I’m a fit man in my 60s, a non-smoker, a moderate drinker, and a healthy weight. I was diagnosed with high blood pressure about two years ago. I was put on medication by my GP, but my blood pressure is increasing a little again. Are there any natural products that can be used to lower it?
A. It is good to hear that you are already living such a fit and healthy lifestyle. Some supplements and foods are worth special attention for supporting heart health and balancing blood pressure.
Coenzyme-Q10 (CoQ10) is an excellent antioxidant supplement that helps prevent arteriosclerosis and reduce blood pressure levels. Double-blind, placebo-controlled trials have shown that taking as little as 60mg of CoQ10 twice daily is enough to lower blood pressure by 17.8 mm Hg.
CoQ10 should not be taken with the prescribed anticoagulant Warfarin since it can block the effectiveness of this medication. However, CoQ10 is often used with the statin medication Atorvastatin (commonly known as Lipitor) as the drug can lower the levels of this critical fat-soluble antioxidant.
Coenzyme Q10 supplements are widely available, with 100mg daily considered an adequate dosage for taking alongside Lipitor.
Other antioxidant supplements that support heart and circulatory health include vitamins A and C – both support and strengthen the capillaries, which helps to improve blood pressure.
You can also add in simple dietary tweaks, such as adding cinnamon to your meals. A quarter of a teaspoon daily is enough to help prevent high blood pressure and heart disease. Healthy fatty acids such as those found in oily fish, nuts, and seeds are crucial for maintaining healthy blood pressure.
There are activities specifically designed to regulate blood pressure and reduce stress, particularly if you feel under pressure at work or at home. Yoga, Qi gong, and meditation are all good options.
My eyes have started to stream in the morning. Sometimes by the time I arrive at work, I look like I’ve been crying my eyes out. Other than needing glasses for reading at night, my eyesight is good. What would you suggest?
A. There is a simple eye exercise to help relieve stress in the eye area you can do before bed and after you first get up in the morning. Sit at a table and take in a deep breath. Rest your elbows on the table and close your eyes. Using gentle pressure, place the palms of your hands over your eyes and cup your eye sockets for a couple of minutes.
Blueberries and bilberries are well-known nutritional medicine for eye issues. Bilberries help to protect the retina and lens from oxidation as they contain a bioflavonoid called anthocyanoside. Bilberry supplements are available from health stores in capsule and liquid form.
Your immune system may need additional support if your eyes are streaming without any direct or obvious cause. An infusion of astragalus and marshmallow root is an effective yet simple herbal remedy to help strengthen the immune system while soothing mucous membranes.
You should be able to find these herbs in a health store or through a local herbalist. This blend tastes pleasant and is best brewed as a cold water infusion.
To make the infusion, add a heaped tablespoon of each dried herb to a litre of cold water and leave overnight. Strain the liquid, which will be slightly viscous, and drink throughout the day.
You can refrigerate any leftover liquid and drink it the next day, but you’ll need to drink at least two cups daily for best results. The infusion should not be kept for more than two days.
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NOTE: The information contained in this column is not a substitute for medical advice. Always consult a doctor.