High blood pressure is a problem that affects a large proportion of people around the globe. World Health Organization figures show that two-fifths of adults, aged 25 and over, had raised blood pressure in 2008. That’s a staggering two in every five people who could benefit from bringing down their blood pressure to improve their cardiovascular health and reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke.
What Causes High Blood Pressure?
The exact causes of high blood pressure or ‘hypertension’ vary from person to person, with some inheriting a genetic susceptibility to the condition and others developing secondary high blood pressure as a result of an underlying condition such as kidney disease or diabetes.
But there are a number of factors that can increase your risk of developing the problem, many of which are related to diet and lifestyle and can therefore be modified. These include:
- A high-salt diet
- Inadequate exercise
- Being overweight
- Drinking too much alcohol
What Can You Do About High Blood Pressure?
As well as addressing the factors listed above, your doctor might recommend medication, particularly if your blood pressure is worryingly high. However, many people – particularly those whose blood pressure is only slightly raised – prefer to adopt a more natural approach.
This seems to act as a natural vasodilator, which means that it widens blood vessels. This reduces the pressure against the vessel walls, thus helping to lower blood pressure. There’s a wealth of published research on garlic’s benefits for blood pressure, with one of the latest studies – published in January 2013 in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition – showing it can even help to normalize levels in medication-resistant patients.
This has been shown to lower blood pressure levels in multiple studies. One such piece of research – published in the Journal of Nutrition by scientists at Tufts University – found that people who drank tea containing hibiscus extract benefited from significantly reduced systolic blood pressure after just six weeks, greatly reducing their risk of dying from heart disease.
The antihypertensive effects of this natural extract have again been shown in a number of scientific studies. For instance, a study published in the journal Phytotherapy Research in September 2008 revealed that supplements containing dry olive leaf extract brought about significant reductions in both blood pressure and cholesterol within eight weeks.
Regular consumption of green tea has long been thought to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, but its inclusion in Health Boostâ„¢ Blood Pressure Support makes it much easier to take regularly. Green tea extract has been shown to help relax blood vessels, resulting in lower pressure. It is thought to work by inhibiting an enzyme that causes arterial narrowing called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), thus doing the same job as pharmaceutical ACE inhibitors but without the unpleasant side-effects.
This tropical plant is used in Ayurvedic medicine to treat heart disease. It produces forskolin, a chemical with a wide range of potential medical uses, one of which is its role as a vasodilator.
This plant has been used to treat heart disease for centuries, prompting scientists to investigate its antihypertensive effects in recent years. One study, published in the British Journal of General Practice in 2006, confirmed that diabetic patients benefited from noticeable decreases in their diastolic blood pressure after taking hawthorn extract.