“High blood pressure is our greatest overall health risk.”

I saw this generalised and sweeping statement in a Mail Online article of 13th December 2012, and noted that this common condition, also known as hypertension, was claimed to have killed more than 9 million people worldwide in 2010. In the same year, over 3 million deaths were attributable to a high BMI (obesity), 3 times more than were caused by malnutrition, a truly shocking statistic. According to information given on the Mayo Clinic website, high blood pressure causes atherosclerosis (“furring up” of the arteries), and can lead on to coronary artery disease, aneurysm, TIA, dementia, eye damage through retinopathy and even increased urinary calcium excretion, which we know is a risk factor for osteoporosis, and about which I write in my book. It is also considered to be a risk factor for heart disease and stroke.

It appears therefore, that high blood pressure is something that we would want to avoid at all costs. Indeed, a medical panel in the USA, many of whose members were funded by drug companies, has decided that blood pressure values that were hitherto considered to be relatively normal are now too high and that they need to be treated aggressively, and probably with more than one drug. They have recently named this condition “pre-hypertension” and my suspicion, given those recommendations, is that it has quite possibly been invented by the pharmaceutical industry and those with a vested interest.

I have, for a long time, believed that high blood pressure is just a symptom of an underlying disease process, and that we should be focusing on that underlying disease, rather than treating the high blood pressure as a disease in its own right. My argument in favour of this assumption comes down to simple physics. We have a certain volume of liquid (in this case, blood) and we push it with a pump (the heart) through a set of pipes of a certain length (the blood vessels). If those pipes become more narrow over a period of time, the pressure in the pipes rises. We don’t need a complicated medical explanation for this – narrower pipes mean increased pressure. It’s not the pressure itself that is the problem, it is the narrowed pipes. Make the pipes the normal diameter again and the pressure drops. Simple.

Or is it? We are now led to believe that it is the symptom that is the disease. Could it be that the factors that are known to cause high blood pressure are the very same things that cause the blood vessels to become “furred up” in the first place? Let’s take a closer look.

In 1998, the medical journal “Diabetes” stated that insulin resistance leads to high blood pressure. According to this document, fructose was the culprit. Humans are only capable of processing about 25 grams or fructose per day. High fructose corn syrup and fizzy drinks with masses of added sugar, together with eating a lot of processed food, will easily push people over this limit. But that shouldn’t be a problem for healthy people eating a raw or high raw diet, should it? My answer to that would be – it depends. Those who insist on eating a high fruit diet when they don’t live in the tropics and that fruit has been picked before full ripeness (therefore high sugar, low mineral content), could well be at risk. Dried fruit escalates the fructose intake dramatically. Those who still use agave syrup in their recipes (please stop, now!) are giving themselves massive exposure to unfavourable fructose intake, since agave is little more than liquid fructose. Figs, watermelon, raisins, dates and other dried fruits are high in fructose. Just because your food is being eaten raw, it doesn’t mean that it’s optimally healthy for you. These problems are exacerbated hugely if you are eating a lot of dried fruit and you are not exercising. Please don’t eat like an athlete unless you are one!

Vitamin D supplementation is known to be beneficial for those with “Syndrome X”, in which hypertension is evident; vitamin D has been demonstrated to lower blood pressure in susceptible individuals. Great as it is, Vitamin D is not the universal panacea. A recent Italian study indicated that mild stress is responsible for increasing blood pressure, and a reduced ability to cope with stress is a factor that leads to chronic illness. This is hardly surprising since we know that adrenaline raises heart rate and is part of the “fear, fight, flight” mechanism in which blood pressure rises for a good reason.

Going back to the article in the Mail Online, Professor Majid Ezzati from Imperial College, London, says that to combat high blood pressure we need to “regulate the salt content of food, allow easier access to fresh fruit and vegetables and strengthen primary healthcare services.” I am very concerned about this advice. Salt intake is only one of the many factors involved in hypertension, and it does absolutely nothing to address the likely underlying problem of atherosclerosis (arterial narrowing). Secondly, please correct me if I am wrong, but don’t we have the best access to fresh fruit and vegetables that we have ever had in our recent history? Finally, I am not sure what he means by “strengthening primary healthcare services”, but does this involve prescribing more drugs? In the UK, according to the BMJ, 97% of people taking antihypertensives (high blood pressure medications) had significant side effects.

Drugs are being used to treat symptoms. In the case of hypertension, they are just treating the symptom of the symptom, since high blood pressure is a symptom of narrowed, furred up arteries. The Mayo clinic is stating that high blood pressure causes atherosclerosis. I believe that it is the other way around. Allow me to explain why.

We have long been told about the “oxidative stress theory” of disease. This has now been proven to be true, so I am glad to say we can drop the “theory” part. According to research studies published in a histopathology journal in March 2008, oxidative stress initiates atherosclerosis. Indeed, free radicals (reactive oxygen molecules that cause oxidative damage to all parts of the body, not just blood vessels) are a key mediator of vascular inflammation. Food-derived, not synthetic, antioxidants are critical in reducing such damage. You can hear a lot more about oxidative stress in my CD or MP3 about this subject.

A vascular cleansing protocol, in my opinion, is the most effective way to reverse high blood pressure, together with appropriate stress-management techniques. I describe the protocol in more detail in my forthcoming book, but suffice it to say that it involves an ideally raw vegan diet with whole food supplements to reduce oxidative damage, and enzymes to break down protein deposition in the vascular basement membrane, one of the known causes of arterial narrowing. Increasing garlic intake may cause you to lose a few friends, but you’ll clear out your arteries faster, and reduce your blood pressure more quickly, if you use 2-3 cloves of this pungent bulb every day. Garlic reduces platelet stickiness and therefore minimises the incidence of blood clots. Exercise is also an essential part of the protocol, and all together I call it “bypassing the bypass”; after all, what’s the point in surgically removing 4 inches of furred up coronary artery when it’s all 60,000 miles of vessels in the body that are affected?

A vegan diet that is all-raw or high raw will slash your risk of hypertension by removing pretty much all the arterial sludge that accumulates as a result of eating the bodies of dead animals. But as I stated earlier, fructose intake also needs to be limited, so go easy on the fruit, stop using agave in your recipes, and make sure that any negative stress is well controlled. Up your intake of greens and enjoy a large green juice every day. Here’s to a New Year with free-flowing blood and all the benefits that it brings!

This article is not intended as a substitute for medical advice. Consult your healthcare practitioner before changing your diet and lifestyle. For advice tailored to your individual circumstances, or if you absolutely can’t wait for the book to be published to get the protocol, why not consider a consultation?  

 

 

About Max Tuck

Hippocrates Health Educator. Long term living foods vegan. Athlete, lecturer, author of four books (with the 5th coming soon) and firm advocate of healthy living.
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