Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Is It Possible to Heal High Blood Pressure by Fasting?

A reader asks, "Is healing high blood pressure by fasting possible?"

And my answer is, it depends.
In the short term, completely avoiding the stress of arteries induced by a "dump" of fatty acids and glucose about 2 hours after eating a high-fat meal will improve endothelial (artery lining) function. And if you do a juice fast, the potassium from fruits and vegetables will improve your blood pressure, your heart rate, and even your complexion, in three or four days.

The problem is, most people cannot fast more than three or four days, and some people cannot fast at all. But there is another approach that also helps.

Sometimes high blood pressure caused by stress improves if you just manage to get about 14 hours between your last meal of one day and your first meal of the next, and preferably 18 hours. It doesn't make a lot of difference if you "load up" when you do eat, as long as you aren't loading up on foods that are high-fat or high-sodium.

When scientists tested intermittent fasting with human volunteers, they found:

Long-term calorie restriction reduces body fat. Intermittent fasting also reduces body fat.

Long-term calorie restriction lowers body temperature (slowing down the process of oxidation). Intermittent fasting also lowers body temperature.

Long-term calorie restriction lowers blood pressure and slows the heart rate. Intermittent also fasting lowers blood pressure and slows the heart rate.

Long-term calorie restriction lowers blood insulin levels. Intermittent fasting also lowers blood insulin levels.

Long-term calorie restriction increases HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Intermittent fasting also increases HDL.

Long-term calorie restriction decreases homocysteine. Intermittent fasting also decreases homocysteine.

So my recommendation would be, if you are going to fast, fast every day, but for no more than 18 hours. You and your family can live with your diet, and it may do your heart a great deal of good.

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