It may be difficult to understand what it means to get heart healthy. Heart healthy living can consist of eating plenty of fruits and veggies, limiting red meat, exercising most days of the week, and quitting smoking. However, even after making some lifestyle changes, losing weight, or reducing stress, your blood pressure may still need some help in getting into a normal, healthy range. Here are three natural compounds that may help you to lower blood pressure and increase heart health today.
- Niacin, otherwise known as B3, helps the body produce certain sex and stress hormones and works to improve circulation. In addition, niacin can reduce risk of heart disease by suppressing inflammation. Niacin can reduce risk of heart disease by lowering LDL, or “bad” cholesterol, and blood triglyceride levels. In turn, reduce risk of heart attacks and death by taking niacin with cholesterol-lowering medicine. Beets, beef liver, tuna, salmon, sunflower seeds, and peanuts all contain niacin. When taken as a supplement, however, keep intake levels below the upper limit of 50 milligrams. Otherwise, dangerous side effects such as liver damage and stomach ulcers may occur. However, niacin is a water-soluble vitamin excreted in the urine daily. Therefore, a person is unlikely to overdose on niacin.
- Hawthorn is a berry plant that has been used for thousands of years to treat heart disease. The leaves and flowers can improve circulation, lower blood pressure, and improve heart failure treatment outcomes. Furthermore, the antioxidant flavonoids present in the parts of the Hawthorn plant aid in dilating blood vessels and protecting blood vessels from damage.
- Garlic is an edible bulb plant used as an aromatic flavoring to many dishes. In addition, Native Americans, Egyptians, and Greeks, to name a few, used garlic for health purposes for many years. For example, the 2016 AGE at Heart trial found that aged garlic extract is effective in reducing peripheral and central blood pressure in patients with uncontrolled hypertension.
Visit the American Heart Association website to see if you may be at risk for high blood pressure. Furthermore, if you are at risk for hypertension, ask your healthcare provider to see Presura, along with a heart healthy lifestyle, could help you.
-written by Staci Gulbin, MS, MEd, RD, LDN
National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (2016 Sept.) “Garlic” https://nccih.nih.gov/health/garlic/ataglance.htm
PubMed Health (2012) “Garlic for Hypertension” https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0048277/
Ried, K, et al. (2016 Jan 27) “The effect of aged garlic extract on blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors in uncontrolled hypertensives: the AGE at Heart trial.” Integrated Blood Pressure Control, 9: 9-21.
University of Maryland Medical Center (2015 Aug 6) “Vitamin B3 ( Niacin)” http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/vitamin-b3-niacin
University of Maryland Medical Center (2015 Jan 2) “Hawthorn” http://umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/herb/hawthorn