Nearly one in three adults suffers high blood pressure or hypertension, the silent killer disease in the US. 66 million Americans have elevated blood pressure - systolic blood pressure of greater than 140 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure of greater than 90 mm Hg. Cardiovascular morbidity and mortality ( in simpler terms - heart problems and death rate) rise as the blood pressure rises significantly. Hypertension - high blood pressure can be due to various causes - Primary Essential Hypertension, the type that occurs due to complex interactions between genetic factors and environmental factors and the second type - secondary hypertension which occurs due to specific, clearly identifiable causes.
While most doctors recommend medications to lower high blood pressure, lifestyle changes and natural remedies can help control hypertension in a significant manner. Untreated high blood pressure may result in serious damage to the organs in the body and increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, brain hemorrhage and kidney disease and vision loss.
Managing stress is the key to control high blood pressure. Autogenic training is a technique used for stress reduction and relaxation. In successive sessions breathing, blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature can be controlled. Autogenic training involves certain bodily postures, concentration, imagination and verbal cues. It can be acquired with regular practice.
Aerobic exercises are an integral part of the natural approach to lower high blood pressure. However, it is recommended to consult with the medical practitioner prior to embarking on a new exercise regimen.
Listening to music no doubt relaxes and slows down heart rate and lowers blood pressure. Close eyes, breathe slowly and deeply and lie down in a comfortable position to let the body absorb the energy of sound. Music soothes the body and mind and reduces hypertension.
Diet for high blood pressure
It is imperative to undergo a change in the diet to lower the high blood pressure. Fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy foods, beans and nuts are recommended. Intake of sodium should be restricted to about 1,500 mg a day which is approximately equal to 2/3 teaspoon from all sources including processed and canned foods containing hidden salts.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute in the US has prescribed Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH). The DASH diet has tabled daily guidelines for reducing high blood pressure in two weeks time:
The DASH guideline also mentions serving sizes as follows:
½ cup of cooked rice or pasta
1 slice bread
1 cup raw vegetables or fruit
½ cup cooked vegetables or fruit
8 oz. of milk
1 teaspoon olive oil
3 ounces cooked meat
3 ounces tofu
Natural remedies for high blood pressure:
Herbs and supplements to avoid
Alternatively, there are certain herbs that have been found to cause high blood pressure. These include:
Home remedies for high blood pressure:
Canola and mustard seed: cooking with polyunsaturated oils can lower high blood pressure and cholesterol.
Leafy green vegetables and milk can prevent high blood pressure due to the calcium found in them.
Broccoli is a rich source of soluble fiber which combined with its many nutrients can lower high blood pressure.
Turmeric Specifically the active ingredient Curcumin plays a role in reducing blood pressure.
Celery contains the photochemical 3 N butylphthalide which can decrease blood pressure.
Cayenne pepper prevents platelets from clumping together and thereby facilitating a good blood flow.
Vitamin C is an antioxidant that lowers high blood pressure and prevents free radicals from damaging artery walls.