Monday, May 21, 2012

Lower Blood Pressure Naturally

Recently, Chris Kresser published a series on dietary salt (sodium chloride) and health (1).  One of the issues he covered is the effect of salt on blood pressure.  Most studies have shown a relatively weak relationship between salt intake and blood pressure.  My position overall is that we're currently eating a lot more salt than at almost any point in our evolutionary history as a species, so I tend to favor a moderately low salt intake.  However, there may be more important factors than salt when it comes to blood pressure, at least in the short term. 

One factor that Chris brought up is the potassium content of the diet.  Potassium intake is strongly related to blood pressure.  Controlled trials have shown that potassium supplementation can reduce blood pressure by a significant amount in people with hypertension (high blood pressure) (2).  However, there are better ways to get potassium than via supplements.  Vegetables and fruits are excellent sources of potassium, including starchy root vegetables such as potatoes and sweet potatoes. 

Simply replacing grains in the diet with root vegetables will greatly increase potassium intake, as shown by the following graph, illustrating the USDA percent recommended intake from a 100-calorie portion of each food:

Refined grains contain very little potassium, but even whole grains don't compare to potatoes and sweet potatoes.  You can make up for this in a grain-based diet by increasing fruit and vegetable intake, but the fact remains that at a given level of fruit/vegetable intake, a diet in which starch comes from root vegetables will contain more potassium than one in which starch comes from grains.

Besides increasing the intake of potassium-rich foods, here are a few other strategies that can reduce blood pressure naturally in people with hypertension:
  1. Fat loss.  If you carry excess body fat, losing some or all of it can help reduce blood pressure.  This is true regardless of the method used to lose fat, suggesting that the excess body fat and/or excess calorie intake that typically accompanies it is the culprit.
  2. Exercise.  Although exercise can transiently increase blood pressure, over time as fitness increases, both blood pressure and pulse rate decline in previously unfit people with hypertension.
  3. Improving the quantity and quality of sleep.  Short sleep duration is associated with the development of hypertension, obesity, and other problems (3).  Correcting sleep apnea reduces blood pressure (4).  Quality sleep is a major foundation of good health.  If it's 10 PM or later where you are, why not make a commitment to go to bed right after finishing this post?
  4. Hibiscus tea.  Commonly consumed as a pleasant herbal tea in the Middle East, this one is quite effective and has been supported by several placebo-controlled trials (5).  It also tastes good.
  5. Chocolate.  Several placebo-controlled trials have shown that dark chocolate or cocoa reduces blood pressure in people with high or even high-normal blood pressure (6, 7).  Dark chocolate also appears to increase insulin sensitivity and the skin's resistance to sunburn if eaten regularly, but that's for another post.  All effects are probably related to chocolate's polyphenol content.  I prefer plain toasted cocoa nibs because they don't encourage overeating, but dark chocolate (70+ percent cocoa mass) also works if you're able to include it in moderation as part of an overall healthy eating pattern.  You may want to avoid eating chocolate in the evening because it can interfere with sleep.
  6. What did I leave out?  Put it in the comments.
These simple strategies are worth considering as a natural treatment for hypertension, and they should also have positive effects on overall health.  Hypertension is a medical condition with potentially serious consequences, and I'm not a medical doctor, so this is not medical advice.  Please discuss treatment strategies with your doctor. 


Dave Y said...

My wife has been struggling with high blood pressure, and this article was well timed for us. She has already lost 40lbs, and is exercising more, but when she asked me for advice I told Her the mighty potato would be a great way to increase Her potassium levels - nice to see you agree. I'm Afraid to tell Her about the chocolate, but will definitely encourage her to try the hibiscus tea. Thank you.

Mike Kabbani said...

I don't have any sources handy but I'm pretty sure dehydration can cause hypertension in some cases. Stimulants can also increase blood pressure so limiting them would be a good idea.

Some other things to look for:

- Reducing stress
- Improving circulation (i.e taking frequent breaks to move when sitting for a long time/taking a hot bath or going to a sauna [1])
- Practicing relaxation techniques such as meditation/focused breathing.
- Reducing TV/Computer time - especially things that can cause a stress response like competetive video games.

[1] - Shin, Tae Won et al. “Effects of Immersion in a Hot Tub on Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Patients.” Hypertension Canada 74 (2003): 6-7.

Anonymous said...

The all-important magnesium

Nitric oxide precursors for vasodilation Nitrates too, logically.

Vitamin c to reduce uric acid which antagonizes nitric oxide

Okay so that all kind of means eat a lot of green vegetables, but adds a few more ways that they do it. How about...

Sodium bicarbonate Not sure of the mechanism, someone wanna help out?

Great idea for a post.

Sly said...

One of the best NO precursors for me is combination of citruline + arginine in right amount. I use supplement composition based on Louis Ignarro recommendations.

I also use garlic, preferably fresh, sometimes garlic extract capsules.

Nigel Kinbrum said...

250ml of Blossom Hill Californian Red wine made my BP drop to relative normality in about 10 minutes.

I was due for a pre-op BP test which, if too high (it was too high a week previously) would have meant the op being postponed.

gunther gatherer said...

Hi Stephan,

I agree with you that salt is probably not the major culprit in high blood pressure, but there may be other reasons why high salt intake is bad for us. One of them is kidney disease. Another is that it seems to swell adipocytes and favor fat gain in mice and humans. And still another is that it simply adds food reward to your calories, encouraging you to eat more than you would without salt. The added fat you gain from this will cause lots of other downstream problems not directly related to salt intake.

I tend to believe this means it has a direct and overwhelming affect on your hypothalamus, taste receptors, nerve terminals and reward pathways. In other words, it can be an addictive drug just like sugar when abused.

About the grain to tubers comparison chart, I think if you're looking for a potassium-to-sodium balance, you will actually have to choose between eating less (or no) salt or eating more fruits and vegetables to compensate. Hence if you eat less salt, you can eat more grains.

I choose to look at it as the same as the omega 3 to 6 issue: better to take out the extra omega 6s (vegetable oils) than to add omega 3. So I take out salt altogether instead of trying to add tubers and bananas on top. As an aside, I notice that I definitely eat less because of it.

WilliamS said...

"What did I leave out?"

Low carb diets.

The low-carb docs have had spectacular success with blood pressure, along with all the other problems associated with "metabolic syndrome." People can often reduce or discontinue their blood pressure meds.

Gretchen said...

You left out greens.

Jenny said...

If you look closely at the studies connecting blood pressure with chocolate consumption, you'll see that the actual amount by which blood sugar dropped was very small. Here's one meta-study that concludes that systolic blood pressure dropped -3.2 ± 1.9 mmHg, P = 0.00 and diastolic -2.0 ± 1.3 mmHg, P = 0.003).

These might be statistically significant, but not significant in terms of what they mean for health. And note the range--significant numbers of people saw their BP rise.

Much as I love chocolate, I wouldn't suggest eating it as a health measure.

Also, the most heavily publicized studies were funded by Ritter. So they must be treated with some skepticism.

LeonRover said...

As Jenny says WRT chocolate, the effect has been demonstrated - to the researchers' level of statistical significance.

In many cases, the effect size for HT meds is also quite low.

However, this is rarely explained by the script-writer for a variety of reasons, including the possibility of litigation.

(On my fathers' death, we found THREE different HT meds in his bathroom cabinet. It is clear that he did not question the authority of his doctors and this in a man who spent time towards the end of his career performing crop research, to the extent of being awarded a PhD at age 63.)

CoachJB1974 said...

What about high blood pressure which comes on during pregnancy? Same advice?

John said...


There are some published successes with Ca. Though Ca seems to be less "sexy" than Mg, especially in the "paleo" world, the results of Mg supplementation are not as impressive.

Nephropal has written about beets reducing blood pressure, but the blog is private now. I have seen that vitamin D regulates renin-angiotensin system and may help.

LPJohnson said...

100% anecdotal evidence:
I perform myocardial perfusion studies on patients (Nuclear stress tests). For this exam, we require patients be off beta blockers and calcium channel blockers for 24-48 hours, ACE inhibitors, diuretics, and Angiotensin receptor blockers (and other BP meds) are not taken the morning of. Also eliminated is coffee and cigarettes for 24hours, and they are fasting at least 4 hours. Resting blood pressures in these patients rarely exceed 120/80 (and these are all CAD, or intermediate to high risk for CAD patients) even in patients diagnosed with "uncontrollable hypertension." I'm left wondering the role of stimulants in hypertension, because I am not seeing high BP's in patients that skip their morning coffee, Coke, and cigarettes. (or is it the skipped breakfast pastry? hmmm)

Unknown said...

suggest you look at celery seed extract

3-nbutylphthalide or 3nB


and a product called Peptace Fish Peptides

Steve Parker, M.D. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Parker, M.D. said...

Stephan, your discussion of potassium supplementation reducing blood pressure was news to me. I notice your reference is 21 years old.

FYI, a 2010 journal article noted that we don't know if potassium supplementation lowers blood pressure. (I haven't read it yet, just scanned it briefly.)

I deleted my post from a few minutes ago because I forgot to link to the journal article, if I may:


Brian said...

My definition of Low Carb (I eat 100-150g starch per day) definitely dropped my BP and allowed me to eliminate my meds.

djpope said...

Hey Steve Parker, really cool article. I find it incredibly difficult to find a clear answer in research and its really frustrating. Dr. Mark Houston has a pretty nifty book about lowering blood pressure and references a lot of studies showing supplementation lowering blood pressure. Maybe that will help? Or we'll just be even more confused by the plethora of conflicting research information. Great post by the way Stephan.

Chemical Blender said...

I really thought the salt thing had finally been debunked. I guess that study is not out yet. It's interesting that in every European study salt intake and BP show zero correlation, but US studies show correlation. Some bright researches finally asked the question, why the difference; and they determined that it was the type of salt. Last I saw, they were starting to study unrefined (european) vs. refined (US) salt and BP correlation. It turns out that too much sodium chloride without other salts causes an imbalance in a combination of important cations necessary for proper regulation of arterial wall pressure. This effect turns out to be minor compared to carbohydrate intake. Dr. Michael Schechter has shown in real time that high carbohydrate foods distend brachial arteries for hours after ingestion (content(dot)onlinejacc(dot)org/cgi/reprint/53/24/2283(dot)pdf). Besides that, there is an enormous volume of research that has shown repeatedly that reducing carbohydrate intake will reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients as well as pharmacological treatment.
On a personal note, I suffered from persistent high hypertension (180/110 was common resting BP and I was not over weight or diabetic) and when the doctors came at me with all of the prescriptions I turned away from them (and I'm a med. chemist). Within a week of turning to a very low carb diet, my BP turned into a normal resting BP of 115/65. My diet change included supplementing with magnesium aspartate, vit. D3, vit. K2 (both MK-4 and MK-7) and fish oil; but this was something my doctors where shocked by (and they shouldn't be, this is simple biochemistry). So, for all of you who are experiencing hypertension I recommend you start with your diet first, and when you go very low carb you need an increase in salt intake (use unrefined salts, celtic grey or himalyan) because you will not retain it the same as before.

Beth@WeightMaven said...

Practicing deep slow breathing can help lower blood pressure (see here and here).

I got turned onto this idea after using a Resperate device as part of my neurofeedback therapy. I quickly figured out that the device was unnecessary (a clock with a second hand works fine).

This practice plus presumably weight loss got me off BP meds.

Activia said...

You forgot Stress Management

TanyaL said...

For my husband, either magnesium supplementation or a paleo low carb diet lower his blood pressure fairly significantly--about 15 pts systolic, 10 pts diastolic, within a week or so of starting.

We did those two things separately, so I'm guessing, at least for him, grains and/or higher carb are increasing the amount of magnesium he needs for some reason.

Mary Parlange said...

I have been consistently frustrated with my blood pressure. I'm at or above 140/90 most days. I'm fairly lean (145 lbs at 5'11"), I run 5-8 miles 4x a week, I have been supplementing magnesium and I eat "primal". I have a banana, a half avocado, a couple squares of Lindt 90% and 1-2 cups of coffee every day. I drink plenty of water & I don't salt my food that much. I'm not very stressed out.

I guess it's just genetic? After trying everything I could think of with no change, I finally started taking 2.5 mg of lisinopril (my doctor said that was a "homeopathic dose") and it came right down.

Maybe I should try the hibiscus, but would that necessarily be better? How bad is it to take an ACE inhibitor in low doses like this?

Stephan Guyenet said...

Hi Steve,

I cited an older review because it was the only one that specifically addressed the effect of potassium on hypertensives in the abstract. There are over a dozen controlled trials that have shown potassium lowers blood pressure; here is a more recent example:

I looked at the review article you cited. Basically, they cited two meta-analyses, one of which concluded that potassium reduces BP (the one I cited), and the other which concluded that it doesn't. The former included many more studies and participants than the latter, but I don't know how the two compare in quality.

I think the placebo-controlled studies make it clear that supplemental potassium can lower BP to a meaningful degree at least in some situations. Not sure what accounts for the heterogeneity between studies though.

bentleyj74 said...

If you pulse frozen banana chunks with cocoa and vanilla/almond extract it makes "ice cream" that is to die for [evidently not from high bp though]. Then you can have potassium and chocolate at the same time with no added sugar or fat. Low calorie too.

Anonymous said...

I would like to see some trials where they compare K, Mg, Mg + K and placebo on blood pressure. Because there might be a synergistic effect with the different minerals that help relax blood vessels.

Galina L. said...

My mom at 75 normalized her BP after switching on a LC diet last May, has not been using her meds still, lost only 23 lb during first 3 weeks on a diet. She was not extremely overweight to begin with, non-sedentary, lives on a 4-th floor without an elevator, buys groceries without a car.

My guess that eating less often within more narrow window(any food) may as a result limit the amount of total sodium consumed during the day at least in some cases. My mom was snacking all the time on different foods before I convinced her to try my diet. It took me 3 years and visit to my native country to convince her. I am a big advocate for the IF.

Anonymous said...

Since we're talking electrolytes and hypertension, let's not forget magnesium, which acts like a calcium channel blocker to reduce blood pressure.

-50% of the US population is deficient.
-Magnesium deficiency is associated with hypertension
-High sugar diets cause increased renal excretion of magnesium.
-Ironically, thiazide HTN meds increase renal excretion of Mg+
-Birth control lowers Mg+
-Digoxin lowers Mg+
-Over supplementation with Ca+ distorts physiological Ca+:Mg+ ratios and induces inflammation
-Zinc over supplementation inhibits Mg+ absorption

With Mg+ deficiency, potassium deficiency follows. Adding only potassium to correct this is inferior to adding both Mg+ and potassium

There is a ton of stuff going on between calcium, magnesium, sodium, and potassium. If one is out of balance, the whole system starts to fail.

LPJohnson said...

Thank you! We had some almost-too-ripe bananas that I tossed in the freezer while making dinner. 30 seconds in the cuisinart and we have "ice cream." my 4 yo has milk intolerance,he's asking for more. Awesome

Jeff D said...

Dietary nitrite to nitrate conversion (leafy greens, beet kvass). Nitric oxide - inhaling through the nose. Alcohol.

Puddleg said...

Don't you mean nitrous oxide?

Fructose is linked to sodium retention and hypertension through its effects on kidneys.
This may be the reason for different results on salt in the US.

Meat is a reasonably good source of potassium.

Magnesium is worth supplementing.
Dairy (calcium), protein, and EPA/DHA all show positive effects on BP.
Low carb diets, of course.

Adam said...

I've had high blood pressure most of my adult life (160-170/100-120). Docs prescribed blood thinners like Plavix and I took them for 2 decades. They lowered my BP slightly (150/110 range), but nothing drastic.

2 years ago, I started a low carb paleo diet. BOOM. In 1 month, 120/80. Now it's always 100-120/55-70.

I don't eat any starches or sugar. Just green leafy veggies.

Mario Iwakura said...

Let's not forget diseases that are associated with hypertension, for example diabetes, hypothyroidism (pubmed 11923811), hyperthyroidism (high systolic, normal diastolic) and hyperparathyroidism (21403888).

Diabetes is probably why low carb diets works for hypertension. If you see the results of pubmed 19598004, hypertension is clearly connected with glucose control (HbA1c), but take a long time to show it's effects on arterial stiffness (10y+).

Jane said...

Hypertension has recently been linked to excess mitochondrial superoxide
..which is interesting for two reasons. First, mitochondrial superoxide is increased by angiotensin, which is the target of many antihypertensive drugs; and second, excess mitochondrial superoxide is also an important cause of insulin resistance.

Mitochondrial superoxide is detoxified by manganese. It's true potatoes have more potassium than bread, but they have far less manganese. Of course, white bread has had most of its manganese removed (~80%, according to USDA), but even white bread appears to have more than potatoes.

BTW, USDA data also seem to suggest that wheat is not that much lower in potassium than potatoes. These data say wholemeal bread has about 3 mg/g, flour 4, potato flesh 4, skin 6. Please check my sums. Other grains are much lower.

Jackie Patti said...

After my MI, I was on ever-increasing doses of ACE inhibitors and beta blockers and two years into treatment, my bp hadn't gone down at all. I was testing several times a day to get a "real" picture and it just didn't work.

After medical science maxed out in helpfulness, I started exploring alternative things.

Raw milk lowered my bp more than halfway, to the top end of the normal range, without the meds. That little personal experiment is what got me gung-ho about traditional foods.

A bit later, I joined a Yahoo group to learn how to self-treat my adrenal insufficiency. They pushed sea salt, though I'd been eating a largely salt-free diet for years, I eventually succumbed to the argument.

They ALSO suggested if rbc levels of K were below 70% of range, it cause hypertension. Basically, rbc levels in an appropriate range compare to serum levels at about 4.0-4.3 (serum tests are much cheaper to repeat over and over again than rbc tests).

I took K-dur until my serum tests were in the suggested range and my bp came down as much as with raw milk, to a nice midrange normal value.

Because I'm an insulin-using T2 diabetic, I have to increase the K-Dur with insulin increases (insulin causes K loss). But if I keep my serum level in the suggested range, and drink my raw milk each week, I have no hypertension.

WITHOUT MEDS. I was "borderline" for two decades and only accepted the drugs after my MI when I was high as heck.

And now... I'm not even borderline, but normal. Just raw milk and potassium.

I'm an anecdote, I realize that. I used to be a biochemist, anecdotes aren't science.

However, one feels a tad differently about it when one IS the anecdote.

Anonymous said...


I like your final sentences....." I used to be a biochemist, anecdotes aren't science.

However, one feels a tad differently about it when one IS the anecdote."

I think sometimes people forget that. Great post.

LeonRover said...

Where clinical & medical science has worked in a useful way, it provides observed and hence repeatable evidence of effects observed in the number of people in the sample and over the time of the study.

"This intervention worked in this way in this population."

Any individual using the information in the study has to judge how closely that individual meets the conditions which describe the sample, and thus whether the intervention studied has some chance of success in the individual's case.

A case study may merely be anecdotal or it may be scientific. If scientific, one uses measurements of those data which may apply - both on starting conditions, and on the interventions. Finally, one has measurements at the end of the interventions.

One's own self observations may merely be anecdotal, but may also be scientific.

Acu-Greg said...

Jane, regarding the potassium content of potatoes vs flour, I think you compared by weight, whereas Stephan's compared by calories. I think the latter makes more sense in the context of an individuals diet for two reasons. The same weight of flour contains about 4 times the calories of potato, and flour is always hydrated in cooking, which will change the weight.

Steven said...

Purely anecdotal, but my BP is usually 100/60 or lower. Potatoes are my main carb source. I usually have them twice a day. I do add a dash of salt to them, but nothing else.

My sodium intake is most likely well below the standard recommendation of 2,500mg/day. When I eat at restaurants and consume a sodium-rich meal, I pay for it in other ways--wake up in the middle of the night sweating like crazy and thirsty as hell.

PJNOIR said...

I have noticed that since losing weight and eating a Paleo Low carb high FAT diet, I do not sunburn not even my left arm while driving. because of the weight loss a spend more time outdoors without a shirt and of course never a sun screen. whata think?

Ned said...

PJNOIR, I too have noticed that I don't sunburn the way I used to. In my case, since I don't stay on Paleo/low carb as strictly as I should, I wonder if one of the supplements I take has made a difference. They are fish oil, vitamin D, magnesium, and vitamin K2.

For me none of these supplements has reduced my blood pressure (but I'm very overweight, so don't expect miracles). However, a ketogenic diet does reduce my readings 10-15 points. It takes nearly two weeks for the reduction to occur, which puzzles me. I would have thought that the fluid loss that occurs about 3 days into the diet would trigger the reduction.

Anonymous said...

More: folate Not at all insignificant.

Eva said...

The lessening of sunburn tendencies has been well noted in the paleo community and appears not to be the result of supplements as not all paleos take supplements. Some hypothesize that when the skin is healthier, it is slower to burn. This adds a new twist to the research that shows that the one thing most strongly correlated with skin cancer is how many sunburns you have had. It was/is assumed by most scientists that sunburns damage the skin, leading to cancer, but seeing as how correlation does not imply causation, it could be a case where unhealthy skin leads to both cancer and sunburns but sunburns may not actually be causal by themselves.

Jane said...


Thanks. That would mean, the bread hydrates in your digestive tract, and the potassium is diluted. So the potassium content would be just as Stephan says.

Barkeater said...

I think some concept of daily intake needs to be added to the discussion. The recommended daily intake for potassium is 4700mg. 4.7 grams. Vs. 2.3 grams for salt. It is well known that Americans fall way short of the RDI for potassium, and that the sodium to potassium ratio is way out of balance. Other ratios are important too, such as those involving magnesium (shortfall), K-2, calcium (overdosing if supplemented), Vit. D, etc.

Look at Stephan's chart. 7 helpings of potatoes or sweet potatoes will get you to 100% of the RDI. The helpings of most other foods eaten each day are not moving you to anywhere near the RDI. With normal eating patterns there is chronic deficiency.

I use "Lite" salt for cooking, which contains potassium chloride in a 50-50 combination with sodium chloride. Who knows if this has risks, but it improves the ratio.

Potassium supplementation is sort of impractical. As I understand it, because potassium is dangerous to overdose, the dose limit on supplements is 99mg. That means that to get a third of the RDI you would take 16 pills. Forget that.

I have just fine BP but easily get leg cramps upon exercise. Getting my potassium up, together with mag and with careful hydration before exercise, I have it fully under control. As a side effect my BP is 10 points lower than it used to be, but my diet is more paleo-ish now.

LeonRover said...

I, too, have for some 7 years taken to using Na-Lite(K-rich) salt products.

My reasons for so doing arose from considering K+ and Na+ concentrations at cell membrane boundaries, and my familiarity with theory of osmosis.

Darya Pino said...

I've also seen data that a high-fructose diet makes the effects of sodium worse. So a Western diet that is high is salt and sugar, and low in potassium is the perfect storm for high bp.

Susan Young said...

@jpatti How much raw milk do you drink per week?


You have mentioned good tips to avoid risk of low blood pressure. I do agree with you. I was suffering from long time illness, I joined global community communications alliance .They help me to get rid of it. They cure mentally & physically.

Bibbit said...

I have recently become vegetarian and I would recommend it to anyone who has health problems. Granted, you have to be careful that you are eating enough protein. Since eating meatless I have had more energy and feel healthier all around. I also have better skin due to my new veggie diet. I would advise giving a vegetarian style diet a try.

check out my blog!

Galina L. said...

I have a lady-friend who had been a vegetarian for 8 years after she was treated successfully for a kidney cancer, and one kidney was removed. She was satisfy with her diet at the beginning, but now thinks she spent too much time doing so because the quality of her hear and skin got worse, she also started to have problems with a hunger and with controlling a weight gain. She is a MD, and took all necessary supplements.She is not a vegetarian any longer.

Jane said...

Galina, could you tell me please, what supplements did your vegetarian friend take? Were they 'necessary' because she was eating refined carbs? If she was lacto-vegetarian she should have been getting everything she needed, as long as she ate only whole foods.

Her symptoms sound to me very much like micronutrient deficiencies, which suggests the supplements she was taking were not the right ones. If one can say any supplements are the right ones.

Galina L. said...

@Jane, she left for different state for summer (we live in Florida) . I know for sure about vitamins B, of course, and O3. My impression was her vegetarian diet was too low in fat. She didn't avoid milk products and occasionally ate fish. She started to feel better after beginning to eat eggs for a breakfast and to consume more protein in general. My speculation she was lacking of vit.A.
I will ask her in a future about details.

Richard Nikoley said...

Hi Stephan

Way back when, 2007, I started this whole path because of BP running 150-160/100-110 most of the time. With heavy resistance trainig alone, 2 x per week, 30 min each, I got down to 130-140/85-90 in just a few weeks. Counterintuitively, for me anyway, the very lowest pressures I'd measure was in the couple hours after the gym.

On the sodium issue, I've found that my tolerance for it has diminished over the years on a Paleoish way. I can't hardly eat bacon strips, anymore. I use them as bits in salad instead or sprinkled on other things sometimes but at any rate, way less quantity than before. I almost never season with salt while cooking. Sometimes a light sprinkle on prepared food suffices. Virtually all processed, crap in bags tastes horribly salty to me now.

Unknown said...

Ideal blood-pressure goals? "We have no idea"

"And there is the big problem of the target for BP treatment that everybody has alluded to. Despite decades of trials, we still are uncertain as to what level we should lower BP to achieve maximal cardiovascular protection. And remember that we have absolutely no information on the BP value to be achieved when ambulatory or home BP is considered," he noted.

Neonomide said...

Cofactor Q10: Reductions in blood pressure generally are in the range of 17/12 and are dose-dependent. Some studies even showed that CoQ10 is more effective and safer than the use of antihypertensive drugs.

Some other great stuff from Alex Vasquez also include fasting, paleo/MD diets and such:

Neonomide said...

Stephan, would you consider reviewing the studies presented here in the discussion and add some of the most interesting ones to your main post? I guess some people red just the post, methinks.

I'll add that CoQ10 has at least one contra-indication: it affects the level of drug Coumadin in blood.

LeonRover said...


I agree with the honest comments you found in that review.

My friend was provided with an ambulatory BP monitor for a 24 hour period. The result showed that during her 70-100 heart-BPM activities, her average blood pressure was significantly lower than when previously taken by sphygmanometer.

As a result, the GP backed away from prescribing BP tabs.

Jonathan Byron said...

Sodium in the form of sodium bicarbonate does not raise blood pressure, but sodium chloride does ... could it be the chloride that is problematic? Limiting salt can increase renin, angiotensin and act in other ways that are counter-productive.

Eating two or more servings of salty miso soup per day is associated with a lower risk of hypertension; ACE inhibiting peptides are stronger than the salt.

Anonymous said...

One element I think you left out that is vital is Vitamin D. There is a strong link between hypertension and low levels of Vitamin D. It's been proven that taking adequate levels of Vitamin D supplements will lower blood pressure. Some people will not have this problem if they get enough sun. But for me, I'm of african/black descent (so I need more naturally) and I live in Chicago, which is cold and dark most of the time. Also if you are overweight, fat cells can inhibit the production of Vitamin D in your body.

In closing, I would say take Vitamin D supplements.

Rodney said...

Dr. Herbert Benson's book "The Relaxation Response" showed that relaxation exercises and meditation could also reduce blood pressure in people with hypertension.

LanceStrish said...

Latest DrG vol9 is out at 50min: sweet vs purple potato on inflammation scores (also discusses leaky gut, endotoxin, IBS)

Here is video / studies on beets and blood pressure from vol7 and athletic performance

cedo said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jennifer draper said...

Extra intake of salty foods needs to be reduced, so that they don’t raise the BP levels. Ensure to eat fresh green vegetables which have natural sodium and try to cook with less salt. Fried foods and processed foods could have loads of salts, so just go for fresh foods. This will help your lower your blood pressure.

Jonathan Steele of said...

As to salt: table salt is bad, unprocessed sea salt with trace minerals can bring blood pressure down. The salt should be dissolved in the mouth and then drink the water (called the water cures protocol).

Next raw beets or raw beet juice. Several thoughts on how it works but it works in minutes.
Best to only do it a couple of days and then not or the next 5 days.

MT said...

On you can find out if any of the food or food supplement mentioned in this blog works for you. Unfortunately, it takes some weeks before you can have an answer and you have to take your blood pressure several times a week, but, on the other hand, it also keep a very good log of your blood pressure which my doctor liked very much when she saw it.

sudha said...

Old grand ma's advice- early morning , on an empty stomach, mix half tsp of honey and cinnamon powder and consume it everyday. It worked for me. So it should for anyone :)

BPChecker said...

Food-wise, not having a good amount of salt intake was a killer for me. I can't stand bland food. But luckily, I've found that hot sauce (Tabasco specifically) can be a great low sodium way to make non-salty foods much more interesting. Although needs to be of course combined with other measures to manage blood pressure effectively, for example using a home monitoring unit.

Since I got a home blood pressure monitoring unit, I've been much better at keeping it in check because there's no more guessing or waiting for symptoms (headache, etc).

Check out this site for some pointers on blood pressure checkers

ALF said...

Hi Stephan, I know that this post is from 2012 but we just designed a high blood pressure infographic you might find interesting for your readers. Feel free to share it: High Blood Pressure Infographic