Do you know that there is an estimated 970 million people around the world suffering from high blood pressure? If you’re reading this article, perhaps it’s because you have it, too, and perhaps you are here to find out if there are indeed any natural remedies for the condition. Perhaps you don’t have it, but would want to learn how to keep it at bay. The good news is there are actually ways you can naturally treat and prevent this silent killer.
What Is High Blood Pressure?
What Causes Hypertension in People?
There is no exact cause of high blood pressure, although genes and environmental factors are considered two of the most possible reasons. The following are considered to play a huge role in the development of hypertension:
- Being obese or overweight
- Lack of exercise or physical activity
- Alcohol consumption (2 or more drinks per day)
- Too much salt in diet
- Old age
- Family history of hypertension
- Sleep problems
- Thyroid disorders
- Chronic kidney disease
High Blood Pressure Facts And Numbers
Hypertension is something you can’t just ignore. Here are some alarming facts about this medical condition:
- 1 of every 3 adults in the United States has high blood pressure. That’s 29% of the overall population of America.
- 1 of 3 adults in the United States has borderline hypertension, or has blood pressure measurement of 120-139/80-89.
- Men are at a higher risk of hypertension than women.
- If you have high blood pressure, you are three times more likely to acquire heart problems and stroke, and are twice as likely to die from such diseases.
- Since hypertension rarely has any symptoms, the only way you can find out if you have it is by having your blood pressure measured.
- Hypertension is one of the leading causes of premature death worldwide.
- It is estimated that around 1.56 billion adults will be living with high blood pressure by the year 2025.
Preventing High Blood Pressure
When it comes to maintaining the health, especially cardiovascular health, there are always two major factors that play a crucial role – diet and physical activity. Food especially plays the bigger role, because what we eat is central to our overall health. In terms of keeping hypertension at bay, the key is to follow a heart-healthy diet. This means limiting or avoiding foods that are high in saturated fat. This also means opting more for lean protein foods such as fish, skinless chicken, soy, lean meat, and fat-free dairy products. Increasing potassium intake has also been found to protect from hypertension. Bananas, in particular, are rich in potassium. It’s also important to eat more green and leafy vegetables, particularly spinach, which is rich in folate and magnesium that can help prevent cardiovascular disease. Sunflower seeds are also rich in potassium and magnesium. Other foods that help prevent hypertension include garlic, broccoli, tomatoes, and melon.
Going to the second factor we’ve mentioned earlier, which is physical activity, it’s very critical to have regular exercise. Since stress is one of the major causes of hypertension, and exercise has been found to significantly reduce stress, it only makes sense to stay physically active. In reality, the act of thinking or stressing about things is enough to raise the blood pressure to alarming levels. Some of the best types of exercise for managing stress levels and preventing hypertension are dancing, swimming, cycling, jogging, and walking.
Natural Ways To Lower Blood Pressure
The most common way that people treat hypertension is through maintenance drugs. There’s really nothing wrong with taking such medication and we do recommend that you adhere to what your doctor says about how you should treat hypertension. However, do you know that there are more natural ways for you to lower your blood pressure? If you are struggling with hypertension, incorporating these methods into your daily routine will greatly improve your condition in addition to what your doctor already recommends, of course.
Consider A Mediterranean Diet
There is no magic formula in terms of what you should eat to keep your blood pressure down, but the Mediterranean Diet has been found to include foods that really help with hypertension. Such diet is very high in fruits and vegetables, olive oil, as well as seafood and other foods rich in omega-3 fatty oils. A study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has revealed that a diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, and olive oil could help lower the blood pressure.
The Mediterranean diet emphasizes the following:
- Eating primarily fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, legumes, and other plant-based foods
- Replacing unhealthy oil such as butter with canola oil and olive oil
- Using herbs and spices instead of salt in adding flavor to food
- Limiting red meat consumption to once or twice a month
- Eating fish and poultry twice a week
Of course, not all of the foods that usually compose a Mediterranean diet might be available in your country, so you can always look for other healthy alternatives. The key is to stay away from salty foods and fatty foods and focus on foods that are rich in fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
Take In More Magnesium and Potassium
Both magnesium and potassium are crucial in regulating blood pressure levels. Magnesium, in particular, can help relax the blood vessels and can have an immediate impact to your health. 500 milligrams of magnesium a day is an excellent dose to start with. Potassium, on the other hand, helps counteract the impact of sodium on your body. Banana and coconut water are just two of the best foods that are rich in potassium. Both can be used as base for a delicious smoothie since they can sweeten naturally.
Fish Oil Will Produce Significant Results
Inflammation of the arteries is one of the major causes of high blood pressure. Studies show that fish oil, which is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, can help reduce inflammation, so adding it to your diet will surely help with hypertension. Some of the best sources of omega-3 fatty acids include salmon, mackerel, Bluefin tuna, sardines, and herring. While some experts suggest that taking fish oil supplements is a great way to lower blood pressure, others do not recommend it because high doses may result to unpleasant side effects.
Maintain A Healthy Level of CoQ10
CoQ10 is or Coenzyme Q10 is actually made in the human body and acts like an antioxidant. It doesn’t just boost the immune system and increase energy levels, but scavenges for free radicals, as well. In the human body, the highest concentrations of this substance are in the pancreas, kidneys, liver, and the heart. Unfortunately, levels of CoQ10 may decrease as we age. Including more CoQ10-rich foods into your diet will help solve this problem. Beef, mackerel, and sardines are rich in CoQ10, but if you are looking for vegetable sources, you can also find it in cauliflower, broccoli, and spinach.
Superfoods Can Go A Long Way
Some foods are called superfoods simply because they have very high antioxidant content. They may not be able to cure hypertension, but they sure can go a long way in managing blood pressure, as well as controlling risk factors. These foods are usually rich in antioxidants and low in saturated fats at the same time. Many of them have anti-inflammatory properties, too and can help relax blood vessels, improve circulation, and lower bad cholesterol levels. Here’s a quick list of superfoods to help you deal with hypertension:
- Olive Oil
Engage Yourself More In De-Stressing Activities
We’ve already mentioned how stress plays a role in increasing blood pressure levels. It’s an often-overlooked strategy, but learning to manage stress levels is a very effective way in reducing hypertension and other heart-related problems.
Exercise Regularly – Exercise is a natural remedy for stress because it helps release feel-good chemicals called endorphins from the brain.
Get Enough Sleep – Prolonged wakefulness is one of the major causes of stress. Study also shows that lack of sleep alters blood pressure response and increases hypertension risk. For this reason, it’s crucial that you get at least 8 hours of sleep at night.
Learn Meditation – Studies suggest that prayer and meditation may be associated with improved health. The reason is that it increases mindfulness, and thus, reduces stress.
Find Time To Play – Just like exercise, play and fun can trigger the release of endorphins. Despite our age, we should never forget to find time to play, either on our own or with our loved ones.
Take Your Day Off Seriously – We all have day-offs, obviously, but it’s quite alarming that a large number of working people do not take their weekend rest seriously. Taking a day off from work is crucial, but what’s more crucial is actually resting during your off. This means not thinking of anything related to work, but taking the day off to meditate, exercise, and play.
Whether or not you have already been diagnosed with hypertension, it’s crucial that you keep these methods of maintaining a regular blood pressure in mind. Again, hypertension is a silent killer, and before you know, you may already be lying in a hospital bed with your blood pressure shooting through the roof. These natural remedies will not only help treat hypertension, but will also help keep other heart-related issues at bay.
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