By Dr. Nathan Bryan

If you are one of the many people out there who are seeking out functional foods/beverages due to a health concern related to maintaining healthy blood pressure levels, here are three ways that have been shown to help promote healthy blood pressure levels, naturally:

    1. Eat a high nitrate diet. This includes foods such as green leafy vegetables (kale, spinach, arugula, cabbage, lettuce, etc) and beets. The science tells us that the right oral commensal bacteria are necessary for the human body to metabolize nitrate into nitrite and nitric oxide to experience the blood pressure lowering effects. If you do not have the right oral bacteria you will not gain any benefits from eating high nitrate foods since humans do not have the enzyme that is necessary for metabolizing nitrate. Only bacteria can perform this reaction. So if you are using antiseptic mouthwash or are taking antibiotics, you are likely unable to get a nitric oxide effect of eating vegetables enriched in dietary nitrate. Diet should always be a first line of defense against future health concerns, but due to modern hygienic practices, we may be limiting the effects of diet on our own heath. If you frequently use antiseptic mouthwashes, consider reducing its use because these product not only kill germs that cause bad breadth but all the important bacteria we need to help metabolize nitrates. Also, consider using an oral probiotic.
    2. Get daily moderate physical exercise. Exercise is one of the most potent activators of nitric oxide production. In fact, your ability to generate nitric oxide predicts how well you can perform athletically. However, if the enzyme in the lining of your blood vessels becomes dysfunctional, then exercise will not be able to stimulate any NO production and release. This is the reason that we become nitric oxide deficient with increasing age and why older people do not have the physical stamina as a young person. Therefore, exercise while important for numerous reasons may not be as effective in stimulating NO production in an older population. Science also tells us that if we can continue an exercise regimen, NO production will slowly improve.
    3. Take a safe and effective natural nitric oxide supplement or nutritional product. There are many nitric oxide products on the market but you must ask yourself three important questions when choosing a nitric oxide product:
      1. Are there any clinical trials on the product that supports its benefits on blood pressure or cardiovascular health?
      2. Does the product have any patents or is it licensed from a reputable University or Medical School?
      3. Is the company selling the product experienced in nitric oxide research and innovation? If you can answer yes to all these questions then you know you have a safe and effective nitric oxide product.

The right diet, combined with moderate physical exercise and the right dietary supplements are the first steps to take to naturally support healthy blood pressure. In fact, it was Hippocrates himself that said, “Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Centuries later the famous cardiologist Ken Cooper MD said, “Exercise is medicine”.