GET A HANDLE ON HYPERTENSION
What's the leading cause of heart attack and stroke? It's not elevated cholesterol—it's high blood pressure. Known as “the silent killer,” high blood pressure has no symptoms— yet it can be deadly. Blood pressure is the amount of force (pressure) that blood exerts on the walls of the blood vessels as it passes through them.
When the pressure in your blood vessels becomes too great, the arterial walls may narrow or thicken, putting an extra burden on the heart.
In addition to adopting a low-sodium diet and including regular exercise in your routine, adding certain supplements can help reduce your levels even more:
Beetroot Juice: This ruby red veggie is high in nitrates, which the body turns into a gas called nitric oxide. Nitric oxide relaxes the smooth muscles in your blood vessels, which helps your arteries stay properly dilated.
Nattokinase: This is an enzyme from fermented soybeans that acts like a natural ACE inhibitor. Early trials suggest that nattokinase can lower systolic blood pressure by up to 10.9 percent and diastolic pressure by 9.7 percent—and it works quickly, often within eight weeks.
Aged Garlic Extract (AGE): This heart-healthy remedy is created by naturally aging organic garlic in special stainless steel tanks under carefully controlled conditions for up to 20 months. One clinical study of 79 patients published in the
European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that AGE possessed blood pressure-lowering properties in those with uncontrolled systolic (the top number) pressure by 9.3 mmHg compared to a placebo. AGE is even more effective at reducing blood pressure when combined with nattokinase and Ltheanine, which has also been found to lower blood pressure.
studies suggest that a diet enriched with plant sterols can decrease small, dense LDL cholesterol levels.
Some foods, such as margarine spreads, orange juice, or cereals, are fortified with plant sterols, but those foods tend to be high in calories and sugars, defeating the purpose of a heart-healthy diet. Natural food sources include vegetable oils, nuts, legumes, peas, cauliflower, broccoli, oranges, tangerines, and mangos, but only in small amounts. Intestinal absorption of these phytosterols is also low, which is why supplements are important. Aim for 800 mg to 2 grams per day of plant sterols, but check with your doctor fi rst. Also known as vitamin B ,
3 niacin has been shown to lower total LDL, increase HDL, reduce triglycerides, and lower elevated levels of small, dense LDL particles.
Be sure to buy the right kind of niacin: nicotinic acid is the form that’s been shown to improve cholesterol, and typical doses are 1–3 grams per day. Other forms, including niacinamide and inositol hexanicotinate, have little or no effect on cholesterol. Sustained-release niacin can cause less fl ushing, but may be less effective and can increase the risk of liver toxicity. No- fl ush niacin has little or no effect on cholesterol. Check with your doctor before supplementing with niacin.
TRY RED YEAST RICE
A traditional culinary and medicinal compound in China, red yeast rice is made by fermenting a type of yeast called Monascus purpureus with rice, which turns the rice a deep red. Red yeast rice supplements contain significant amounts of monacolin K, a compound that’s chemically identical to lovastatin, a prescription cholesterol-lowering drug. Red yeast rice works by lowering the liver’s cholesterol production, and it can decrease total cholesterol by 13 percent and LDL cholesterol by 19 percent. One study found that 600 mg a day of red yeast rice significantly lowered both LDL and total cholesterol. It’s shown to be as effective as prescription cholesterol drugs, without the associated muscle fatigue.