The silent killer, or high blood pressure, or hypertension, affects 1 out of each 3 Americans and leads to a shocking number of health issues, including kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke. High blood pressure is regarded as the biggest risk factor for a stroke. Globally, almost 8 million people die because of high blood pressure. The World Health Organization (WHO) (http://www.searo.who.int/topics/hypertension/en/) predicts that around 1.56 billion people will be suffering from hypertension by 2025.
Why is it happening to us? Mostly, because people ignore the symptoms of hypertension or are too busy to visit a hospital to measure their blood pressure. Although there are tons of medications, there are many natural ways to prevent and lower high blood pressure. But before we dive into all those natural remedies, let’s find out what hypertension is and how to figure out if you have it.
Page Contents - Quick Links
- The silent killer that could kill you truly silently
- What are the symptoms of hypertension?
- How to lower high blood pressure naturally
- Recommended Books on High Blood Pressure
- Supplement to support blood pressure
The silent killer that could kill you truly silently
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the constant blood pumping through blood vessels with highly excessive force. This means the heart must work extra hard to push blood through the body. Even though our arteries are made of a layer of smooth muscle and semi-flexible tissue, the high blood pressure causes the wall overstretching and leads to tiny blood vessel tears called vascular scarring. Over time, the walls become weak and this increases the risk of blood clots.
Medical experts associate hypertension with cardiovascular health. They believe the lower blood pressure, the healthier heart, though too low blood pressure could cause premature death too. The healthy blood pressure level is hard to achieve when you lead an unhealthy lifestyle like most people do these days.
Some of the major causes of hypertension include the fluid and salt imbalances in the kidney function, stress, fatigue, a lack of sleep, changes in the function and structure of large and small arteries, weak immunity, obesity, unhealthy eating habits, a lack of physical activity, overtraining, prescription medicines (even birth control pills!), and in rare cases genetic causes.
What are the symptoms of hypertension?
Since high blood pressure is mainly a symptomless condition, it’s almost impossible to diagnose this health issue without a doctor. Many people consider frequent headaches as a symptom of high blood pressure. While headaches can occur in some people suffering from chronic hypertension, it’s not the major symptom in healthy ones. Blood pressure can rise without even letting you know about it until you experience a heart attack or stroke.
When you experience a severe high blood pressure, watch out for the symptoms like dizziness, nosebleeds, unbearable headache, shortness of breath, and severe anxiety.
The best way to figure out if your blood pressure is high is to check it by using a blood pressure monitor. It’s crucially important to know your blood pressure to prevent hypertension from developing.
How to lower high blood pressure naturally
With a host of medications available today, it may be easier to lower high blood pressure. However, if you don’t want to experience the side effects of those pills and you want to improve your overall health while keeping your blood pressure at bay, here are some of the most effective ways to do it. They all start with choices you make in your daily schedule, continues with healthy lifestyle changes, and end with some tweaking in your kitchen.
A study shows (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25852526) that meditation is associated with a significant drop in blood pressure. Meditation helps to reduce stress, calm the body and mind, and improve sleep. Regular practices combined with healthy eating habits and exercise can help you lower your high blood pressure without turning to medications.
Researchers at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute in Melbourne found that consuming 16 ounces of fresh beet juice daily can significantly lower blood pressure. That’s because of the nitrite chemical formation from the dietary nitrates in beet juice. Cooked beet is also an excellent source of nitrites. Eating it in moderation can help relax blood vessels, thus lowering the blood pressure.
Adding too much sodium to your eating plan can also contribute to high blood pressure. Excess sodium disrupts the fluid balance in the body. The high volume of liquid makes the heart work harder to pump the blood. Reduce your salt consumption to help your heart function well.
Sleep deprivation has never done anything good to our bodies. Getting those 7 to 8 hours of sleep is critical. If you suffer from high blood pressure, make sure you go to bed before 10 pm.
Magnesium can help dilate blood vessels and prevent spasm in the blood vessel walls and heart muscle. It can also help to dissolve blood clots, reducing your risk for heart disease. Get the recommended daily allowance of 320 mg of magnesium if you’re a woman and 420 mg if you’re a man.
Black tea is a great source of flavonoids that boost the tone of blood vessels and help channel blood more effectively. Doesn’t it sound like a good reason to have your cup of black tea today?
If black tea isn’t your thing, hibiscus tea will help you handle your high blood pressure problems. Add a teaspoon of dried hibiscus to a cup of hot water, let it stand for 5 minutes and drink 2 times a day. You can add a tiny bit of honey to improve its taste.
Blueberries are high in the nitric oxide that helps reduce blood pressure. Have a blueberry smoothie in the morning or add some fresh berries to your lunch to keep your blood pressure at bay throughout the day.
One of the most powerful seeds out there, flaxseeds are chock full of alpha linolenic acid that helps fight inflammation and high blood pressure. Aim to eat 2 tablespoons of flaxseeds daily to reap all the health benefits these seeds offer. You can use them in almost everything you eat – from soups and oatmeal to smoothies, milkshakes, and yogurt.
Asparagus is a wonderful source of cladophylls – the chemicals that have healthy effects on your heart. Asparagus is also packed with fiber, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals, which all help lower blood pressure. Add this powerful vegetable to your salads, pizza, quinoa, risotto, soup, paella, you name it.
Drinking a glass of coconut water in the morning and an hour before sleep can significantly reduce high blood pressure. Coconut water is rich in magnesium and potassium, which improve muscle function and help your heart function more efficiently.
When it comes to hypertension and heart health, hawthorn is a must have in the kitchen. It contains flavonoids, such as oligomericprocyanidins and quercetin, which improve capillary function, prevent arrhythmia and palpitations, promote healthy glucose metabolism, lower arterial blood pressure and reduce the hypertension risk.
In a bowl, combine 4 tablespoons of powdered hawthorn berry, 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder, water and a teaspoon of raw honey. Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder and mix well to form a dough. Make small balls, place on a cookie sheet, and keep in the oven at 150 F until dry. Enjoy with any of tea mentioned above to ward off hypertension.
A study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25400881) shows that probiotics have positive effects on blood pressure. The great sources of probiotics are kefir, yogurt, sauerkraut, microalgae, dark chocolate, miso soup, tempeh, pickles, Kombucha tea, and kimchi, among the others. But don’t forget about the eating in moderation rule.
A Chinese study (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26000038) shows that regular yoga practices can help reduce blood pressure, particularly stress-induced hypertension. The Downward-Facing Dog Pose, Standing Forward Bend Pose, Posterior Stretch Pose, Plow Pose, and Bridge Pose are some hypertension-reducing yoga movements to perform daily for ultimate health.
A cup of cooked white beans provides the body with 708 mg of potassium, 19 g of dietary fiber and 15 g of protein and contains 12% of recommended daily amount of calcium, 23% of iron, 24% of magnesium and 15% of vitamin B6. All these nutrients make white beans one of the best foods that reduce high blood pressure.
Omega-3 fatty acids
These essential fatty acids can be found in fish and plant foods, such as edamame, walnuts, flaxseeds, winter squash, kidney beans and black beans. Consuming 2 to 4 grams of omega-3 fatty acids daily may help lower blood pressure and prevent the development of severe hypertension.
Blood pressure is often increased when there’s vitamin D deficiency in the body. Therefore, make sure you consume foods rich in vitamin D, such as eggs, fortified milk, and fish, and spend at least 10 minutes in the sun whenever possible. Be sure you wear sunscreen.
If you suffer from the obesity, you’re more likely to develop high blood pressure. Reconsider your lifestyle, and try to drop some pounds. Exercise regularly, eliminate fast and processed foods from your diet, stay hydrated and get enough sleep. Avoid trying strict diets, which lead to severe nutrient deficiencies.
Drinking too much alcohol on a regular basis is linked with increasing triglyceride levels and developing hypertension. Limit your alcohol consumption (a small glass of red wine per day is good) or totally give up on it. You will feel healthier instantly.
The key to a healthy blood pressure is definitely a healthy lifestyle. Watch what you put in your body, stay active, monitor your stress levels, and consult your doctor regularly if your blood pressure tends to increase.
Recommended Books on High Blood Pressure
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Supplement to support blood pressure
Catalina is a smoothie junkie, food lover, recipe developer and a vegetarian who believes animals have the full right to live just like humans do. She has tried most types of diets and overcomes an eating disorder, chronic fatigue, anxiety, and depression. She is passionate about healthy lifestyle and the things she puts in her body. Catalina loves to share her love for smoothies, wholefood cooking, vegetarian recipes, fitness and positive and happy life, and inspire people to cultivate lifelong happiness.