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
– Hereditary factors
– Some forms of the combined contraceptive pill
– Other medications
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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, 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.
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.
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
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.