Blood pressure is a measure of the force exerted on an individual’s arterial walls as blood passes through the arteries. If the arterial walls are repeatedly and chronically receiving too much pressure, then the individual in question is said to be suffering from “hypertension” or “high blood pressure.”
The World Health Organization estimates that elevated blood pressure causes 7.5 million deaths each year, approximately 12.8% of the total number of deaths worldwide over the same period. A study in 2008 found that high blood pressure affects about 40% of adults aged 25 and over, with the total number of sufferers worldwide reaching an incredible 1 billion in that same year. Though there are no discernable causes for primary high blood pressure (essential blood pressure) there are several risk factors which greatly increase the likelihood of a person developing the condition. Some of these risk factors include poor diet (high salt, high fact and high alcohol intake), age, ethnic background, obesity/overweight, physical inactivity, family history, mental stress and smoking, among other conditions.
Elimination of or healthy improvements in any of the risk factors previously mentioned can have a significant effect in lowering blood pressure. However, some lifestyle changes can be extremely difficult if not impossible for some sufferers, especially those already advanced in age. Thankfully, recent research has been shedding light on a highly effective all-natural solution to the current global scourge of hypertension – grape seeds.
Scientific studies carried out by Dr. Burton-Freedman and colleagues at the Illinois Institute of Technology’s Center for Nutrition Research showed that when grape seed extract is added to the beverages of pre-hypertensive men and women (aged 25-65 years old) over a six week period, there is a significant reduction in blood pressure across the entire group. After assessing the results of her study Dr. Burton-Freedman exclaimed “the big news with the beverage was the systolic blood pressure in the whole population dropped 7mm of mercury after six weeks… then there was an increase after 10 weeks when they stopped taking the grape seed extract, so we saw a nice little rebound effect. The diastolic blood pressure of the population dropped by 3.8 mm of mercury as well.”
The news was even better for those who were at or above the median systolic blood pressure of 125. These individuals with higher blood pressures in the population saw their systolic blood pressure drop by 13.6 mm of mercury. “The efficacy almost doubled among people with a higher starting blood pressure, which makes sense because if you’re in more critical condition, there’s more room to reduce your blood pressure back to normal,” Dr. Burton-Freedman explained. There was also a corresponding diastolic blood pressure drop of 5.8 mm of mercury in this “higher pressure” group.
Earlier studies conducted by Dr. C. Tissa Kappagoda had already showed that grape seed extract can be used to help control blood pressure. When speaking on the safety of using grape seed extract Dr. Kappagoda commented that his staff found no dangerous drop in blood pressure with grape seed extract, even among persons who entered the experiment with normal blood pressure.
It is clear that hypertension has become a life threatening condition to millions of people worldwide, while severely affecting the quality of life for millions more. But even so, the human race is not without suitable responses. As always, nature continues to provide simple, yet stunningly effective solutions to the many (and often self-inflicted) problems that mankind is currently facing. Who would have guessed that so much life-saving power is packed into the tiny oft-overlooked grape seed? We implore you to pick up a pack of grape seeds at your nearest supermarket. Truly it is a solution that is worth its weight in gold.
Image courtesy of Lisa Brewster