very important, especially in bed before rising.
Watch What You Eat
The following section I figured out by experimentation, and I encourage everyone to try the same because everybody’s body is different.
Things not to eat
Fast food, most canned food, and processed food because it’s salty food. The real issue with salt is that it creates a potassium deficiency. This was my first “discovery”. Eat fruits and salads high in potassium. Drink coconut water, it’s an excellent low-calorie potassium source.
How to tell you have a potassium deficiency: I had a feeling I had a potassium deficiency so I bought a product called “No-Salt” which is mostly potassium chloride. I mixed a teaspoon in water and drank it, and voila: my BP dropped almost immediately 15 points!
So for a while I thought this is good, an average 15 point reduction. But I was still not happy with my BP numbers.
Things to eat
Nitrate containing foods. The best by far are: red beets, celery sticks, spinach. I ate for months one can of low-sodium beets and simply mixed it in the salad. When fresh beets are available, I use them, too, especially because there is no salt to worry about. However, the beets are absolutely the best weapon against high blood pressure. We’re talking a solid average drop of 25 points, in addition to eating high potassium foods!
Nitrates from food are converted into nitric oxide, which helps relaxing the blood vessels.
Now I was on average 30-40 points down with my BP, well in the ‘optimal’ range. But I was still not satisfied. I wanted my blood pressure all the way down to the 90/60 point and, most importantly, I needed to reduce the peaks during the afternoons and during stressful activities. I never thought that was possible but luckily it was! Why should we reduce the BP that far? Because when you take your BP in the morning or when rested, you are relaxed. When you are stressed, worried, or physically active, the BP will rise, say up to 50 points above baseline is absolutely normal; hence, if you start the day with 95/65 the worst case would be about 145/80 or so during peak stress. If your baseline is already 140 in the morning, you could easily go over 180 when stressed and that we all agree isn’t good.
Olive Leaf Extract: I take it now three times a day: morning, lunch, afternoon or evening. It provides another drop of 10-20 points easily. Note that as with all natural products, some brands work better than others. Use a product containing 20% oleuropein and buy several brands. Test them out by taking your blood pressure (properly measured) before and about one hour later. My total dose is about 1,500mg to 2,000mg daily.
Flush-free Niacin in the form of inositol hexanicotinate: This type of niacin has no side effects in the doses we are talking about here. The standard niacin is cheaper but gives you a “flush” where the skin turns red and you feel warm and perhaps itchy. This was way too much for me. Luckily I tried inositol hexanicotinate. This type of niacin is perfect. It absolutely works. Unlike what I read in medical journals and various sources online, this type of niacin actually does reduce cholesterol as well, it reduced my LDL by 32%, taking it down from 129 to 87 with a very small dose of 500mg daily. The biggest authority in this subject is Abram Hoffer. In his book “Niacin” he describes that this type of niacin works as well as the regular niacin; you may need to increase the dose a little, however, to achieve the same results as with regular niacin.
I take my niacin in the morning 250mg after breakfast together with the olive leaf extract 500mg. Then I repeat the same doses after lunch. Niacin has an excellent effect on high blood pressure that lasts about 5-8 hours after each dose and attenuates the BP spikes due to stressful activities.
Why Combine Niacin with Olive Leaf Extract
Niacin and olive leaf extract at the doses of 500mg a day niacin and 1,500mg a day olive leaf extract are absolutely safe. The reason why this combination in addition to eating beets, celery, and high potassium foods is so powerful has to do with stress hormones. If you notice big swings in your BP numbers, it could be labile hypertension.
Labile hypertension may have many causes. I found that my BP numbers would increase with work-related stress. However, the niacin and olive leaf extract keep the stress hormones under control and also promote healing. Eventually I noticed that my BP stays down even if I take a ‘day or two off’ my regimen. I believe niacin is critical to managing BP swings due to stress and to heal your heart and blood vessels in the long-term.
Summary and Additional Info
- Eat high potassium foods: boiled potato but don’t overdo it as they contain too many carbs.
- Avocado is perfect
- Coconut water, two pints per day = 1,000mg potassium and only 90 calories
- Ground flaxseed mixed with milk, two tablespoons a day. Is high in omega 3 and very good for vascular and heart health
- Beets and other high nitrate foods: the most important “weapon”. High nitrate foods make the blood vessel relax for over 24 hours after eating. The body converts nitrates to nitric oxide, which is a vasodilator. Beets offer many other health benefits and are easily eaten daily and in greater quantities than other foods. Aim for one pound per day for a few months. For convenience you could use canned beets or precooked beets in a pouch. Canned beets without salt or low salt are available in BPA free cans.
- Celery works just as well, aim for one pound per day either celery or beets. Hint: wrap celery airtight before placing it in the fridge and it will last for weeks without turning rubbery.
- Sardines: provide up to 1.8 grams of omega 3 in just one can of 85 grams. Salmon is great, too, but overrated and too expensive. Sardines are also at the bottom of the food chain: clean fish and there is lots of it. And they are a convenient snack as well.
- Inositol hexanicotinate (flush free niacin): 250mg twice a day
- Olive leaf extract with 20% oleuropein, 500mg three times a day
- Eliminate processed foods to minimize sodium while increasing potassium. If you sweat a lot, however, you do need more salt.
- Vitamin C (at least 2,000mg daily), Vitamin E (400 IU as d-alpha tocopherol) and tocotrienols help, too.
- Make sure your blood pressure monitor works properly and that you use it properly. Buy a good one that is certified to be accurate. The most important guideline is the entire arm must be stretched out at heart level (mid-sternal), put on the cuff, wait 5 minutes, then take the BP numbers 3-5 times in a row with a minimal pause in between, around 15-60 seconds.
- Organic natto, one pack (40-50g) per day also reduces BP by about 5-10 points. It also contains 500μg of Vitamin K2 MK7, which is the highest known food source for this vitamin, and about 1,500FU nattokinase, which helps prevent blood clotting.
- Men and women in menopause could consider regular blood donations. It has been found that newer blood cells are more flexible and by losing blood, new blood cells are created, which in turn reduces stress in the vascular system.
- Another power food is kefir. After discovering it lowers my BP for about 10 points, I researched it and found it really wasn’t due to chance. Example study: Probiotic Kefir Antihypertensive Effects in Spontaneously Hypertensive Rats Involves Central and Peripheral Mechanisms
- I’m not a physician, don’t follow my advice but be inspired by it 🙂 If you take medications or have other health conditions it would make sense to contact a physician.
How long does it take to work?
I found the response is almost immediate to several days. My response to potassium chloride (No Salt powder) was immediate. My response to beets was within hours my BP dropped 20-30 points, and stayed down as I ate it daily. Niacin works within 30 minutes and lasts about 5+ hours. Sunflower lecithin also works within minutes but only lasts two hours. Tocotrienols and natto work after a few days and dropped my BP by about 5-10 points. The first time I took olive leaf extract my morning systolic blood pressure in the morning used to be 110 then it dropped to 88 after just three days taking it.
I am now seeing 90-100 in the morning, and optimal BP values (under 120/80) when I take random measurements during the day. I hope you will find something in the list above that will work for you. Feel free to comment below with your ideas and suggestions!
Good luck & stay healthy my friends!