high blood pressure

Minimising High Blood Pressure The Natural Way

Natural Ways to Help Prevent Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

Hypertension is a serious medical condition where the blood is pumped through the arteries at a

higher pressure than the regular rate (140/90mm Hg or above) – more commonly referred to as

High Blood Pressure. The body can usually resist high blood pressure for an extended period of

time so hypertension often shows no symptoms, but it indicates a higher risk of major diseases

such as a kidney failure, stroke and heart attack. There are natural things that you can do and eat to help reduce high blood pressure.

Hypertension is most often associated with the elderly, because as we age the elasticity of our

arteries tends to decrease and they become more rigid, struggling more with the blood pumping

through them. However, it isn’t a normal state of health, and there are other factors that can

contribute to high blood pressure. Some of these factors include;

– Lack of exercise

– Heavy drinking

– Obesity

– Hereditary factors

– Smoking

– Some forms of the combined contraceptive pill

– Other medications

– Stress

Especially beyond the age of 50, it’s important to have regular doctor checkups to keep an eye on

your blood pressure levels, and monitor whether or not it is potentially becoming an issue for you.

Blood pressure monitors are available for purchase without prescription. If you are diagnosed with

high blood pressure there are antihypertensive medications you will most likely be prescribed, but

to avoid such a diagnosis there are a lot of small changes you can make to your diet and everyday

routine. Essentially, the key to avoiding hypertension is to live a healthy lifestyle.

Quit Smoking

Seems a bit obvious, but anyone who’s kicked the habit (or tried to) knows that it’s much easier

said than done. Quitting smoking is vital to your general wellbeing regardless, but it’s absolutely

necessary if you’re beginning to worry about your blood pressure. Every time you smoke a

cigarette, your blood pressure increases and doesn’t slow down until minutes after the cigarette is

finished. The more often you smoke, the more this becomes a regular issue without the immediate

stimuli. It’s not easy, but if you enjoy the occasional smoke, that’s the first habit that has got to go

on the road to reducing hypertension.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

When it comes to blood pressure, alcohol is a tricky devil. In small doses, drinking alcohol can

actually lower your blood pressure by 2-4mm Hg (millimetre of mercury). This minimal amount

would be approximately one or two standard drinks a day, so you can still enjoy that glass of after-

dinner red! In fact, red wine is the most commonly linked with slight reduction in blood pressure.

However, any more than moderate has the reverse effect of raising your blood pressure by several

points, and can also diminish the effectiveness of antihypertensive medications.

Regular Exercise

Physical activity on a regular basis of at least 30 minutes a day can reduce blood pressure from 4-

9 mm Hg. Pick a routine and try to stick to it as well as you can, because lack of consistency can

result in blood pressure rising again. The best types of exercise for hypertension are swimming,

walking, jogging, dancing and cycling, although if you have already been diagnosed with high

blood pressure it’s best to consult with your doctor before beginning a new exercise program.

Lose Weight

Hypertension is a significantly greater risk in the obese, because being overweight means that the

artery walls are under greater pressure. If you’re overweight, losing some weight to bring your body

back into a healthy range often helps to lower blood pressure. This involves plenty of regular

exercise and a strict vegetable-centric diet regime.

Reduce Sodium

Sodium is the big bad when it comes to hight blood pressure. Too much sodium can often lead to

fluid retention, which heightens blood pressure. It’s been estimated that approximately 60% of

people who suffer from hypertension can lower their blood pressure by reducing the amount of

sodium in their diet; even just a minimal reduction in sodium intake can lower blood pressure by 2-

8 mm Hg. Avoiding sodium can take some planning, and the best way to manage your sodium

levels is to eat less processed foods, don’t add salt to your meals, and always read the labels to

take note of the amount of sodium you’re ingesting. Ideally, try to limit your sodium intake to

1500mg a day, especially if you have a particular sensitivity to salt.

Potassium

Potassium actively combats the negative effects of sodium, which means that eating foods high in

potassium helps to control blood pressure; especially those already diagnosed. Bananas are a

great source of potassium, but other options include zucchini, sweet potato, rockmelon, spinach

and dried apricot.

Garlic

Garlic, raw or cooked, helps to both maintain blood pressure and reduces cholesterol levels. It

stimulates the production of the chemicals nitric oxide and hydrogen sulphide, the latter of which

promotes a healthy blood flow, removes gas and reduces the pressure on the heart.

Lemon

When life gives you lemons… use them to stave off high blood pressure! Consuming lemons will

help keep your vessels and arteries more pliable when it comes to pumping blood, which lowers

the strain on the body and therefore minimises hypertension. The amount of vitamin C in a single

lemon is an antioxidant that promises to lower your chance of heart failure and other related

diseases. Sour though the fruit is, the best way to make consumption a regular part of your diet

regime is to add some lemon juice to a glass of hot water, and drink on an empty stomach in the

morning. Avoid any additional sugars or salts.

Cut Out Caffeine

I know, it seems like blasphemy, but consuming caffeine does ignite a strong temporary increase in

blood pressure, and if you’ve already been diagnosed with high blood pressure then the difference

is even more noticeable. The effects can vary depending on whether you’re a regular coffee-addict

or if caffeine is a rare treat for your body. To determine whether or not your body is particularly

affected by caffeine, you can measure your blood pressure before and after drinking a cup of

coffee (or any other caffeinated beverage). Alternatively, speak to your GP.

Breathing Exercises

Emotional stress also takes its toll on your blood pressure to varying degrees depending on the

individual, and so the practice of controlled breathing is a good way to keep the stress under wraps

and fend off those extra mm Hg’s. Combinations of gentle exercise and controlled breathing every

day over a period of 2-3 months demonstrate a significant decrease in blood pressure. Asian

physical arts such as Tai Chi, Qigong and yoga are prime examples of this type of

breathing/exercise combination.

 

Regardless of whether or not you notice symptoms or suffer from any cohesive or subsequent

conditions, it’s so important to keep up to date with health checkups and monitor your blood

pressure levels. However, all of these simple and natural remedies can be beneficial for your

hypertensive health before it ever actually becomes a medical issue, and prevention is the best

form of medication. Follow these guidelines to keep your veins young and your blood pressure in

check, and with any luck it will never be an issue. If you already suffer from hypertension or any

other related condition, adhere as strictly as possible to these guidelines to minimise your risk of

worsening and keep your blood pressure at a manageable level.

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