In the 1930s, DuPont coined the phrase, “Better living through chemistry”. Today, their early advertising slogan has taken on an ominous, Brave New World tone as we struggle to reduce or eliminate from our bodies and our environments some of the very chemicals we turned to for protection.
Usually, when we think about harmful chemicals, our mind turns to environmental disasters. However, harmful chemicals aren’t always to be found in sprays; sometimes, they are to be found in drugs. In November 2004, during the congressional hearings on the drug Vioxx, Dr. David Graham of the FDA stated boldly: “Today we are faced with what may be the single greatest drug safety catastrophe in the history of this country or the history of the world. In my opinion, the FDA has let the American people down, and sadly, betrayed a public trust” (Source: http://www.oftwominds.com/journal08/Prescription-Drugs.htm). It wasn’t just Vioxx that he was talking about. Graham was also referring to Accutane, Bextra, Crestor, Meridia, and Serevent, some of which are still on the market today.
Considering this information, take a close look at what prescription medications you’re taking. Has the promise of “better living through chemistry” has ever been truly fulfilled? Could you reduce or eliminate some of your medication through a lifestyle or diet change? Here’s one place to get started: blood pressure.
Natural Blood Pressure Reducer
According to the FDA, high blood pressure affects nearly one in three American adults. High blood pressure leads many people to start a prescription medication, and it’s a flagship drug for many pharmaceutical companies.
It doesn’t have to be that way. There are many ways to reduce high blood pressure naturally. Start with these nine simple natural blood pressure reducers, and reevaluate after a couple of months to see if you still need prescription medication for your high blood pressure. You might find that a few lifestyle changes allow you to take less medication, or eliminate certain medications altogether.
1. Aerobic Exercise
Aerobic exercise gets your heart rate up and helps you burn those calories. Not only is aerobic exercise good for losing weight (which in and of itself is good for blood pressure), it’s also a good way to make the heart stronger. The heart, after all, is a muscle. When it gets stronger, it pumps more blood with less effort, thus lowering your overall blood pressure (Source: Mayo Clinic, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/high-blood-pressure/HI00024).
2. Lower Salt Intake
When combined with a healthier diet, even without additional exercise, significantly reducing salt intake can drop blood pressure by several points (Source: eHow, http://www.ehow.com/way_5152534_natural-blood-pressure-reduction.html).
3. Increase Potassium
Potassium can mitigate the effects of salt on high blood pressure. Increase your potassium by eating organic bananas or drinking fresh coconut water.
4. Fish Oil Supplements
A Harvard study showed that people consuming an average of 5.6 grams of fish oil each day were able to lower their blood pressure between 2 and 3.4 points (Source: eHow, http://www.ehow.com/way_5152534_natural-blood-pressure-reduction.html). For vegetarians, crushed flax seeds or flax seed oil, taken relatively in large quantities, can have the same effect.
5. Grape Seed Extract
Meanwhile, on the other coast, a University of California – Davis study showed 300 mg of grape seed extract per day led to a nearly 10 point reduction in blood pressure (Source: eHow, http://www.ehow.com/way_5152534_natural-blood-pressure-reduction.html).
6. Limit Your Alcohol
It’s true that everyone is flocking happily to red wine as the latest health food, but more than one drink per day for women or two drinks per day for men will increase blood pressure rather than reduce it (Source: Mayo Clinic).
7. Limit Your Caffeine
Experts haven’t come to a consensus about caffeine and blood pressure yet, but they do know that caffeine raises blood pressure at least temporarily. Some people who are especially sensitive to caffeine may see long-term effects.
8. Stop Smoking
Between losing weight and stopping smoking, you can solve a huge number of health problems. Also, try to stay away from secondhand smoke.
9. Go To Church
Ultimately, many of the chronic health problems we see in the west can be solved through lifestyle change. Ask yourself if you really want to risk “better living through chemistry”, or if it’s time to examine your lifestyle more closely, and change a few bad habits.
Photo by Abdullah AL-Naser