High blood pressure is the No. 1 reason people visit the doctor. It generates more than $20 billion in annual income for the mainstream-medical-industrial complex. And there’s no doubt that managing it is critical for preventing cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, and kidney disease.
But my view about how to manage blood pressure has evolved over the years. Plus, as I’ll explain in a moment, the science on many natural approaches to lower blood pressure has also gotten significantly better. Which is great news, because there are major problems with the current crop of “standard” drugs—including the older, generic versions—used to treat high blood pressure…
Even older, generic drugs pose problems
As you may recall, in the past, I’ve recommended taking only older, generic blood pressure medications, as needed, to keep your blood pressure normal and under control. But some new developments have made me reconsider that stance…
For one, there are serious problems with the popular, generic angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), like losartan, irbesartan, and valsartan. And lately, it seems there’s been one recall after another for these drugs, due to contamination with carcinogens (cancer-causing chemicals). And numerous billion-dollar lawsuits have already begun.
Then, there are the brand-name angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs)—such as Altace® (ramipril), Lotensin® (benazepril), and Prinivil® (lisinopril)—which millions of Americans take. And these are worse than ARBs. In fact, a recent study suggests they increase lung cancer risk. And the risk was particularly high among people who used ACEIs for more than five years. (Meanwhile, the mainstream still insists that all lung disease is caused by smoking.)
Unfortunately, this kind of long-term prescription drug use happens a lot. And the sad reality is that once you start taking a blood pressure drug, it’s very unlikely you’ll ever get taken off it. Even as you get older and don’t need it anymore!
In fact, most doctors do a poor job adjusting dosages in their patients, even if the patient’s blood pressure drops. Not to mention, dosages should also be adjusted as patients get older—because some studies show that moderately higher blood pressure readings in older age are actually preferable.
Research even links a moderately higher blood pressure reading as you get older with better circulation of blood and nutrients to the brain, heart, and other tissues. And it may even help lower your risk of dementia and cardiovascular disease. So, in my view, doctors should always consider this when treating their older patients. (The same goes for diabetes drugs taken by older people with high blood sugar.)
Last but not least, some doctors rush to prescribe blood pressure drugs to people who have what I call “fake” high blood pressure—or “white coat hypertension.”
This scenario happens more often than we thought. Non-physician “techs” rush to take blood pressure readings and other vital signs the minute you sit down, so they can get to the next patient in line. But the hustle and bustle and stress of just being in those places is enough to temporarily increase your anxiety—and, therefore, your blood pressure.
For all these reasons, my view on blood pressure medications has evolved in recent years. And you can learn all about why I no longer recommend blood pressure drugs in the current October 2019 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter (“Here’s why I no longer recommend any blood pressure medication”). If you’re not yet a subscriber, click here to get started today. Because I promise you won’t want to miss this important, breakthrough report!
Fortunately, as I mentioned at the beginning of this Dispatch, there’s still plenty you can do to lower your blood pressure without ever taking dangerous drugs…
Science improves regarding natural ways to lower blood pressure
In recent years, the science on natural ways to lower blood pressure has improved tremendously.
For example, we now know that dietary supplementation of key antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds produce the same physiological effects as blood pressure drugs—all without the side effects. (I’ll tell you all about those key nutrients in the Thursday and Friday Daily Dispatches. So be sure to tune back in!)
Adopting the right diet is also important. And the healthiest diet on the planet—the balanced Mediterranean diet—supports healthy blood pressure too.
And this diet should be accepted as is, without modifications. Which means eating plenty of fresh fruit, legumes, nuts, olive oil, and vegetables. You should also get plenty of wild-caught fish and seafood, grass-fed and free-range meat, and full-fat, organic dairy (including butter, cheeses, eggs and yogurt) at each and every meal.
Six foods to lower blood pressure—without drugs!
While we have the total, balanced diet top of mind, let’s talk about some specific foods that can help lower your blood pressure naturally…
Beets are often served on Mediterranean salads these days. And that’s great—because beets support overall heart health and blood pressure, specifically.
In fact, a recent placebo-controlled, randomized clinical trial published in Nutrition Journal found that drinking beetroot juice “significantly” reduced systolic blood pressure (the top number) in men within just six hours! And even among women, there was still an overall trend toward lower blood pressure within six hours after drinking beet juice.
In another study, this time published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology (JACC): Heart Failure, researchers looked specifically at older adults with heart failure. It turns out, the patients who drank beet juice daily reduced their blood pressure and boosted their exercise endurance by 24 percent—after just seven days!
So, be sure to add some beets (or beetroot juice) to your daily diet.
2.) Full-fat, organic dairy—including cheese, milk, eggs, yogurt
As I often report, full-fat, organic dairy is a major part of the Mediterranean diet. In fact, people who live in the Mediterranean eat cheese, specifically, with each and every meal. Which may help explain why the Mediterranean diet is so healthy for your heart. It turns out, whey protein, a key constituent in full-fat dairy, has been shown to support healthy blood pressure. And it can literally make a difference overnight…
In fact, in one recent clinical trial, 42 participants who took 56 grams of whey protein (as found in cheese, milk, eggs, and yogurt) showed significant blood pressure reductions in just 24 hours! They also improved their arterial stiffness and endothelial functions (the functions of the cells that line the blood vessels).
There’s just one thing to remember here, though…
Even though participants in this study took a whey supplement, I heartily recommend enjoying real dairy, early and often. So, try adding a serving of full-fat dairy with each meal.
3.) Fatty fish
All of us should eat more wild-caught fatty fish and seafood (like wild-caught Pacific salmon, Atlantic mackerel, trout, shrimp, and sardines or anchovies in olive oil). These types of fish are high in essential omega-3 fatty acids, which help reduce chronic inflammation and blood clotting.
In fact, a recent study zeroed in specifically on the type of protein found in mackerel and tuna. Scientists found that this protein asks like a natural ACEI in the body (in the same way as the dangerous drugs I mentioned at the beginning). It turns out,
people who consumed 1.5 grams (1500 mg) of protein daily from mackerel and tuna lowered their systolic blood pressure readings by more than 10 points and diastolic readings (the bottom number) by seven points.
In another study, participants who consumed just 3 mg of a concentrated sardine extract reduced systolic blood pressure by 10 points and diastolic readings by more than five points over 13 weeks.
Unfortunately, statistics show that most Americans actually don’t eat any fish during the week. And even if you’re among the minority who do eat some fish weekly, you probably still need to take a high-quality fish oil supplement to reach the optimal levels of omega-3s required for disease prevention and reversal. So, tune back in on Thursday, where I’ll tell you more about my new fish oil recommendations.
Garlic is a well-studied food, spice, and medicine. And it’s been used for centuries to “thin the blood.” Recent studies now show it lowers blood pressure and in fact thin the blood by reducing blood clots.
A major meta-analysis of 20 trials found that garlic supplements reduced systolic blood pressure readings by as much as five points and diastolic by as much as 2.5 points. And the improvements experienced by hypertensive patients were even more impressive.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of fresh garlic consumed in the Mediterranean diet. So be sure to always incorporate fresh garlic into your meals.
5.) Olive oil
In recent years, a lot of time and money has been spent studying the effects of olive oil on the cardiovascular system. And we now know that the essential fats in olive oil can significantly improve cardiovascular health and blood pressure, specifically.
In fact, in one recent study, older people with high blood pressure who consumed olive oil daily for four weeks reduced systolic blood pressure by an impressive 14 points! (You can also supplement with olive leaf extract, which I’ll tell you more about on Thursday.)
Plus, you can experience benefits from eating whole olives too. Of course, in the Mediterranean, they enjoy lots of olives with cheeses and meats before, or after, the main meal. And olives contain some brine salt. But as I’ve explained many times before, salt does not cause high blood pressure. On the contrary, there’s plenty of evidence linking a low-salt diet to a higher risk of heart disease! So go ahead and enjoy your plate of antipasti—with olives!
The politically correct, anti-meat, low-protein, low-fat crowd doesn’t like to admit it, but a diet high in protein and essential fats is strongly associated with lower (not higher) blood pressure. (Just another reason why the faulty recommendations of cardiologists and their co-dependents, such as the American Heart Association, go against the grain, so to speak.)
In fact, a huge analysis of 40 controlled clinical trials links a diet higher in protein and lower in carbs with reduced blood pressure readings. Another study found that 20 grams of added protein a day reduced systolic readings by eight points and diastolic readings by five points after six weeks. Those numbers may seem minimal, but they can make all the difference between having to take a blood pressure drug and avoiding one!
Part of the benefits of complete protein may relate to its amino acid content. In fact, studies show that the amino acids arginine and taurine—which are found in the complete proteins in dairy, meat, and seafood (and not in any of the “fake meat” products, as I discussed again last week)—significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic readings.
So, there you have it! Incorporate these six foods to your diet and experience natural blood pressure support—without the help of any dangerous drugs!
Now, before I go, two quick reminders…
Tune back in on Thursday and Friday to learn more about the many nutrients shown to improve blood pressure. And remember—refer to the current October 2019 issue of my Insiders’ Cures newsletter for a complete report on why I no longer recommend blood pressure medications. If you’re not yet a subscriber, all it takes is one click!
P.S. In case you missed it, my brand new Breathe Better Lung Health Protocol is now available! This innovative, online learning tool discusses all of the science-backed ways to prevent and reverse lung disease—naturally. To learn more, or to sign up today, please click here now!
“Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and risk of lung cancer: population based cohort study.” BMJ 2018;363:k4209. doi: doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4209
“One Week of Daily Dosing with Beetroot Juice Improves Submaximal Endurance and Blood Pressure in Older Patients with Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction.” JACC Heart Fail. 2016; 4(6): 428–437. doi: 10.1016/j.jchf.2015.12.013
“Treatment of Hypertension with Nutrition and Nutraceutical Supplements: Part 1.” Alternative & Complementary Therapies, 2018; 24(6):260-275. doi: 10.1089/act.2018.29191.mho
“Effect of beetroot juice on lowering blood pressure in free-living, disease-free adults: a randomized, placebo-controlled trial.” Nutr J. 2012; 11: 106. doi: 10.1186/1475-2891-11-106
“Garlic Lowers Blood Pressure in Hypertensive Individuals, Regulates Serum Cholesterol, and Stimulates Immunity: An Updated Meta-analysis and Review.” J Nutr. 2016;146(2):389S-396S. doi: 10.3945/jn.114.202192.