A reoccurring question I get is about how to lower high blood pressure and/or cholesterol. And while I’m not a doctor and would never attempt to diagnose someone via the Internet, I will say this: these are seldom isolated problems, in and of themselves. They are typically symptoms of a lifestyle that’s falling short in a few areas. So in many cases, if you simply take care of the lifestyle and start living healthier, these symptoms improve radically.
More specifically, to lower cholesterol, stop eating it! Dietary cholesterol is only present in animal products. Accordingly, the most compelling and enduring evidence I’ve seen in lowering cholesterol and supporting heart disease reversal has been in strict, low fat, moderate calorie, plant-based eating regimens. Check out the work of Dr. Caldwell Esselstyn, Dr. Joel Fuhrman, and Dr. Dean Ornish, among others. These guys have collectively treated thousands of patients without surgery by emphasizing a radical dietary shift toward unrefined, high-fiber, plant-based foods.
Speaking of fiber, there is an awful lot of science that shows how raising fiber in the diet lowers cholesterol, as well. Soluble fiber helps to remove bile acids by binding with them in the intestines and escorting them out of the body. This causes the liver to convert more cholesterol to bile acids, which creates a drop in LDL (bad) cholesterol. This is how even as little as two to four servings of fruits and veggies can cause a 5% reduction. And this is also why you’ll see certain cereal companies making the claim, right on their boxes, that their product can lower your cholesterol. It’s all about the fiber.
High blood pressure is basically about your blood moving through your arteries at a higher rate of pressure than normal. The medical community’s response to this is usually to treat this symptom by prescribing drugs that thin your blood. But the wiser doctor will generally look to the lifestyle first to see why the blood pressure’s high to begin with.
A few lifestyle adjustments that should be at the top of your list would be:
• Reduce body fat levels if you’re overweight
• Quit smoking cigarettes if you smoke
• Eat more fresh fruits and veggies (work toward 10+ servings per day – no shit!)
• Try to keep your total sodium intake under 2400 mgs. per day, but preferably under 1800
• Exercise regularly
• Engage any number of relaxation/stress relief techniques like meditation, visualization and deep breathing
• Avoid alcohol and caffeine (although most medical folks say to “restrict” the total amount of it).
Finally, there are a number of whole foods, herbs and spices with medicinal properties that have been proven to have some affect on lowering high blood pressure and/or cholesterol. These include garlic, hawthorn berries (in tonic form), ginger, green tea and Cayenne Pepper. HOWEVER: If you have medical issues with cholesterol or high blood pressure and are looking to combat them in part with these natural remedies, ALWAYS CONSULT A HOLISTIC MEDICINE PROFESSIONAL ABOUT TAKING ANY OF THESE THINGS, ESPECIALLY IF IT’S IN CONJUNCTION WITH, OR AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO, SOME KIND OF MEDICATION YOU MIGHT ALREADY BE ON!!!
Until next time…