- Diseases, Disorders & Conditions
How to Improve Blood Pressure Health Naturally: Hibiscus Tea and More
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a serious condition that is not easy to detect. It is often referred to as the silent killer. Symptoms associated with high blood pressure are not obvious because they are often attributed to other common ailments such as headache and nausea. If these conditions persist it is important to see your doctor. If high blood pressure is the cause, immediate treatment is necessary. If it is not detected and treated early, organ damage such as kidney failure, heart attack and heart failure can occur.
There are a number of effective drug medications available but not without serious side effects. Side effects include insomnia, impotence, heart palpitations, kidney damage, loss of potassium and dizziness. If high blood pressure symptoms are caught early these drugs can be avoided.
There are nine natural ways to lower blood pressure. The first three involve avoidance of toxins that lead to high blood pressure and the rest have to do with lifestyle additions that will help treat and prevent high blood pressure.
Lose Weight - Research has found that there is a strong link between overweight and hypertension. Slow, steady weight loss involving healthy diet and exercise over a six month period has been effective in bringing cholesterol levels into normal levels in many individuals studied.
Avoid Trans Fats - Trans fats produced by hydrogenated oils are found in commercially prepared food products such as margarines, cookies. pastries, fried foods and processed foods. Trans-fat intake of more than one percent of total daily calorie intake has been found to be an increased risk factor for hypertension and heart disease. Avoiding trans-fats will also help you to lose weight, which helps lower cholesterol.
Avoid Red Meat and Whole Milk - Red meats and whole milk are high in saturated fat. Saturated fat has been found to increase cholesterol levels to a greater extent that consuming high cholesterol foods. Replace red meat with fish and poultry. Instead of whole milk, choose one percent or non-fat milk.
Niacin - Niacin has the ability to widen blood vessels which may decrease the pressure exerted on the walls. It can be purchased without a prescription and is much less expensive than prescribed drugs. The downside to using niacin is a harmless, but unpleasant flushing sensation. This side effect can be minimized by starting with a low dose and gradually increasing to a level recommended by your health care expert. Niacin has the added benefits of raising low HDL cholesterol levels, which decreases the risk of heart disease. It is important to consult with your doctor if taking other medications with niacin to prevent the possibility of liver damage.
Exercise - Regular exercise is effective in lowering high cholesterol and high triglyceride levels. The proper combination of resistance training, aerobic exercise and healthy diet results in long term, healthy weight loss, which reduces cholesterol levels.
Omega-3 Fatty Acids - Foods containing omega 3 fatty acids are effective in lowering LDL cholesterol and raising HDL cholesterol. The best sources are salmon, mackerel and herring because they include readily available sources of DHA and EPA which exhibit an unusual ability to reduce the risk of heart disease. Flaxseed oil is another excellent source of Omega 3. Other good sources include flaxseed, almonds and walnuts.
Vitamin D - New studies have found that woman who are deficient in vitamin D increase the risk factor of high blood pressure by a factor of three. The sun is the best source of Vitamin D. As little as ten minutes in the sun can produce 1000 IU’s. The best food sources are fish such as salmon and mackerel.
Hibiscus tea - drinking two cups of hibiscus tea daily for one month has been effective in lowering blood pressure by twelve percent, which is similar to results achieved with common blood pressure medications. Research shows that hibiscus has the ability to improve the functioning of blood vessels.