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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one in three American adults suffers from high blood pressure. This is a problem of great concern, since this condition puts people at higher risk for even more serious health issues like heart attacks and strokes and is considered the number one risk factor for fatal heart attacks. While there are a number of prescription medications available to help treat high blood pressure, they all come with unwanted side effects ranging from the mild (dizziness when standing) to the severe (permanent kidney damage).

There are however, more natural options that people with high blood pressure have to treat this condition. Extract of certain plants, for instance, have been found to be extremely beneficial to normalize blood pressure levels. Read on to find out more about how these extracts can improve cardiac health.

Olive leaf extract
Olive leaf extract contains compounds called secoiridoid glycosides. These compounds, in the body, react with the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE), with the result that angiotensin is not able to cause the blood vessels to constrict and the result is a wider blood vessel and lower blood pressure. In short, these act much like the prescription drug group called ACE inhibitors, but also can lower cholesterol. In one study, participants taking olive leaf extract showed, at the end of eight weeks, a drop of 13mn Hg in systolic blood pressure (the upper number) and 3mm Hg in the diastolic blood pressure (the lower number).

Celery seed extract
Celery seed extract is another natural way to lower the blood pressure; it acts much like the drug group calcium channel blockers. These act different than ACE inhibitors and are able to lower the blood pressure through dilating (widening) the arteries. There appear to be no serious side effects to this extract, and in one clinical trial, patients with mild to moderate high blood pressure took a dosage of 75 mg of this extract every day and on average, at the end of the study, both systolic and diastolic blood pressure dropped around eight points.

Garlic extract
It is not surprising that garlic, long known for its positive effects on the heart, should be able to help treat blood pressure as well. One clinical trial studied patients whose blood pressure was treated but uncontrolled and found that, with use of garlic extract supplements, participants showed as much improvement in their blood pressure at the end of 12 weeks as would have been expected if they had been taking front-line drugs.

In conclusion, then, before considering traditional treatment for blood pressure and risking the unwanted side effects, consult with a naturopath or similar practitioner to discuss these and other natural remedies for normalized blood pressure that will improve cardiac health without unintended consequences like kidney damage or other serious complications.

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