High blood pressure also called hypertension, can lead to life-threatening conditions. Although medication is available to control this condition, it can cause unwanted side effects. That’s why natural and holistic treatment for hypertension may be a good option.
What is High Blood Pressure?
As your heart beats, blood gets pushed out of the heart into the arteries. The force at which the blood pushes against the walls of the arteries is measured when your blood pressure is checked.
Normally the arteries are elastic so that blood can flow without much resistance. If the arteries become stiff and narrow due to fatty deposits, the heart must work harder with every beat. The increased pressure on the arterial walls is what causes high blood pressure.
If you have high blood pressure, your heart is working harder to pump blood through your body. High blood pressure can lead to serious health problems including a stroke, congestive heart failure and a heart attack.
Herbs and Supplements to Lower Blood Pressure
Medications are not the only way to lower blood pressure. In fact, naturopathic medicine and holistic treatments may also help decrease blood pressure. For example, certain herbs and supplements may lower your BP:
Ginger: Ginger is thought to relax the muscles which surround the blood vessels. It also improves circulation, which may lower blood pressure.
Fish oil: Fish oil contains omega 3 fatty acids, which are shown to reduce triglycerides and lower blood pressure.
Garlic: Garlic has been used for thousands of years for its health benefits. One of those benefits is lowering blood pressure. According to the University of Maryland Medical Center, garlic supplements can lower blood pressure by about eight percent.
Hawthorn: Hawthorn is thought to have several cardiovascular benefits including the prevention of blood clots, increased circulation and decreased blood pressure.
Flaxseed: Studies have also shown flaxseed can decrease blood pressure by a few points. But it may also play a role in maintaining good cardiovascular health in several additional ways. For example, flaxseed may decrease cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation and act as an antioxidant.
Diets Do’s and Don’ts
Your diet can play an important role in controlling blood pressure. One approach is the DASH diet, which stands for Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension. The diet is easy to follow and good for your overall health.
The DASH diet involves eating low-fat dairy, plenty of fruits and vegetables, along with whole grains, poultry, fish and nuts. Red meats, sweets and foods high in salt should be limited. Foods high in cholesterol, trans fats and saturated fats should also be greatly limited.
To make it simple, consider some of the following diet do’s and don’ts to control high blood pressure.
- Do eat a diet high in fiber
- Don’t eat fried foods
- Do watch red meat intake
- Don’t add extra salt
- Do read food labels to determine sodium and saturated fat content.
- Don’t eat a diet high in processed foods
Having a nutritional consultation to determine the best diet to lower blood pressure is also helpful. A nutritionist can help you determine specific meal plans based on your age, weight and other health concerns.
Breaking Bad Habits
Eliminating bad habits that contribute to high blood pressure can also make a big difference. Stress, smoking and living a sedentary lifestyle can all play a part in developing high blood pressure. Fortunately, changing those habits can help your numbers decrease.
Lowering your stress level is a good way to control blood pressure. Although researchers are not entirely sure how stress affects blood pressure, it appears it can contribute to cardiovascular problems.
When you’re stressed, your body releases various hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones constrict the blood vessels, increase heart rate and blood pressure. Although not all stress can be eliminated, finding ways to relax and limit stress can be beneficial for your blood pressure and overall health.
Exercising on a regular basis is also an important step to decrease your chances of developing high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is already a little high, regular exercise can help bring your numbers down and prevent full-blown hypertension.
Even for people who already have hypertension, exercise may get blood pressure to a safer level. The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes of exercise on most days of the week. Find a cardiovascular activity you enjoy, such as brisk walking, biking or aerobic classes. Participating in activities you enjoy may help you stick with a fitness program.
If you smoke, kicking the habit is also good for your blood pressure. Immediately after smoking a cigarette, your blood pressure increases. But that’s not all. Smoking also damages the blood vessels and can contribute to fatty buildup on the arterial walls.
Lastly, it’s important to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Home blood pressure monitors are quick and easy to use. Keeping tabs on your numbers is important, so that they can alert you about potential problems.
- If you are on any medications for high blood pressure, it is very important that you stay on these medications as prescribed.
- Certain herbs and supplements may interact with some drugs. Consult with your health professionals before you add any natural supplements.