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  • David Howell

Take The Pressure Down - 3 Things That May Be Raising Your Blood Pressure

Almost one third of Australian adults have high blood pressure, with men more likely to suffer than women, and the rates rise to about 90% of people over the age of 85.(1)

That means you have a high chance of high blood pressure in your lifetime, but some simple dietary changes may be all it takes to keep your pressure under control. Here are 3 likely dietary causes;

1 Licorice

The herb licorice (or spelt liquorice) may drastically raise your blood pressure. That's because it mimics one of the hormones from your adrenal glands (aldosterone), possibly leading to a loss of potassium through the kidneys and raised blood pressure. In my time as a practitioner, I've seen & diagnosed countless cases of hypertension being worsened or caused by licorice consumption, either from eating licorice, or from taking supplements with licorice exctract (botanical name Glycyrrhiza glabra or other sub species of Glycyrrhiza). These cases include people being hospitalised in intensive care, with multiple changes to their medication regime, and others prescribed blood pressure medication unecessarily. Here's some clinical information you may be interested in checking out;

2) Caffeine

Caffeine is a common suspect in cases of hypertension, with many people avoiding coffee for this reason. It's worth thinking about the other sources of caffeine in the diet, and they include;

  • Caffeinated soft drinks (cola drinks, some other flavoured soft drinks and energy drinks)

  • Tea - 'normal' black tea, green tea and some herbal teas (guarana, yerba mate)

  • Chocolate - especially dark chocolate

If you're a coffee or tea lover, and suffer from hypertension, consider buying good brands of decaffeinated coffee or tea (call the manufacturer's helpline number to make sure the decaffeination process happens via CO2 extraction or hot water extraction, not via toxic chemical extraction with a residue remaining in the product). Alternatively, back down on the amounts of caffeine you're drinking or eating (as little as 3-4 cups of tea per day may be worsening your blood pressure).

Here's a clinical case;

It's worth noting that some people actually benefit from caffeine, with lowered blood pressure from chronic caffeine consumption. These include smokers, and people who have insulin resistance who are consuming to much fruit sugar (fructose). This means that simple recommendations about caffeine consumption may not apply to you, and that it's always best to consult with your Naturopath or other health professional for tailored advice.

3) Sodium Chloride (salt)

More than 50% of people with hypertension suffer from salt induced high blood pressure.(2) While reduction of table salt and minimising salt in cooking has been recommended as a standard way to help blood pressure, other forms of salt may have no effect on blood pressure. Increasingly, researchers are suspecting that the chemical chloride is the culprit rather than the salt per se. This being the case, it's worth looking at your supplement regime to see if you're having any other form of chloride (chromium chloride, potassium chloride, magnesium chloride, calcium chloride). Many people exchange normal tablet salt for Himalayan Salt, Celtic Salt, Rock Salt or other more 'balanced' forms of salt, but it's important to note that these usually still contain almost 99% sodium chloride, so if you have salt sensitive hypertension, you're still advised to limit your intake of these types of salt.

Here's an article;


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