“Do You Worry About Blood Pressure? Are Your Numbers Normal? Here’s What You Need to Know…”
You’re not alone if you have questions about your blood pressure.
Nearly 1 out of every 3 American adults need to be concerned… And, according to the American Heart Association, 28 percent don’t know it.
Many people go about their lives unaware that their blood pressure levels may be creeping higher, even as it is maintained within the normal range, as they age or add on extra pounds.
Things you take for granted – like remembering names or your ability to think or learn – can be affected.
I strongly advise you to know your numbers. Get your blood pressure tested right away if you haven’t in the last two years. The risk of not knowing – and not acting – is simply too great. You have many options available to take control.
Why Blood Pressure Matters
A healthy blood pressure is one of the key measures of a healthy heart, so your blood pressure is vitally important!
What exactly is blood pressure?
Blood pressure is a measure of the force against the walls of your arteries in response to the pumping of your heart.
The amount of blood being pumped and the flexibility of your arteries both influence that force. Your blood pressure can rise when either or both of these things happen:
- Your arteries contain a large amount of blood
- Your arteries lose some of their flexibility
If your arteries become less flexible and can’t expand easily to handle the extra amount of blood flow, your blood pressure rises.
When your blood pressure rises, your heart has to work harder to keep blood flowing. Certain situations could cause this increased demand for a short time – like high-intensity training – but that’s not an issue if you’re healthy.
The problem is when it’s continuous. Forcing your heart to pump hard without a break can place it under a great deal of stress.
And here’s a fact you may not know about blood pressure… When your blood pressure is high within the normal range, your arteries can become stiffer, which makes your heart work harder – and your blood pressure go even higher within the normal range.
Should You Be Thinking More About Your Blood Pressure?
Two numbers are used to measure blood pressure. The systolic, or top number, measures the force when your heart contracts. The bottom number, or the diastolic, measures the force when your heart rests.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a “normal” reading is 120/80.
You are considered “at risk” if you’re:
- Systolic is 120 to 139 mmHg
- Diastolic is 80 to 89 mmHg
And once your levels reach these numbers, they’re considered “high”:
- Systolic is 140 mmHg or higher
- Diastolic is 90 mmHg or higher
If you are under 60 and have no other risk factors, your diastolic pressure may be most important. If you’re over 60, your systolic pressure is your most important cardiovascular risk factor.
Be aware that, depending on your overall health, your doctor may want to treat you with medication even if your pressure is as low as 130/80.
In addition to testing your blood pressure levels, be sure to check your fasting insulin level. As you’ll soon see, insulin resistance is very closely linked to blood pressure. A healthy fasting insulin level is between 2 and 3 microU per mL.
What You Can Do Right NOW to Help Maintain Your Healthy Blood Pressure
The U.S. Joint National Committee (JNC) on blood pressure recently stated:
“The potential benefits of a healthy diet, weight control, and regular exercise cannot be overemphasized. These lifestyle treatments have the potential to improve blood pressure control and even reduce medication needs.”
If you have questions about your blood pressure – and for that matter, rising blood sugar or insulin levels or an expanding waistline – know there’s much you can do to help maintain normal healthy levels. Here are 6 of my top tips:
- Get active and walk more steps.Exercise is one of your most powerful strategies for managing your blood pressure and your insulin level.Try tracking your steps with a fitness tracker or your smart phone and shoot for 7,000-10,000 steps a day. And if you work at a desk all day, make sure you stand up, or better yet, switch to a stand up desk like I did.Ideally, exercise outdoors with bare feet. Studies show that walking barefoot outside – called Earthing or grounding – improves both your blood viscosity and flow, which regulate blood pressure.
- Breathe deeply and slowly and let go of stress.The way you breathe can affect your blood pressure. One method of breathing, the Buteyko Method, was discovered by a 26-year old Russian physician while trying to manage his own blood pressure.Slow, deep breathing and practices such as yoga, tai chi, and qigong help decrease stress hormones, and in turn, lower an enzyme that raises blood pressure. Also, inhale slowly and exhale deeply for 5 minutes twice a day.There’s a strong link between stress and blood pressure. If you have unaddressed negative emotions like fear, anger, and sadness, you’re less able to cope with normal, everyday stressors.The Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) are outstanding ways to transform your suppressed, negative emotions and relieve the stress in your life.
- Get the processed foods out of your cart – and out of your home.Many processed foods contain high levels of sugar and fructose, processed salt, unhealthy trans fats, and damaged omega-6 vegetable oils – all things that can affect your blood pressure and health.In fact, I believe one of the primary causes of blood pressure issues is related to your tissues becoming insulin- and leptin-resistant in response to a high-carbohydrate and processed food diet!As your tissues become more resistant to their actions and your insulin and leptin levels rise, so does your blood pressure. In a group of study subjects who were insulin-resistant, nearly two-thirds also had blood pressure above optimal levels.A good rule to remember: buy food that still looks like the original food. In other words, brilliantly colored, sweetened fruit rollups are NOT the same as fresh, organic berries or apples!Shop the outer isles of your grocery store. This is where you’ll find the fresher, unprocessed foods like produce, meat, and eggs. Even better, visit your local farmer’s market. Look for grass fed and pasture-finished meats.
- Eat more fermented foods and consider a probiotic supplement.While many doctors still cling to the idea that limiting sodium is the “cure-all” for blood pressure issues, I’m not convinced.Sure, it’s wise to cut out processed salt (the kind found in processed foods and most salt shakers).But here’s something I think might help your blood pressure equally as much: balance your gut flora.In a recent study, participants experienced positive results when they added probiotics to their diets. A minimum of 100 billion CFUs per day for eight weeks was required.Rather than relying on commercial yogurt and milk products for your probiotics, I recommend eating fermented foods each day.
- Optimize your vitamin D levels.I talked earlier about how a lack of flexibility of your arteries can affect your blood pressure.Researchers have discovered that both trans fats and a lack of vitamin D can contribute to stiff arteries. And too little vitamin D is related to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome, too.Sunlight exposure – my preferred way for you to get vitamin D – increases the level of nitric oxide in your skin, which helps dilate your blood vessels.Get your vitamin D levels tested regularly.
- Eat more PotassiumPotassium is an essential mineral, but also an electrolyte, and plays a crucial role in maintaining healthy blood pressure.Many people believe salt to be one culprit behind high blood pressure. Studies now reveal it is an imbalance between the intake of sodium and potassium that may be causing the problem.Eating food rich in potassium such as avocado, cremini mushrooms and green vegetables such as broccoli, spinach and brussel sprouts can help to correct this imbalance.
- Eat a diet rich in vegetables and fruits.The latest research suggests that the biggest benefit of eating lots of vegetables and fruits may be for your heart and blood pressure.Certain fruits and vegetables contain a type of phytonutrient called polyphenols that have been shown to support healthy normal blood pressure and cardiovascular health.*Many Americans don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables – the CDC reported in 2013 that the average adult eats less than 3 servings a day.Do your heart and blood pressure a favor and eat plenty of fresh, organic produce each day!
Grapes: Bursting With Polyphenols That Support Heart Health*
One fruit in particular – grapes – have been valued for their medical and nutritional qualities since the ancient days:
… Greek philosophers praised the healing power of grapes
… European folk healers used the sap of grapevines to make a special ointment
… Healers and doctors used grape leaves and grapes – both unripe and ripe – for a wide range of conditions.
The problem with grapes for most people is that they are high in fructose, which can worsen insulin and leptin resistance.
Not to worry as we can use the grape seed. Grape seeds are one of the richest sources of polyphenols.
Over the years, researchers have found a way to isolate the polyphenols in grape seeds – in a special mixture called grape seed extract.
What’s All the Buzz About Grape Seed Extract?
Grape Seed Extract (or GSE, for short) has been the focus of much animal and human research over the last couple of decades. Researchers have discovered that grape seed extract increases levels of antioxidants in your blood.*
As you know, antioxidants are substances that neutralize free radicals – those potentially harmful compounds in your body that can damage your DNA and destroy cells.
But scientists have found that GSE can do much more. Through research, grape seed extract is racking up a long list of potential benefits for helping to support your:
- Cardiovascular health, including healthy blood pressure already in the normal range*
- Healthy cholesterol levels already in the normal range*
- Healthy blood sugar levels already in the normal range*
- Mental sharpness as you age*
- Healthy, normal leg circulation*
- Normal cellular growth and development*
- Bone formation and strength*
- Normal wound healing*
- Normal inflammatory response*
- Night vision*
- Healthy teeth*
- Youthful-looking skin*
I know that’s a long list. And granted, more research is needed in many of these areas, but isn’t the potential exciting? I certainly believe so.
The Problem With Many Grape Seed Extracts
I need to be very clear… Not all grape seed extracts are the same, nor can you expect the same potential benefits from every grape seed extract.
Why is that? Several reasons…
- Bioavailability – Just like some other naturally occurring phytonutrients, the polyphenols in regular grape seed extract can be a challenge for your body to absorb and utilize.
- Polyphenol content – Not all formulas are standardized to contain a specified amount of polyphenol – or active ingredient.
- Processing methods – Harsh processing methods can destroy fragile active compounds and leave behind chemical residues.
Bottom line, many grape seed extracts are untested for their effectiveness. If they are not tested, how do you know they provide any benefits?
I wanted you to have access to all of grape seed extract’s potential benefits*, so my team and I developed Blood Pressure Support.
The Patented Grape Seed Extract With Clinically Researched Benefits*
My Blood Pressure Support is unlike any other grape seed extract available today. Here’s why:
Manufactured for us by Polyphenolics, Blood Pressure Support contains MegaNatural®-BP – a patented grape seed extract with clinically researched benefits*.
Two placebo-controlled human clinical trials conducted by researchers at the Department of Preventative Cardiology at the University of California, Davis School of Medicine have made two exciting discoveries about this unique extract:
- It helps support healthy blood pressure levels already within the normal range.*
- It helps support endothelial function by maintaining healthy nitric oxide levels that are within the normal range, which helps support healthy vasodilation and blood flow.*
It’s important to note that no other grape seed extract can make these claims without clinical studies, as the MegaNatural®-BP in my Blood Pressure Support has its own unique structure and composition!
In fact, additional research shows that ordinary grape seed extract doesn’t have the same effect!
First Human Clinical Trial EVER to Look at
Grape Seed Extract and Metabolic Syndrome
Metabolic syndrome is a condition that worries many adults, and for good reason. Marked by excessive belly fat, as many as 1 out of 4 people meet its criteria. According to the American Heart Association, the syndrome runs in families and your risk of developing the condition increases as you age.
What is metabolic syndrome? It’s not a disease, but rather a group of risk factors that includes, in addition to abdominal fat, measurements on blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels.
In this first study of its kind at the University of California, Davis, researchers looked at the effect of this unique grape seed extract – MegaNatural®-BP – on people with metabolic syndrome.
Subjects were divided into groups and given either 150 or 300 milligrams (mg) of grape seed extract or a placebo. At the end of the month-long study, the most significant results with both healthy blood pressure and oxidized normal LDL cholesterol levels were seen in the 300 mg GSE group.*
Subjects were divided into groups and given either 150 or 300 milligrams of grape seed extract or a placebo. At the end of the month-long study, the most significant results with both healthy blood pressure and oxidized normal LDL cholesterol levels were seen in the 300 mg GSE group.*
Researchers were so intrigued by the results of this first study, they called for a second to take another, longer look at the effect of grape seed extract and blood pressure…
Second Clinical Trial Confirms Research on Grape Seed Extract on Supporting Blood Pressure*
In a second double-blind trial at UC Davis, 32 volunteers were given either 300 mg of this unique grape seed extract or placebo for a period of 8 weeks.
At the end of the study, there were significant differences in systolic and diastolic blood pressure, as measured within the normal healthy range.*
This study confirms the suitability of this grape seed extract for the management of blood pressure, maintaining blood pressure levels already within the normal range.*
Additionally, there were no effects on blood glucose levels or serum lipid levels, making this product suitable for management of metabolic syndrome.*
More Nitric Oxide Means Better Blood Flow*
A team of researchers made a remarkable discovery, and for their achievement, earned the Nobel Prize in 1998.
They described how the endothelial cells lining the walls of your blood vessels play a crucial role in regulating blood flow and blood pressure.*
These cells produce a gas called nitric oxide (NO) that helps:
- Your blood vessels stay relaxed and open for blood flow.*
- Promote healthy blood vessel flexibility and dilation.*
- Support healthy blood pressure levels*
As a part of normal aging, your body’s ability to produce nitric oxide declines. And that means many people can clearly use some help to support optimal blood flow.*
The high concentrations of polyphenols and oligomeric proanthocyanidin complexes (OPCs) found in the unique grape seed extract in Blood Pressure Support help to naturally support blood vessel dilation.*
And these polyphenols act as antioxidants that can help support endothelial function by maintaining nitric oxide levels that are within the normal range.*
Exciting research findings suggest that, in addition to its effects on blood pressure and endothelial function, grape seed extract may also help protect low-density lipoprotein (LDL) particles from oxidative stress – great news for anyone concerned about their cardiovascular health!*
Top choices for grapeseed oil.