My incredible disappearing hypertension

My blood pressure issues go way back. Early in my life, my high blood pressure surprised my doctors since I wasn’t overweight, exercised frequently and ate what they thought was a healthy diet. But it wasn’t until I switched my diet in middle-age that my blood pressure finally dropped.

Back when my blood pressure was too high, the doctors I visited, as you could probably guess, all offered me drugs to bring it down. I went through a range of pharmaceuticals: calcium channel blockers, beta blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACEinhibitors and perhaps a few others that I can’t even recall.

All of those drugs helped lower my blood pressure somewhat, but they never came close to getting at the root of my cardiovascular irregularities. Which, for me, turned out to be gluten.

Now, as I’ve often pointed out, I went off gluten and embarked on the paleo diet in an effort to improve my spotty memory and quiet my arthritis. And it worked very effectively for those discomforts.

But an unexpected benefit was a drop in blood pressure. While my doctors have expressed surprise that, as one said, “I guess your high blood pressure is just gone,” they acknowledge that since I have celiac disease (a destructive, immune reaction to the gluten from wheat, barley and rye), going gluten free is almost certainly the reason my pressure has dropped.

My autoimmune problem with gluten increased inflammation in my body — putting my immune system in a state of constant agitation. That malfunction of immunity apparently triggered processes that led to my continual problems with blood pressure. Once I swore off gluten, as well as all grains, dairy products, soy and legumes (beans and peanuts), my immune system relaxed. That has allowed my arteries to relax.

The result: a reassuringly low blood pressure that causes no alarm among the healthcare practitioners I visit.

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Finding what works for you

I know that giving up gluten is not a blood pressure panacea for everyone the way it was for me. But if you have blood pressure issues, you won’t know if gluten is a factor unless you give it up for a while and see what results.

And if going gluten-free doesn’t seem to help much, there is a long list of natural methods you can use to bring your blood pressure down.

One important measure is to increase your vitamin D level. A study in Italy that had people taking weekly doses of 25,000 IU of vitamin D for a couple of months found that the extra vitamin D helped people lower their blood pressure significantly.

Exercise can also help relieve hypertension (even though my exercise routine didn’t lower my blood pressure until I came off of gluten): the American Heart Association now recommends getting at least 150 minutes of exercise a week. And many experts say you can get big benefits from doing intervals — alternating a couple of minutes of intense exercise (like sprinting) with a few minutes of recovery.

A simple change in the kitchen

Another great way to deal with blood pressure is to use coconut oil for cooking and in salad dressings. As we’ve reported before, a study in Brazil shows that switching to coconut oil can have dramatic effects on blood pressure.

If you combine a switch to coconut oil with an exercise program, as the researchers in Brazil did, you can achieve dramatic results.

Today, about 58 million Americans are taking medication to lower their blood pressure. If you’ve tried natural methods to drop your blood pressure and have been disappointed with the results, a pharmaceutical may be your choice to try and head off cardiovascular risk linked to elevated blood pressure.

But it’s better to try natural methods first and only use a drug as a last resort. Those natural techniques have created huge benefits in my life. You could have the same life-saving experience.

Margaret Cantwell

By Margaret Cantwell

Margaret Cantwell began her paleo diet in 2010 in an effort to lose weight. Since then, the diet has been instrumental in helping her overcome a number of other health problems. Thanks to the benefits she has enjoyed from her paleo diet and lifestyle, she dedicates her time as Editor of Easy Health Digest™, researching and writing about a broad range of health and wellness topics, including diet, exercise, nutrition and supplementation, so that readers can also be empowered to experience their best health possible.