Guarding Against High Blood Pressure: Natural Remedies for HypertensionPhoto By: Alex Gorzen/CC BY
According to the CDC, close to 1/3rd of American adults have high blood pressure. In developing countries, the figures are even higher as healthcare facilities are not meeting the increasing requirements.
Blood pressure is basically the force that blood exerts, pushing the artery walls. American Heart Association estimates that when the force of blood is high over time, damage occurs. Tissues that comprise the artery walls are then stretched beyond the normal limit. Blood pressure is written as a ratio comprising the two numbers:
The top number which is systolic measures the pressures in the parties when lower heart chambers or ventricles undergo contraction.The bottom number is diastolic. This indicates the pressure in arterial walls in between a heartbeat when there is more relaxation of the ventricles.
High blood pressure/hypertension is indicated or diagnosed when blood pressure is higher than 140 over 90mmHg, according to the medical guideline. Numerous factors cause high blood pressure.
Hypertension is even called the silent killer because it can develop into a serious health complication without the person being aware of it. This is why high blood pressure should be detected and you should go in for a regular evaluation.
Impact of Blood Pressure Spike
High BP can cause the following medical complications
- Heart failure
- Kidney Disease
- Vision Loss
- Metabolic syndrome
Natural Remedies To Tackle the Condition
Can you deal with hypertension and not use medications to treat the condition? While medical help is necessary, natural remedies can also help to stave off high BP. Here's what you can do to beat hypertension the natural way:
Lose Weight, Gain Good Health
BP rises as weight increases. Overweight individuals are also more likely to suffer from sleep apnea which raises blood pressure. Sleep apnea is difficulty breathing during sleeping. Weight loss is a natural cure for hypertension because it sheds more than just pounds. Leave behind high blood pressure by reducing your waistline and increasing your healthy muscles. Even your waistline can influence chances of developing BP. You are in the danger zone if you have the following waist measurement:
- 40 inches or more: Men
- 35 inches more: Women
One way to burn fat and lose weight (and also lower high BP) is through constant physical activity. This means 30 minutes of moderately strenuous physical activity in a day. This can lower BP by 4 to 9 mm Hg. If you stop exercise, blood pressure complications are likely to ensue. Here are some exercises you can do to lower blood pressure:
Eating a Healthy Diet
Eating a diet rich in fibre and low-fat dairy products which cut down on cholesterol and saturated fat can cut down on blood pressure by 14mmHg- this eating plan is called DASH- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension.
Here's what you can do to follow a healthy diet:
- Buy health foods
- Boost potassium content in food
- Reduce sodium intake
- Maintain a diary recording the amount you eat
Reduce Sodium Dietary Intake
Sodium is generally found in common salt. Even a tiny reduction in sodium intake can translate into BP reduction by as much as 8 mmHg. Sodium limit should be 2,3000 mg or less in a day. Greater salt sensitivities are noted among:
- Aged 51 or above persons
- Those diagnosed with BP, diabetes or chronic kidney
Other steps you can take include reading food labels, eating fewer processed foods and not adding salt.
Limit the Alcohol You Drink
Alcohol is bad for health when taken in copious amounts, though in small measures, it can lower blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg. Drinking too much alcohol which is more than one for women or men aged more than 65, and two for men aged 65 and younger can prove disastrous. A drink has 12 ounces of beer or five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of liquor in one serving.
Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can impact health and even lessen the positive impact of blood pressure medication.
Chronic stress is another causative factor in high blood pressure or hypertension. High blood pressure can also be reduced if you lower stress and maladaptive responses to stress such as smoking, overeating or imbibing vast amounts of alcohol.
Change your expectations and think about the problem. Find out more about your triggers for stress and try to limit them. Take out the time to relax and enjoy activities and breathe deeply. Regular measures to cope with stress effectively include meditation, deep breathing, and regular exercise.
Foods You Can Eat
Numerous studies have found that garlic reduces high blood pressure. More so systolic than diastolic, but both to some extent. The reduction is small but this can be effective in countering minor hypertension. Bear in mind that you need to check with the doctor first before taking this food as it is contraindicated with some medicines.
An active compound in garlic is allicin. This contains sulphur which acts on the nitric oxide system of the body- this reduces systolic blood pressure and releases the pressure in arteries. Studies have found people should take 600 to 2400 mg of garlic over a period of 12 weeks for moderate health benefits.
Omega 3 Fatty Acids
This is fish oil. It is a fatty acid found in fish. But this oil is also found in certain plant foods as well. Available research suggests that those with high blood pressure can benefit from Omega 3 fatty acid DHA. Omega 3 fatty acids are found in fish like tuna and salmon and plant sources like flaxseed
Dark Chocolate, Cocoa or Chocolate
Several studies have also found that eating dark chocolate or cocoa products with flavonoids can reduce blood pressure in hypertensive patients. Chocolate affects the nitric oxide systems in human bodies and lowers blood pressure through vasodilating. It also lowers the angiotensin creating enzyme thereby reducing blood pressure. Larger amounts of caffeine in chocolate can raise blood pressure, so be careful. Don't eat in excess (greater than 400 mg per day).
Found in fish, egg, milk and cod liver oil, Vitamin D is naturally produced during exposure to the sunlight. Low levels of vitamin D play a role in developing high BP. Reduced exposure to sunlight or less vitamin D can literally take the shine out of your life and leave you depressed. So make sure you get plenty of vitamin D through natural foods and exposure to sunlight.
Raw Coffe Beans
Green coffee beans or raw coffee beans which have not been roasted is the perfect solution for lowering blood pressure. How so? Well, studies have found that a compound in the green coffee extract from Coffea fruit is able to lower blood pressure.
This compound is called chlorogenic acid. A metabolite called ferulic acid is also known to create a hypotensive impact of coffee from green coffee beans. This is a metabolite of a certain acid which reduces blood pressure known as 5 caffeoylquinic acid. Green coffee extract also promotes weight loss which helps people to counter hypertension
Hibiscus Tea work wonders for those suffering from hypertension. Cultures from all across the globe since ancient times have used hibiscus to combat blood pressure. This mimics ACE inhibitors or angiotensin-converting enzyme that are used to treat high blood pressure.
This ACE mechanism works by hampering and inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme which moderates the functioning of a hormone system that monitors blood pressure and fluid balance. This hormone system is called renin-angiotensin.
Inhibiting this system will cause blood vessels to relax and it can work as effectively as ACE drugs. Choose fresh or dried hibiscus leaves and mix it with hot water, lemon and cinnamon for some delicious tea.
Opt for Coconut Water
Coconut water found within the shells of green, unripe coconuts that are present in its organic form, is rich in potassium and magnesium which lowers high blood pressure. Studies indicate that it affects systolic blood pressure or the force at which heart pumps blood away from itself.
This herb is perfect fro improve heart health on account of two flavonoids namely
- Oligomeric procyanidins (OPCs)
Flavonoids have benefits such as impacting blood pressure by reducing arterial BP and lowering chances of hypertension. Several mechanisms can come into play for dealing with hypertension and hawthorn is one of them.
This is perfect as a means of lowering blood pressure because it contains an organic compound called citrulline which is an a-amino acid. This converts into amino acid L-arginine when ingested and produces Nitric Oxide.
This tells various cells in the body to regulate BP also called vascular systematic resistance. This lowers blood pressure by opening the blood vessels. Pumping blood through wider pathways is easier than narrower ones.
Cat's Claw Decoctions
Cat's Claw is botanically known as Uncaria tomatoes. This is a climbing vine found in South and Central America and is prevalent in Amazon region. It looks like cats claws because thorns on its plant are hook-like.
This is a remedy for blood pressure which works by dilating and widening blood vessels. It also acts as a mild diuretic which lowers the presence of salt in the body. In these two ways, it lessens hypertension. Tannins and flavonoids are the major constituents that account for the healing and blood pressure lowering of the herb.
Blueberry contains quercetin, which is an important flavonoid for combating blood pressure. Blueberry syrup is an excellent way to imbibe a good quantity of this antioxidant rich syrup and benefit from its healing properties.
This herb is used a lot in Italian/ continental cooking. Basil has many wonderful pretties and one of these is that it lowers blood pressure. Add this herb to pasta, salads, soups and dishes for best results.
This is a wonderful spice that lowers blood pressure and enhances the daily taste of the food. It can also help diabetic patients to regulate their blood glucose levels.
This seasoning from India is a common ingredient in many South Asian dishes. It has high amounts of compounds which lower blood pressure. You can add cardamom to soups, stews, and dishes for positive health outcomes.
This contains gingerols which help control blood pressure. Ginger improves blood circulation and relaxes the muscles around the blood vessel. This diverse ingredient is very versatile and can be used in everything from tea to dishes and desserts.
Celery has been known to increase recovery in hypertensive persons. These seeds lower blood pressure but the entire plant acts as a diuretic. This may explain the effect on blood vessels and also serve to lower salts in the system thereby reducing BP.
Rosemary and Lavender
These are two amazing herbs, rosemary, and lavender which can be ingested or even used for aromatherapy to lower hypertension. Natural cures for blood pressure also include alternative therapies like yoga, meditation, and biofeedback. But aromatherapy has been found to be effective too.
From lifestyle changes to natural therapies, foods, vegetables and herbs as well as spices, there is a whole host of remedies for curing blood pressure problems. Hypertension may be a silent killer, but a lot of people are already aware of its deadly consequences. With a little bit of effort, medical supervision and guidance along with these natural remedies, you can effectively combat this medical condition.