Dietary Counseling and Consultations

Heart Health

Building Pressure

Published December 22nd, 2011 in Heart Health

by Tammera J. Karr, PhD

This last week I had one client come in and share how their blood pressure was way too high after getting upset over a work issue – Another client who thrives on stress or so they think, has on several occasions been taken to the ER for heart attack symptoms; if these symptoms are ignored serious trouble results, i.e. death.  By the way when reading through the side effects of medications note to self, death is NOT a side effect, its game over. The next client was out hunting, ignored the symptoms and hours later found themselves being air flighted and prepped for quadruple bypass.

A new report from the centers for disease control states that two-thirds of the adults in America who have high cholesterol, almost half of them have high blood pressure, and are not being treated effectively.  Heart attacks, strokes and related vascular diseases kill more than 800,000 Americans annually, easily more than any other cause. Of those 150,000 are younger than the age of 65 like the clients I mentioned at the start of this column. [i]

As the heart pumps blood through the arteries, it pushes the blood against the arterial walls with a force that is measured as “blood pressure.” High blood pressure is defined as a reading above 140/90 mm Hg. Research now suggests “high-normal” blood pressure (130 to 139 over 85 to 89) also raise risk of cardiovascular disease. Normal blood pressure is 120 to 129 over 80 to 84, and optimal blood pressure is less than 120 over 80. The elderly have increased risk for hypertension, and high blood pressure as the arterial walls lose their elasticity with age and cause the pressure of the blood moving through the arteries to rise.

Hypertension is often called a “silent killer” because even severe, uncontrolled high blood pressure usually has no obvious symptoms. Excessive pressure makes the heart work harder, increasing its oxygen demands and contributing to angina, and eventually leads to an enlarged heart, and damage to blood vessels in the kidneys and brain. Hypertension, therefore, increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease.[ii]

It is common for menopausal women to develop high blood pressure as a result of estrogen dominance. Estrogen thickens the blood, and it doesn’t just apply to the female of the species but also the male. As a man advances into andropause after the age of forty, he too has an increase in estrogens, causing his blood to become thicker, cholesterol to elevate and the balance between insulin and glucose to change increasing inflammation of the vascular system – Arteriosclerosis.

An August 2011 study in the journal of clinical hypertension concluded that lifestyle intervention such as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet (visit for more information), as well as nutritional supplements like CoQ10 and Potassium are valuable alternatives to drugs for lowering blood pressure. Additional supplements found to be beneficial for hypertension are calcium in doses no higher than 500mg, vitamin C 1000mg-4000mg from sources other than ascorbic acid, vitamin D3 5000iu, folate, flavonoids, fish oil 3000mg mercury free, and garlic.

Herbal supplements include forskoline, mistletoe and the traditional hawthorn.  All this and after careful review it is still CoQ10 and vitamin C that have the best clinical study performances for hypertension. Serrapeptase (an enzyme made from silk worms), and Nattoveta+ (natto an enzyme made from fermented soy) are my pick also as they help to reduce fibrogen and inflammation both associated with hypertension.

A diet high in fruits, especially apples and vegetables like broccoli was also found to be highly beneficial for not only hypertension control but also for diabetes management, and weight loss. [iii]

  • Insulin resistance can increase blood pressure by causing the kidneys to retain sodium.
  • Medications. Some prescription drugs, including steroids, birth control pills, decongestants, NSAIDS and diet pills can raise blood pressure. Some over-the-counter medicines, such as those containing licorice root, ephedra, guarana, kola nut, yerba mate, ginseng and yohimbe, may also raise blood pressure.
  • Limit your caffeine intake. The caffeine in coffee, tea, diet drinks and sodas acts as a cardiovascular stimulant and raises blood pressure.
  • Increase your pure water intake!
  • Avoid processed foods. These are the biggest sources of sodium and bad fats in today’s diet.
  • Relax. Stress causes hypertension by activating the sympathetic nervous system, causing the arteries to maintain a more rigid tone. Meditation, yoga, breathing exercises and biofeedback are all relaxation techniques that can lower blood pressure.
  • Exercise. As little as 30 minutes of a day walking, is the most effective natural remedies for high blood pressure.


What to eat?

  • Eat 8 to 10 servings of organic fruits and vegetables per day.
  • Limit animal protein to 8 oz per day, emphasizing lean sources.
  • Use garlic, which helps lower blood pressure and relaxs blood vessels.
  • Consume 4 to 5 servings of nuts, seeds and dry beans per week (2 Tbsp nuts or seeds, or 1/2 cup cooked dried beans).
  • Eat plenty of wild Alaskan salmon. At least three servings a week,

Real Red Wine (4-6oz only) contains OPC’s (Oligomeric Proanthocyanidins) and tannins in red wine inhibiting the oxidation of LDL cholesterol and inhibiting the activation of Nuclear Factor-Kappa B.

Blueberry/Bilberry may help to prevent Atherosclerosis (due to Anthocyanosides and Proanthocyanidins in Bilberry improving Blood Circulation and increasing the strength of Blood Vessels). Grapefruit (especially Red Grapefruit, Olives, Pineapple, Pomegranates, Prunes, Rice Bran, Reishi and Shiitake Mushrooms may help too.

High consumption of Walnuts, Lentils, Yerbamate, Turmeric, Saffron, Rosemary.

Unlike many other Dietary Oils, Coconut Oil may NOT contribute to the development of Atherosclerosis and may indirectly reduce the risk of Atherosclerosis (due to the absence of Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Coconut Oil).  Olive Oil (only Extra Virgin Olive Oil), Sesame Seed Oil, Chocolate (dark Chocolate), Grape Seeds (extract), Globe Artichoke, Onions. [iv]

Doing these things may not correct years of damage right away, but there is no better time to make a change than now. Please don’t wait till you have had surgery or a funeral to make these changes their side effect may be your life.

[i] access September 27, 2011


[iii] J Cline Hyperten. 2011 Aug 25.

[iv] (Hyperhealth Pro 10.0, 2010)In-Tele-Health © 2009

Category: Heart Health