Image from todayifoundout.com.

Image from todayifoundout.com.

OK – we’ve had children, perhaps raised children (and got them through college without killing them), have stressful jobs and lives – and, have been given little pills by our physician to help with our blood pressure.

Has this always been the course of action? What did our long-lived ancestors take before the advent of pharmaceuticals?

First – a primer: Your blood pressure looks at the pressure of blood flow against your arterial walls. If it is too high – it is an indication that your heart has to ‘chronically’ work too hard. When I say ‘chronically’ – it means that this happens 24/7 – not just while exercising.  That is NOT a good thing. This means that your arteries could be ‘stiffer’ – which could mean a buildup of deposits in the arterial walls.

Many of us have not been diagnosed, or are prehypertensive.  What can we do to stop the progression of this disease (before our physician gives us our diagnosis)?

We all know about reducing sodium and eating a more whole foods diet and these changes can help. But, besides taking a pharmaceutical (and, I am not saying that you don’t do as your doctor ordered) – what are some other things that you can do.

  • Take a probiotic. Aim for 10 billion CFU’s (colony forming units) per day.

o   This change does not happen overnight.  It took a while to destroy your gut flora – it will take a while to regrow it. It generally takes 2 – 3 months.

  • Be Italian. Garlic is very heart friendly. It lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and lowers blood pressure. You can either cook with it (my favorite) – or take standardized garlic in tablet form. Here is the curious thing – taking 600 – 900 mg of a standardized garlic supplement lowers blood pressure and much as pharmaceuticals.
  • Be a chocolate connoisseur. Cocoa contains antioxidants that help decrease blood pressure. Coca supplements can cause an immediate drop in blood pressure. But, stay away from the sugared chocolate – stay with the dark chocolate.

Again, let food be thy medicine (thank you Hippocrates).

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