6 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure by Changing Your Diet | Chris Kresser
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6 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure by Changing Your Diet

by Laura Beth Schoenfeld, RD

Last updated on

blood pressure, diet for lowering blood pressure
Simple dietary changes can lower blood pressure. BananaStock/BananaStock/Thinkstock

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious and common condition that can lead to life-threatening diseases such as heart attack, stroke, heart or kidney failure, and more. While 1 in 3 American adults have high blood pressure, this condition only affects 3% or less of hunter-gatherer populations that are following a traditional diet and lifestyle. (1, 2) This would suggest that hypertension is a disease of poor lifestyle choices, and one that can be effectively treated using simple diet and behavior changes, as well as strategic use of herbal remedies.

Blood pressure is measured by two numbers: the top number is the systolic pressure (when the heart is pumping blood) and the bottom number is the diastolic pressure (when the heart is at rest).  A normal blood pressure number is below 120/80, prehypertension is diagnosed between 120/80 – 139/89, Stage 1 hypertension is between 140/90 – 159/99, and Stage 2 hypertension is blood pressure above 160/100.

While most doctors prescribe drug treatment when a patient has reached the prehypertension stage, there is no evidence to support pharmaceutical treatment in these patients. (3) But this doesn’t mean hypertension shouldn’t be addressed. Much like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure (even in the prehypertension stage) is a sure sign of other problems going on in the body.

By addressing underlying issues with diet and lifestyle changes, you may be able to reduce your blood pressure without resorting to drug treatment. This article will address six dietary changes you can make to help lower your blood pressure naturally. (That said, medication should always be considered if these changes are unable to lower your blood pressure adequately. Please defer to your doctor’s advice here!)

These 6 simple diet changes can help lower your blood pressure without using drugs. Tweet This

1. Reduce Excessive Carbohydrate Intake, Especially Refined Carbs and Sugars.

One of the most significant contributors to high blood pressure is high blood sugar and insulin resistance. (PDF) Some evidence suggests that pathological changes in glucose and insulin metabolism significantly affect the development and clinical course of hypertension, and thus should be primary targets for dietary intervention. Chronically high blood sugar, hyperinsulinemia, and high triglycerides are far more common in individuals with hypertension than those with normal blood pressure, and one of the major contributors to all three of these conditions is an excess intake of carbohydrate, particularly refined grains and sugars. (4, 5, 6)

Additionally, excess intake of sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, sweet tea, and other sugary drinks has been shown to directly influence blood pressure. (7, 8) Cutting out these beverages should be the first step in any hypertension treatment, and can also help with shedding excess weight and reducing high blood sugar – both issues that further contribute to hypertension. And don’t think switching to Diet will help either, since artificially-sweetened beverages also contribute to hypertension. (9)

While some research has suggested that high fructose intake may increase blood pressure, other research shows that fructose itself is not the problem; rather, it is the consumption of excess total carbohydrate that is the major issue. (10, 11, 12, 13) This means you shouldn’t be concerned with eating modest levels of naturally-occurring fructose, like that from fruit and honey, as these foods are healthy in the context of a moderate carbohydrate diet. Be sure to adjust your carbohydrate intake to your needs and health goals, and get your carbohydrates from nutrient-dense whole foods like fruits and starchy vegetables.

2. Increase Intake of Beneficial Minerals like Potassium, Magnesium, and Calcium.

While most conventional medical professionals will recommend sodium restriction as the primary method for blood pressure reduction, it appears that focusing on eating foods rich in other macrominerals is more beneficial than strictly focusing on avoiding sodium. (14, 15, 16, 17) More important than overall sodium intake is the sodium-to-potassium ratio; thus, eating a high-potassium diet is a better strategy than eating a low-sodium diet. Further, as Chris has shown in his series on the salt myth, restricting sodium to the levels recommended by the American Heart Association may actually be causing more harm than good.

potassium in food
Click to expand table

I’ve included a chart of the Paleo foods richest in potassium to help guide you in increasing potassium intake (this chart is from the bonus chapter on hypertension from Chris’s new book, Your Personal Paleo Code; published in paperback as The Paleo Cure in December 2014). Those with hypertension should aim to get at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium per day. If you have hypertension and are unsure about the adequacy of your potassium intake, I recommend using a food diary for 3 days and analyzing your average potassium intake.

Also, don’t go too low carb when reducing your carbohydrate intake – many of the best sources of potassium and magnesium are starchy vegetables like white and sweet potatoes, or fruits like plantains and bananas. White potatoes are especially good sources of blood pressure-lowering minerals like potassium and magnesium; hypothetically you could eat three large baked potatoes per day to easily meet your potassium needs while only consuming around 180 grams of carbohydrate. While eating a potato at each meal isn’t necessary to get adequate potassium, I do think those who eat “strict” Paleo should consider reintroducing white potatoes if tolerated.

Also, those eating “strict” Paleo may be missing out on significant sources of calcium from dairy products, and calcium intake is another important predictor of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events. (18, 19) If you’re not eating dairy products, be sure to eat plenty of bone-in fish, leafy greens, bone broth, and nuts to make sure you’re getting adequate calcium. Keep a 3-day food diary to check on your intake; if you’re falling short of the minimum 600 milligrams per day, you can try adding bone meal to soups or stews to boost your calcium intake.

3. Eat Grass-Fed Dairy Products like Ghee, Butter, and Cheese.

Beyond being a good source of calcium, full-fat grass-fed dairy has another contribution to the treatment of hypertension: vitamin K2. While this nutrient is hardly discussed by conventional medical professionals, preliminary data suggests K2 may be one of the most important nutrients to include in a disease-preventing diet. (20, 21, 22) Vitamin K2 may be protective against osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease, cancer, and more, so it’s definitely a nutrient you should be looking to get enough of no matter what your health situation.

Vitamin K2 may also be protective against hypertension. While there haven’t yet been any studies directly measuring K2’s effects on blood pressure, logic would suggest that this nutrient could help prevent high blood pressure by reducing vascular stiffness and arterial calcification. (23, 24, 25, 26, 27) High serum calcium levels are related to hypertension, and vitamin K2 (along with adequate vitamin D) is crucial to ensure that calcium is deposited in the bone where it belongs, and not in the arteries where it can cause vascular stiffness and calcification, leading to hypertension and heart disease. (28, 29, 30)

One of the most well-tolerated foods high in vitamin K2 is grass-fed ghee. Pure Indian Foods is my favorite brand of ghee, but you can also eat butter, cheese, and full-fat yogurt or kefir from grass-fed cows to get adequate K2. (Fermented dairy may actually have independent effects on hypertension as well. All the more reason to drink full-fat kefir!)

If you’re completely dairy intolerant or allergic, you can supplement with vitamin K2. My favorite supplement is one that contains the three fat soluble nutrients, A, D, and K2, in balanced form, which is the way these vitamins must be taken to support optimal health. If isolated nutrients aren’t your style, you can also take the Extra Virgin Cod Liver Oil from Rosita.

4. Eat at Least One Pound of Fatty Fish per Week.

Fatty fish is high in essential omega-3 fats, and these fats have been shown to reduce the risk of hypertension and cardiovascular events in multiple studies. (31, 32, 33, 34) A meta-analysis demonstrated that fish oil supplementation may significantly reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. (35)  However, taking fish oil supplements to get your omega-3 fats is not an ideal strategy, since some studies suggest that high doses of fish oil may increase cardiovascular and total mortality, especially when used for more than four years. (36, 37)

The many benefits of fatty fish for promoting overall health are hard to argue against, and those with high blood pressure may especially benefit from including more fish in their diet. Also, certain fatty fish like halibut and wild salmon are high in potassium, as seen in the chart above. This demonstrates the benefit of choosing whole-foods over supplements when it comes to preventing disease; many foods have multiple and possibly synergistic effects that can provide significant health benefits over supplements containing their individual components. Eating one pound (16 ounces) a week of fatty fish like salmon, sardines, halibut, and mackerel is an important dietary strategy for reducing both high blood pressure and the risk of cardiovascular disease.

 5. Drink Tea.

Habitual tea drinking may help reduce blood pressure, as demonstrated by research mostly conducted in regions where tea is a significant component of the daily diet. (38) There are some teas that may be more effective at reducing blood pressure than others, however, and caffeinated tea may raise blood pressure in the short term. (39, 40) The following teas are ones I recommend consuming if you need to reduce your blood pressure. (If you are taking prescription medicines, talk to your health care provider before drinking these herbal teas.)

Hibiscus tea has been demonstrated to reduce blood pressure in pre- and mildly hypertensive adults. (41, 42) Hibiscus is a small tree with red flowers that are rich in flavonoids, minerals, and other nutrients. (43) Hibiscus tea has a fruity taste that makes it popular as both hot and cold beverage, and experts recommend two to three cups per day to achieve blood pressure reducing effects. I recommend making a large jug of iced, unsweetened hibiscus tea and drinking it in place of water for at least 3 cups of fluid. Add a little honey or stevia if you prefer sweetness, but this tea is delicious on its own.

Hawthorn tea may also be effective as a blood pressure-reducing beverage, and the plant has been used to treat heart disease as far back as the 1st century. (44, 45, 46) The antioxidant-rich tea may help dilate blood vessels and improve blood flow. Dosing guidelines have not been established, but three cups a day is recommended by some health professionals.

Gotu kola tea may be another helpful tea in lowering blood pressure, specifically in the case of venous insufficiency. (47, 48) It is believed that gotu kola might assist in the maintenance of connective tissue, which strengthens weakened veins and helps improve circulation. Again, three cups daily is the current recommendation for this tea.

Finally, oolong and green tea may be beneficial for lowering high blood pressure. One study of more than 1,500 subjects showed that drinking one half to two and a half cups of oolong or green tea on a daily basis can lower a person’s risk of hypertension by 46 percent. (49) As you can see, there are many different teas that can benefit those with high blood pressure, so find one or two you like and drink them regularly.

6. Eat More Beets.

Some researchers hypothesize that a major reason the DASH diet is beneficial for lowering blood pressure is that the content of inorganic nitrate in certain vegetables and fruits provides a physiologic substrate for reduction to nitrite, nitric oxide, and other metabolic products that produce vasodilation, decrease blood pressure, and support cardiovascular function. (50)

So take a page out of the Dwight Schrute handbook and eat your beets! Beets are high in nitrates, which, as suggested above, may reduce blood pressure by improving vasodilation. Other foods high in nitrates include celeriac, Chinese cabbage, endive, fennel, kohlrabi, leek, parsley, celery, cress, chervil, lettuce, spinach, and rocket. (Ironically, bacon is another source of dietary nitrate…)

Beet juice in particular has been shown to lower blood pressure in multiple studies. (51, 52) So if you have a juicer, try making some fresh beet juice to drink on a regular basis. If you’re looking for an even healthier form of beet juice, you can also drink beet kvass, which provides probiotics in addition to hypertension-fighting nitrates. It’s an acquired taste for sure, but one that might be helpful to acquire if you’re suffering from hypertension that hasn’t responded to a healthier diet and/or weight loss.

Of course, there are many more recommendations for how to lower blood pressure, including strategic exercise, restful sleep, sun exposure, and meditation, yoga, or other stress management practices. There are also several different supplements that can aid in further lowering blood pressure once these dietary and lifestyle strategies have been made.

Chris has written a great bonus chapter on high blood pressure in his new book, Your Personal Paleo Code (published in paperback as The Paleo Cure in December 2014), which releases at the end of this year. (I’m so excited!) If you’re struggling with high blood pressure or other common but serious health conditions, I strongly recommend checking out this book for more information on how to address your symptoms by making nutritional and lifestyle changes that will greatly improve your overall health and wellbeing.

263 Comments

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  1. I was able to get off all my BP meds after seeing a shrink for 1 year. My high BP was due to a specific, and hopefully uncommon, situation of extremely dysfunctional family. My excessive intake of alcohol in an effort to drown out problems was also surely a contributor. If you happen to be in a similar situation, I recommend seeking out a PhD psychologist trained in EMDR.

  2. Here are things that have helped lower my blood pressure (which was consistently around 160/100 when I was 27 and skinny).

    Coconut oil – it was when I started taking 3 Tbsp. a day that I was able to get off the BP meds that my doc had put me on, which he said I’d be on for life. I don’t still supplement with it, just use it with food.

    Ubiquinol – My Metametrix Organic Acids profile showed that I really needed CoQ10. I found that once I started supplementing with 100 mgs of Ubiquinol twice a day, my blood pressure dropped.

    Liquid Chlorophyll – I began taking this because it functions as an internal deodorant and was surprised to find my BP readings dropped considerably after a couple of weeks.

    I also tend to agree with Ben as to what is considered high. I think I naturally run a little higher, but I know that my heart is in good shape. My cholesterol is stellar with really high HDL, and my resting heart rate is around 51. I had a nurse ask me if I was a runner, because such a low resting heart rate is usually only seen in athletes. I told her no, sometimes I walk the dog and that’s about it. 🙂 I credit it to all of the saturated fat I eat, and probably the Ubiquinol as well.

    And if Mr. Paleo is right, and I only have to be concerned by what my bp reading would be after lying in a quiet, darkened room for 10 minutes, then I don’t have to worry about my bp at all. It’s always low after acupuncture, which pretty much mimics the above situation!

  3. Dear Chris
    As always, very clear guidelines, thank you. However, I have not found that this has been sufficient to help my dad. He is 80, still plays tennis twice a week and mom makes sure he eats really healthy. They are eating very healthy, following ancestral health guidelines (yes to beets, grassfed dairy (they live in Switzerland), lots of fish, veggies, fruits) and while mom has stopped eating grain products, dad still eats bread and pastries on a weekly basis. Despite taking blood pressure meds he has wildly fluctuating levels from over 190/110 to low 60/45(!). Could the occasional indulgence in pastries and bread really be the thing that makes it necessary for him to take the meds? And is it possible that the off-gluten days cause his blood pressure to drop so much?

  4. Chris, any advice for someone with high blood pressure, on blood thinners and cannot take vit k? And developing PAD?

  5. I lost 40 lbs but my blood pressure didn’t change – in fact at times it was higher than ever. Then I read about a discovery that was made by NUCCA chiropractors. People who had a history of neck trauma, e.g.whiplash, and misalignment of their atlas [vertabra] often were able to go off HTN medication after corrective alignment. Mine is still unstable but since I’ve had nUCCA therapy my blood pressure is normal while on anti-hypertensive medication.

  6. Laura, you stated: “Much like high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure (even in the prehypertension stage) is a sure sign of other problems going on in the body.”

    Chris doesn’t appear to agree about the ‘high cholesterol’ part. Indeed, he had a previous post and podcast about “I have high cholesterol and I don’t care.”

    • Depends on what you call “high” cholesterol. I’d say if someone’s cholesterol was above 300, that’s a sign that there’s an underlying health issue. That’s why Chris developed his High Cholesterol Action Plan – some high cholesterol is pathological.

      • So, as Chris Masterjohn has said, with a total chol of over 250 you might start taking notice and looking at things like thyroid, is there a blood pressure range like that? Obviously 250 is above conventional medicine guidelines for cholesterol. Dr Tom Cowan talks about the old rule of 100 + age = systolic over 90, but that is in an article from 2002 or something.

        Thanks,
        Ben

        • Ben & Laura,

          In Canada, and likely in the USA as well, the upper level for normal is 200mg/dl (5.20mmol/L in Canada). I took action when my cholesterol hit 236mg/dl (6.12mmol/L). I was recently diagnosed with high BP so with that additional risk factor my doctor wants my cholesterol levels to come down from my present reading of 198mg/dl). He specifically told me my LDL-C had to be reduced from its current 113mg/dl (2.94mmol/L) to below 80mg/dl (2.0mmol/L). The numbers you folks are tossing around are insane! My numbers are considered high-normal range and still my doctor wanted to put me on a statin. I told him to lay off with the medications until I tried the dietary approach. I managed to bring my TC down from 236 to 185 several years ago on a semi-vegetarian diet. I strayed from that diet and my cholesterol rebounded a bit to its current 198 but I have been on a VLF vegetarian diet (no oils) for a few weeks now to meet the new target levels that my doctor (strongly) suggested. This VLF diet is much stricter than the semi-veg diet I was referring to.

          • Oh yes, the upper limit in medicine in the US is 200 mg/dL before most doctors will try to treat. However, there’s lots of evidence that cholesterol levels in healthy traditional populations range from around 150 mg/dl to 250 mg/dl depending on age and gender.

            Also, total cholesterol is generally a poor predictor of cardiovascular risk without knowing other numbers. A better predictor is LDL particle number or the HDL to triglycerides ratio.

            • Right, so my particle number is low my ratio is like 3.2 (low risk) hdl 89 tris 17 and ldl 186.
              That ldl number would scare a lot of doctors and it puts me over 250 total. So I have suspicion that my t3/rt3 ratio of 14 is too low and possibly the cause of the ldl not clearing, but that is just a hunch. I’ve added back starches in hopes that it will help. I don’t care to get much lower than 250 though.

              • sorry, total to hdl is 3.2 and hdl to tris is .19, it would take A LOT for me to go on a statin though I’m considering a low dose bp medicine till I can figure out how to get it down naturally.

            • I’ve no idea what my LDL is large or dense. That test is almost never done. I mentioned it to my doctor but he felt the main concern is lowering my LDL-C and not to worry abut particle size. I’m still curious. I’d like to know if I have mostly A or B type particles.

              I had an EKG done in August and the was a comment that basically said that I may have had a possible inferior (mild) myocardial infarction at some point in the past. I followed that up with a positive stress test, which is not what you want.

              Since I neither smoke nor get chest pains (at rest nor exercising) my doctor had me go through a nuclear stress test, where they inject a tracer into your bloodstream and have you go 12 minutes on the treadmill. The technician administering the test didn’t see anything troubling from the EKG during the test. I still have to await the heart scans taken during the test. The scans will indicate problem areas where blood flow is compromised. This test was also done to see if the previous stress test was merely a false positive.

              This is why my doctor wants my LDL-C under 80mg/dl. He also wanted to put me on a statin and a BP lowering med as well. I’m currently on neither.

      • Laura, what is your general opinion of this (I got it from the online calculator)
        Obviously the calculator doesn’t like some of these numbers! :>)

        Your Total Cholesterol of 280 is HIGH RISK
        Your LDL of 186 is HIGH RISK
        Your HDL of 87 is OPTIMAL
        Your Triglyceride level of 32 is OPTIMAL

        RATIOS:

        Your Total Cholesterol/HDL ratio is: 3.22 – (preferably under 5.0, ideally under 3.5) IDEAL
        Your HDL/LDL ratio is: 0.468 – (preferably over 0.3, ideally over 0.4) IDEAL
        Your triglycerides/HDL ratio is: 0.402 – (preferably under 4, ideally under 2) IDEAL

  7. A NOTE TO EVERYONE:

    “Blood pressure”, per se, is actually misleading… MANY factors affect your “blood pressure”….
    In order to have an actual, MEANINGFUL, repetitive “resting” test session using a sphygmomanometer (pronounced sfig’-mo-ma-nom-e-ter), one needs to do ALL of the following:
    1) be in a resting state, for at LEAST 10 minutes,
    2) in a darkened room
    3) lying down
    4) with no conversation
    5) and no other stimulation
    Now, how many of you have had this EXACT situation as specified, EVER happen in a doctor’s office? I’m betting, close to ZERO… and therein lies part of the problem… ALL of these factors affect the outcome of this testing… as well as others, such as time of day (biorhythms), when you ate last, what you ate, medications, supplements, etc.

    BP really is not NEARLY as accurate a “diagnosis” as most think…

    • This is quite true–my doctor has us sitting upright in chairs with no arms, so we have to hold our arms out while the machine runs! Good thing we also have our own portable cuffs at home!

    • I would add a 6th item: have your blood pressure taken by yourself or your spouse, instead of a doctor or nurse; you may avoid the common ‘white-coat hypertension’ effect. It’s one that many physicians know about & account for.

  8. Sometimes blood pressure issues are beyond diet/exercise changes. I changed my diet, exercised and lost 40 pounds and my blood pressure barely moved. I exercise and I’m still having issues. My pressure has barely budged. I went from three to two BP meds and that felt like a leap for me. Not giving up yet though.

      • Hey Rob, You know I don’t think a doctor can claim that for everyone. Everyone is different, a statement like that would make me seek another doctor.

    • Try an endocrinologist; sometimes there is other things that raise blood pressure. Someone I know of did and is off meds Just a suggestion

  9. I’ve tried most of the things on this list, Chris. When I went low carb grain free, I noticed an immediate drop in my BP from about 145/95 to 140/85 ish, even before I lost 30 pounds. However, now that I’m about 10 pounds from my goal weight, which will net me a body fat of about 21%, I still have to take the lowest dose of triamtrerene (diuretic) because despite all these measures of low carb and lots of exercise, my unmedicated BP is about 140/90. Currently with the diuretic it’s 120/75. My doctor doesn’t have an answer as to why I have elevated BP, he says it’s “genetic” maybe. I think it may be elevated insulin, which is above normal despite very high fat low carb diet and exercise. Therefore, I can’t be sucking down potatoes and sweet potatoes on a regular basis for the potassium. What are some low carb sources?

    • Do you exercise? If not, try at least walking. Movement is key to lowering blood pressure, along with diet.

        • Sounds like you’re doing everything right, so maybe it’s just the mind-body thing now. Take up meditating, and make sure your digestive system is all good:)

    • Also, I’m in great shape and have eaten quite well for over a decade, I think in my case my mild hypertension is genetic and “hopefully” controllable through natural means. I think we also have to rethink a bit about what “high” is. high is getting lower and lower just like cholesterol, could this be to generate more drug sales perhaps?

      • Couldn’t agree more Ben – I too have wondered if the blood pressure barrier is getting lower. I don’t trust the medical profession as they are so tightly connected to the drug companies.

        I also read recently that lowering high cholesterol is dangerous. Cholesterol rises to cope with the amount of toxins in the body so if it is artificially lowered the body isn’t getting rid of its toxic overload. Interesting thought !!

    • Ben
      Like you also have an issue with mine and eat low carb and do everything as suggested here to no avail. At home Im around 123-128/80…..but through nerves easily raise it like in a docs office to 155/85.
      Im starting a l-arginine/citrulline formula today as well.

      • I have heard that L-arginine can cause blood pressure to rise, so I’d be measuring very regularly, let us know how it goes! It may be that while stacked with L-citrulline it won’t have that effect

    • You sound like me Ben. Tried so many things. Currently using beet root juice and CoQ10 on a sodium reduced/potassium rich diet. Like you I am normal weight and I get exercise daily and have only had modest success.

      • Yes rob, I identify with you for sure. I’m 44 and train with a circus handbalancer 🙂 I started to notice slight elevation in my 30’s, which is the time that my dad went on meds who didn’t eat paleo but was very active and “in shape”. I’m trying to win a genetic battle and its hard.

        I’m taking hawthorne and rhodiola (among other things) and have an appointment set up with an MD that thinks like us, trouble is he’s backed up till march. I also know that Dr. Tom Cowan takes phone appointments and am considering that option.

        With deep breathing I can get my systolic down sometimes 20 points, diastolic goes down maybe 5 points.

    • Your case sounds really difficult, but I was wondering if you’ve actually gone through your diet to see what nutrients you may be not getting enough of, or had genetic testing to see if you have polymorphisms that make you susceptible to nutrient deficiencies due to bad recycling or bad absorption? If you’re really trying to avoid meds, I think it’s definitely worth a shot.

      I’ve always eaten a WAP style diet, and also ended up with health problems in my 20s anyways, and it wasn’t until I really focused on nutrient density, particularly B vitamins from organ meats like kidney, and also dairy, that I started to regain my health. Apparently B vitamins other than folate are difficult to absorb from plant sources, so if you do a dietary analysis, it will seem like you’re getting enough, but it will actually be a huge overestimate.

      Some people have very high nutrient needs due to genetics. Personally, I need to get over the RDA of vitamin B2 and zinc everyday.

      • So I do really well with my diet as far as micronutrients organ meats and oysters, shellfish, you name it. That said, its possible I have some deficiency, It hasn’t shown up on tests yet, but I’m waiting for an appointment to do comprehensive testing

  10. My “come to jesus” moment was when I visited a doctor (for the first time in many years), and he commented “you realize you’re on your way for a cardiac event in the next few years with that 170/110 blood pressure of yours”. Egad. Almost immediately went on LCHF (ketogenic) diet, and 6 months later, I was measured at 110/70 after losing over 45 pounds.

    • Excellent news Randal. I’ve been trying to get off meds for quite some time and need a more aggressive approach. I should try your protocol.

    • Significant weight loss will reduce BP as you have described but in my case I have no weight to lose. I mean, I suppose I could lose 5lbs but that would be my limit and that is not going to affect my BP in any significant way, if at all. Many cases of high BP cannot be drastically reduced by natural means. I’ve tried them and they have limited success in my particular case. My diet is good, my weight is very good, I exercise daily and I don’t use salt on my food. My doctor told me it was age/genetics. Being 58 years old and knowing full well that there are many cultures where a person’s BP does not rise with age, I did not easily accept that explanation. The next time I see my doctor he is going to prescribe meds. Not happy about that.

        • The beet root juice is high in sugar but it has contributed to lowering my BP. I drink 1 cup each day. I eat potatoes since they are a goldmine for potassium. My daily potassium intake is upwards of 5000mg. I also drink pomegranate juice (1 cup/day) which has cardiovascular benefits.

          • There are many causes of high BP, not just weight. Sensitivity to salt, family history, narrowed arteries, kidney issues, etc.

  11. I’m a bit confused about the difference between vitamins K1 and K2.

    I am taking a blood thinner (phenprocoumon) due to a pulmonary embolism a few years ago and the drug is described as a “vitamin K antagonist”. Is this referring to K1, K2 or both?

    I believe K1 is the only K that has anything to do with blood clotting but if K2 is being taken down as well by the phenprocoumon should I supplement with K2 to bring it back up to acceptable levels?

  12. Do you think that it is a good idea to supplement with potassium (citrate, gluconate) to achieve the recommended dosage of 4.7grams?

    • Yes. I discuss this in the bonus chapter on blood pressure in my book, but supplementing with 2,000–3,000 mg of potassium (gluconate, citrate) has been shown to lower blood pressure in those that are not getting enough.

  13. Thanks for these suggestions on lowering blood pressure. I have been able to get mine down somewhat by losing weight and will try some of these ideas. Mostly it is my systolic that gets out of wack by 10, 20 or even 30 extra points. It doesn’t seem consistent at all and can jump up and down (from hour to hour or day to day) and seems somewhat erratic to me.

  14. Great information, thank you! Too bad doctors never tell you about these facts (or much else for that matter)!!

    • As a Practice Nurse, I agree that people need to have this information and then they need to be self motivated towards changing their lifestyle for any benifits to happen. The Dr has to address the problem as it presents and offer medication or the Dr would be found negligent by a particular group of discerning clients.

  15. Unfortunately beets are extremely high in oxalates and can put people at a higher risk of kidney stones.

      • Thanks Laura, Both articles are very good and give lots of clarity. I was wondering. Can you over do it with choline. I have been eating three eggs most days and also supplementing 500mg of choline. I have bone broth most days as well – for the glycine.

      • How would you suggest that a person dealing with hypertension resolve the ‘Eat more beets’ advice with your first point ‘Reduce excessive carbohydrate intake, especially refined carbs and sugars’?
        I understand it is about replacing one type of carbohydrate with another – but could you expand on how the person should navigate that approach?
        Thanks!

        • Well, a whole cup of cooked beets only has about 12 grams of carbohydrate, so even though they’re higher carb veggies in comparison, I doubt anyone can eat enough of them to cause the high blood sugar caused by excessive amounts of refined grains and sugars. Also, beet kvass is low in sugar because the bacteria ferment most of the sugar in the liquid by the time you drink it. However, I really don’t think eating reasonable amounts of beets should be a problem for someone getting less than 30% of their calories from carbs.

          • The problem is that the studies that were done used beet root juice, not the actual beet. Eating them doesn’t have the same effect, which is why I drink the juice. Yes, it is high in sugar so you probably don’t want to drink it on an empty stomach. If you’re really concerned about sugar then try CoQ10, fish oil (high dose) and Hawthorn. I’m using these as well.

            • Rob,

              I take Green Pastures CLO but my dosage is 2 in the am and 2 of the skate in the evening. What is considered “high dose” for HBP? I know some folks take as high as 8-9 caps for certain conditions. That can get pricey with GP CLO.

              • I’m taking fish oil softgels that provides 900mg of omega-3 fatty acids per capsule. The breakdown is EPA : 600mg, DHA: 300mg. I take 3 a day, which provides 1.8g of omega-3 per day. I also eat salmon and sardines 3-4 times per week and I also take 2 tbsp. of flax meal, which provides 4.5g of omega-3. The flax is not the best source. Fish oil is superior. I plan to buy another brand of fish oil that provides 2.4g of omega-3 per serving. Each serving provides 1,600mg of EPA and 800mg of DHA. The recommended dosage is two servings. That would mean 4.8g of omega-3 per day. The primary reason I’m taking this is to combat inflammation. It is also a blood thinner and has an effect on your BP as well. People wanting to take fish oil need to know this if they are currently on blood thinners. It supposedly has other benefits as well. The fish oil I currently use and the one I plan to buy in future are both molecularly distilled, which means toxins such as mercury are removed. This is important if you plan on taking large amounts on a regular basis.

      • What if i have problems of kidney stones in past and right now i am having blood presure of 130/95 from past 4 weeks ??

    • beet kvass, beet juice, or cooked beets are great, as I understand they are high in nitrates which cause more nitric oxide in the blood which lowers blood pressure.

      • The juice is more effective than eating the beets because it is more concentrated. The nitric oxide acts as a vasodilator so anything that dilates your blood vessels will reduce the BP. I buy organic beet root juice from Biotta.

        • I have bought that biotta juice, its great, but pretty expensive to do everyday, I think I save a bit by using beet kvass (which is essentially fermented juice) but if I find Its not effective I wouldn’t be opposed to the biotta juice

        • The biotta beet juice is of high quality. But, it is also high in sugar. 8 ounces of beet juice contains about 28 grams of sugar.

          • Have it with a meal and not on an empty stomach if you’re worried about its high sugar content. I’m also taking CoQ10, which apparently lowers blood sugar.

          • This is one reason why I love beet kvass, the fermentation process eats away some of the sugar, and it seems a bit cheeper :>)

    • Unfortunately, beet juice is also very high in sugar. About 28 grams of sugar in 8 ounces. If you’re concerned about diabetes, must be careful with beet juice.

    • True…also cranberries recommended for the “good” diet contain oxalates. If one already has a small stone, beware.

    • Beets are high in oxylates similar to spinach which is why they should be eaten raw not cooked. There are many vegetables that contain these but don’t harm you if they are not cooked. Beets also have similar chenical makeup as human blood. Beets are extremely healing because they cleanse your blood and have been used in many natural protocals to heal someone from late stage cancers. Check out Conquering Any Disease by Jeff Primack and there are many other sources where I got this info.

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