Alcohol and High Blood Pressure
Moderate alcohol consumption?
Medical research into alcohol and high blood pressure has shown that moderate alcohol consumption is linked to lower risk of heart and cardiovascular problems.
How? Well, it seems that alcohol helps to increase the type of cholesterol that’s good for you and your blood pressure (high density lipoprotein) while protecting your arteries from damage from ‘bad’ (low density lipoprotein) cholesterol. Alcohol may also help high blood pressure by reducing blood clot formation.
Red red wine…
Red wine in particular has long been thought to be good for the heart and circulation. The antioxidants that red wine contains, especially polyphenols like resveratrol, protect the lining of blood vessels in the heart and increase nitric oxide in the body which relaxes blood vessels, promoting good blood flow.
Drinking small amounts of red wine has often been recommended to help lower blood pressure because of both the antioxidants in the wine and the effects of the alcohol.
However, confusingly, a recent study in Barcelona on alcohol and high blood pressure suggested the alcohol in red wine may weaken the beneficial effects of wine’s polyphenols.
In the alcohol and high blood pressure study, men had lower blood pressure after drinking non-alcoholic red wine for four weeks, but there was only a tiny decrease after drinking the normal red wine for four weeks. The polyphenols in the red wine increased the levels of nitric oxide in the body, which relaxes blood vessels, but the researchers think the alcohol weakened this effect.
What’s the best kind of booze?
This doesn’t mean you have to switch to non-alcoholic red wine only. This is only one study, and research into alcohol and high blood pressure is still ongoing – there are no clear-cut conclusions yet!
We know that red wine does contain good anti-oxidants, so it’s still good to drink a glass now and then, to contribute to a healthy cardiovascular system and lower blood pressure. And of course, it’s understood that alcohol itself has definite benefits, so if you don’t like red wine, drinking any alcohol – in moderate amounts – may be helpful.
However, drinking non-alcoholic red wine is a great idea if you’re very sensitive to the effects of alcohol, or if you want to drink red wine without increasing your alcohol intake. You get all the benefits and none of the risks!
Water and wine
You can also mix water into red wine. Not only does this taste good and make the wine last longer, it has an ancient history, going back to the Greeks. In many Mediterranean and Eastern European countries, people dilute wine with water, especially for drinking with meals.
Another way to dilute wine is to add fruit juice to wine. Berry juices are great with red wine, and chuck in some frozen berries in the summer to make a delicious sangria. Berries are currently considered a ‘superfood’, being full of antioxidants, so you’ll be doing your blood pressure an extra favour, as well as adding extra flavour 😉
To find out more about good drinks and food you can have whilst still lowering your blood pressure, click here to get our free report: Eat, Drink and Be Merry While Still Lowering Your Blood Pressure Naturally.
Alcohol and high blood pressure: everything in moderation
Mixing water and wine also features on the Temperance card of the Tarot. It’s the very symbol of moderation, which is what we repeatedly hear about drinking alcohol! It’s important though, because there is a clear link between alcohol and high blood pressure in that drinking a lot of alcohol is likely to raise your blood pressure, by various means, as well as having the other detrimental effects on your health.
The daily alcohol allowances given by health authorities vary by country, with lower recommended limits in the US than the UK. Draw your own conclusions… (The allowance is generally higher for men because they’re usually larger than women and have more of an stomach enzyme that metabolises alcohol.)
The US talks in terms of standard drinks and the UK in terms of units of alcohol but they are roughly comparable:
One unit (UK) or drink (US) =
12 ounces or 1/2 a pint of beer/lager/cider,
5 ounces or 1 medium glass of wine,
1.5 ounces or 1 shot of spirits/liquor
(more details below)
The US government recommends no more than 1-2 drinks/units a day for men, 1 a day for women; while the UK’s NHS recommends a more generous limit of 2 units a day for men and women (14 units per week).
Some people are more sensitive to the effects of alcohol than others, so you need to judge for yourself what’s a healthy amount to be drinking.
But too much alcohol is worse for your blood pressure than too little, so best to stay on the lower side.
For a general guideline, one drink a day is a good and safe amount, a couple of drinks on special occasions.
Or, of course, more if you mix it.
Cheers to that!
UNITS OF ALCOHOL IN DIFFERENT DRINKS:
small glass (125ml) – 1.5 units
medium glass (175ml) – 2.1 units
large glass (250ml) – 3 units
pint of low strength (3.6% ABV) – 2 units
pint of high strength (5.2% ABV) – 3 units
bottle (330ml, 5% ABV) – 1.7 units
can (440ml, 4.5% ABV) – 2 units
small shot (25ml, ABV 40%) – 1 unit,
large shot (35ml, ABV 40%) – 1.4 units
(US ounce is 30ml – so 1.2 units)
(information from UK NHS website; ABV = alcohol by volume = total alcohol content divided by volume)
Lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally and Holistically
Drinking a few glasses of red wine may well help your high blood pressure but won’t make a big difference on its own. Luckily there’s a lot more you can do to lower your blood pressure naturally!
For a start, there’s a large choice of affordable natural ingredients that lower blood pressure. Many of these spices, herbs, berries, fruits, grains, vegetables, meats and drinks are available in local stores.
Of course there are other factors beyond diet (like fitness and stress) which affect your blood pressure. So the best way to lower your blood pressure without drugs is to apply a broader approach – covering all causes and cures with natural home-based remedies.
This might sound daunting, especially if you’re just starting out on this route to better blood pressure but actually these changes can be incorporated quite easily into your everyday life.
The question is knowing what to do and figuring out how and when to do it. So to make it simple, we’ve put together a complete guide to lowering your blood pressure naturally:
The guide is laid out in 9 straightforward steps. You just follow the advice for each step – take it a week at a time or a month at a time, whatever suits you – and you’ll be on your way to lower blood pressure and better health in general.
Not only is the guide easy to follow but it’s also enjoyable to follow, with lots of tasty food and drink suggestions, and useful tips and insights on lifestyle changes. Little things that – put together – can make a big difference.
Lowering your blood pressure naturally doesn’t have to be hard!
To download a sample of the guide to your computer right now click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the download link.
(Post by Alison)