By Bob Condor

Medical researchers are still buzzing about two new studies published earlier this year showing that older, cheaper and generic blood pressure medications featuring “water pills” or diuretics serve as an effective first defense against blood readings of 140 over 90 and up.

Interestingly, another study just released makes a case for the cholesterol-fighting class of medications called statins to be capable of serving double-duty by also reducing blood pressure.

But Dr. Nancy Welliver, a Seattle-based naturopathic physician and faculty member at Bastyr University, says there is good evidence that taking a diuretic will cause your body to stay on the blood pressure drug for life because it actually limits water and fluids. And don’t get her started on using statins to control cholesterol and blood pressure.

“The oldest medicines are really good food, good care, good water and good love,” Welliver said.

Now you have to love that sort of answer. She had more to say to the Daily Health Blog, including how dehydration as child might show up again in adult life. Parents take note.

“Drinking lots of water is beneficial for blood pressure,” said Dr. Welliver. “The research literature is interesting. It showed infants who tended to go through some level of dehydration as babies will have higher blood pressure during adult years.”

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Welliver is far from alone in urging patients to eat more healthfully as a blood pressure regulator. Diets high in fruits and vegetables, as outlined in high-profile studies at Harvard, are found to help decrease readings. While some scientists attribute it to eating fewer salty foods, Welliver said the key element is that fresh produce offers a balance of calcium, potassium and magnesiu

m to offset the sodium intake. There is research to show some individuals are more sensitive to a sodium trigger on blood pressure, a condition that runs in families.

Of course, it can be hard, at least for some people, to eat enough fresh produce to be therapeutic. Juicing, either at your fave health food store or using a professional-quality juicer in your own home, can turn the tide back to healthy blood pressure.

“I recommend celery, carrot and beet juices to start,” said Welliver, adding that you can certainly mix all three. “Parsley is also great for reducing blood pressure.”

The “good love” part of Welliver's program is more about treating yourself right by being more active. She said you don't have to go to the gym as much as walk regularly. For instance, commuters who make a point to walk several blocks each way are helping their blood pressure readings to reach healthy range.

“Getting a pedometer is constructive,” she said. “If you can work up to 10,000 steps a day, it can make a huge difference in preventing hypertension.”

A Brigham Young University study published in the Annals of Behavioral Medicine in March 2008 puts a different twist on good love affecting your BP. Researcher Julianne Holt-Lunstad found that happily married adults have significantly lower blood pressure than single people, even if the singles have supportive social networks. Not surprisingly, unhappily married individuals had higher blood pressure outcomes, on average, than either happily marrieds or singles.

Good food, good care, good water and good love, indeed.

“Bob Condor is the Daily Health Blogger for Barton Publishing . He is also the Living Well columnist for the Seattle Post-Intelligencer . He covers natural health and quality of life issues and writes regularly for national magazines, including Life, Esquire, Parade, Self, and Outside. He is a former syndicated health columnist for the Chicago Tribune and author of six books, including “The Good Mood Diet” and “Your Prostate Cancer Survivors' Guide.” He lives in the Pacific Northwest with his wife and two 11-year-old kids.