Written by Jeff Grimm, NP-C

Number 1. Quit smoking. Smoking increases oxidative stress on the vascular membranes, contributes to high blood pressure, causes decreased arterial flexibility and is overwhelmingly linked to increased incidence of heart disease, stroke, and cancer.

Number 2. Normalize Blood Pressure. People with normal blood pressure are much less likely to die of either heart disease or stroke. The best ways to improve BP (blood pressure) include maintaining or arriving at healthy weight, eating 6-10 servings of fresh fruit/vegetables per day, exercise, not smoking, and reducing oxidative stress at a cellular level.  Decreasing oxidative stress means decreasing exposure to environmental toxicity, i.e. heavy metals, pesticides, plasticides, smoke, xenotoxins, and industrial byproducts. Supplements that help with high blood pressure include hawthorne berry, rauwolfia, vitamins A, D, B5, B6, B12, magnesium, biotin, quercetin, coenzyme Q10, green tea and r-alpha lipoic acid.

Number 3. Normalize Lipid Profile. Lowering LDL (bad cholesterol), normalizing triglycerides, and increasing HDL (good cholesterol). This is generally achieved through diet and exercise. In terms of diet, the most therapeutic agents include fresh fruit/vegetables, and omega 3 oils. Some people will need additional nutraceutical support. This may include pantethene, niacin, delta tocotrienols (a type of Vitamin E), high dose omega 3’s, green tea, and menaquinone 7 (a type of vitamin K derived from the annato bean).

Number 4. Arrive at an Ideal Body Weight. Persons who are overweight or obese are at increased risk for cardiovascular disease and stroke as well as cancer and diabetes. This is most easily achieved by increasing one’s intake of fresh fruit and vegetables while maintaining a diet low in high-glycemic index foods, a diet low in processed foods and trans-fats, and exercise (mixed cardio and weight training).

Number 5. Blood Sugar Levels. People with pre-diabetes, diabetes, and metabolic syndrome are at increased risk for heart disease and stroke. High sugar levels, usually caused by diet and a sedentary lifestyle, create lots of oxidative damage and inflammation among other ill effects which contribute to various disease states. This is most efficiently improved by a diet which is low on the glycemic index scale (less than 50), increasing one’s intake of fresh vegetables, and increasing exercise. Exercise works by helping to drive sugar in the blood into muscle cells. Other things that can help include testosterone (if warranted), and herbs and supplements like cinnamon, gymnema, essential fatty acids (EFA’s), and chromium.

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