Home Remedies to Control Your High Blood Pressure
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a serious medical condition because it puts you at the risk of having heart disease or a stroke, which are the two leading causes of death. Affecting over 70 million American adults, it is commonly known as the silent killer, because there are usually no symptoms at first and you may not realize that you have it.
There are many causes of high blood pressure. They include:
- Lack of Exercise
- Eating food that is high in fat, cholesterol and salt
If left untreated, high blood pressure can lead to strokes, heart disease and other health conditions.
Importance of Checking Your Blood Pressure
It is best to always check your blood pressure on a regular basis. This should not only be done when you go to your doctor for your once a year physical. Many pharmacies have blood pressure machines where you can check your pressure for free. However, since these can be inaccurate at times, you can purchase a reliable monitor for less than $100. As a matter of fact, many health insurance companies cover the cost of monitors. All you need to do is ask your doctor to write a prescription for one.
Once you get a monitor, check your blood pressure daily. Since it can fluctuate between readings, take several readings throughout the day and take an average of the readings. The blood pressure readings consist of two numbers. The higher number is called the systolic reading which “measures the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats (when the heart muscle contracts)” (heart.org). The lower number-the diastolic-measures the pressure when the heart is resting.
According to heart.org, you have normal blood pressure if your readings are less than 120 for the systolic and 70 for the diastolic readings. It does not mean that you have high blood pressure if your readings are slightly higher than normal. In that situation you have pre-hypertension. Then as the numbers go higher, you are in different stages of high blood pressure.
Talk to your doctor if you are uncomfortable with your readings. He may want you to try different approaches to treat your high blood pressure. For example, if your readings are slightly higher, he may want you to continue monitoring your blood pressure. He may suggest changes in your diet and have you eliminate unhealthy habits such as drinking and smoking.
If your blood pressure does not go down or if your readings put you closer to Stage 2 hypertension, your doctor may prescribe medications for you. While this all seems fine and dandy, there are many risks with both over-the-counter and prescription medications. How many times have you heard about a recall on one drug or another that it causes heart attack or cancer? Wouldn’t you rather try something safer first and use the medications as a last resort? The good news is that there are many natural ways that can come in handy with lowering your blood pressure. You may not have to take chemically manufactured blood thinners at all.
Blood Pressure Lowering Food
Garlic is a natural blood thinner. It protects your heart against problems because it helps maintain proper circulation of blood throughout your body. It has also been shown that garlic plays a role in lowering blood pressure. If you include it in your daily diet, your numbers may be reduced up to 10%. It also helps reduce the chances of suffering from atherosclerosis, which is the hardening of the arteries. This herb also plays a role in reducing the levels of bad cholesterol in your body. Having high levels of this can lead to high blood pressure. Garlic contains allicin which is an effective compound when it comes to fighting high blood pressure. However, this compound is destroyed when this herb is cooked. Therefore, it is best to eat fresh garlic at 1-4 cloves a day. If you do not like the taste of garlic or do not want to suffer from bad breath, you can purchase this herb in tablet or powder form from your local health food store. It still will not hurt you to use this herb in your cooking. It makes a delicious addition to many souyp, meat and casserole dishes.
If you want to improve your cardiovascular health, dark chocolate is the way to go. Just by eating four ounces of this chocolate, you are getting over 50% of your Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) in potassium, manganese and magnesium which are all needed to keep your blood pressure numbers at a safe level. When you do not have enough of these in your daily diet, you run the risk of getting high blood pressure. When you keep your blood pressure lower, you run a less risk of having a heart attack or stroke. The American Heart Association states that food that contains all these play a key role in reducing blood pressure. When you shop for dark chocolate, for the most health benefits look for chocolate that contains at least 72% cacao.
According to the American Heart Association, we need 4,700 milligrams of potassium a day to lower blood pressure. At almost 400 milligrams of potassium in a cup of cantaloupe, this fruit is excellent in lowering the numbers.
Bananas are also an excellent source of potassium. Not only that, they also are an excellent source of magnesium which plays a key role in lowering blood pressure. When we do not have enough magnesium in our daily diets (320 milligrams for females or 420 for males) we run the risk of getting high blood pressure. Magnesium is needed for normal blood pressure and when we eat foods that are rich in magnesium, we will have lower blood pressure. Other fruit that contains potassium include:
Do you suffer from high blood pressure?
High cholesterol and high blood pressure go hand in hand. Eating foods that aid in lowering your cholesterol also has a direct impact of lowering your blood pressure. Avocados are rich in fiber which helps absorb fat and cholesterol and helps remove it from the body. The fiber found in avocados also fills you up and makes you feel full for a longer period of time. Since avocados are also high in potassium, they are excellent if you are watching your blood pressure since both of these minerals play a role in lowering blood pressure. Not only are avocados an excellent way to build bone density because of it high levels of calcium, this mineral plays also plays a major role in lowering the amounts of bad cholesterol in your blood.
Lemons and Limes are both excellent sources of Vitamin C. This vitamin not only helps boost your immune system and helps prevent you from getting sick during cold and flu season, it helps reduce the levels of Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)-the bad cholesterol-and lower your blood pressure. Other high citrus fruits to consider include grapefruit, oranges and kumquats.
The American Heart Association states that food that contains high fiber content plays a key role in reducing blood pressure. Lemons and limes are an excellent source of fiber. Not only that, they are also high in potassium and magnesium. Lemons and limes also contain folate. This plays a key role in making the cells in the body function properly. When you do not have enough folate in your daily diet, the levels on homocysteine in your blood can increase. Higher levels of homocysteine are one of the main causes of damage to the blood vessels and blood clots. By including lemons and limes in your daily diet, you may decrease the chance of getting a heart attack by at least thirty percent.
Beans are a major source of fiber which will help lower blood pressure and give your body optimum health. The ones that are best to include in your diet are:
- Black Beans
- Garbanzo Beans
- Kidney Beans
- Navy Beans
- White beans
While it might seem more convenient to go to the grocery store and purchase canned beans, they have a high sodium content compared to dried beans. Therefore, it is better to purchase dried beans and soak them in water to soften them before cooking.
Peanuts are not really a nut at all because it belongs to the bean or legume family. Since they are actually a plant food, they contain no cholesterol at all. While you want your body to have higher levels of good cholesterol so it can produce hormones such as testosterone and estrogen, at least when you eat these nuts you do not get any additional bad cholesterol. When you have too much of this, your arteries can become hardened and lead to heart disease. Eating peanuts are good for your heart because it helps maintain and raise the level of good cholesterol and lowers the amount of triglycerides found in your blood. Peanuts are loaded with minerals that provide your heart with further protection by lowering blood pressure.. These include:
Other excellent blood pressure lowering nuts include walnuts, almonds, pistachio and Brazil nuts.
Blood Pressure Lowering Vegetables
You need to add blood pressure lowering vegetables in your daily diet. You may grimace at the thought. You may think, "Yuk! I hate vegetables!" Or you may think, "But I already eat vegetables!" Vegetables are good for you. While one might not agree with your taste buds, another will. By eating the right vegetables you will be able to keep your blood pressure at a healthy rate.
You need amino acids in your daily diet to reduce the chances of getting a stroke. The following vegetables are high in amino acids:
- Mustard Greens
Not only are they filled with amino acids, these vegetables are high in nutrients and minerals such as:
- Vitamin A
These all play a role in preventing plaque build-up in your arteries.
Vegetables that help increase the blood flow through your veins and arteries are necessary. Two vegetables that excellent for this are celery, which contains phthalides-which play a key role in relaxing the muscles in the artery walls-and raw carrots, which help stabilize blood pressure due to its potassium and beta-carotene.
Tomatoes are excellent in lowering your blood pressure. The lycopenes in the tomatoes stop the bad cholesterol from clogging up your arteries.
When you do not have enough vitamin C in your diet, you run the risk of getting high blood pressure. Bell peppers and parsley are both high in vitamin C.
Vegetables are an important food to include in our daily diets. They are high in minerals, vitamins and fiber. They are low in fat. While they help us lose weight and maintain a healthy weight, they are also beneficial in lowering blood pressure.
Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Stress
Who does not face stress at least once in a while? Today many of us live in a hectic and high strung world. You might have one appointment or another with doctors and dentists. You might have a full-time job and have to work more than the standard forty hour work week. You might be married and have children and have to balance yourur life between work, cleaning house and attending meetings with your children's teachers. You might even have to attend different activities your children are involved in. In our society many of us are living in a stressful environment. While you may think this is normal, stress is one of the leading culprits of high blood pressure.
With everything going on around you, you need to take a time out to relax. Practicing several relaxation techniques will help you keep your stress levels and blood pressure levels lower. They will also help relieve muscle aches, prevent you from getting headaches and give you a sense of well-being. If your hectic lifestyle prevents you from getting a restful sleep or you feel fatigued during the day, the relaxation techniques will come in handy.
The first thing you have to do is find a place in your house that is quiet. Pick out a quiet place in the house that is free from distractions. Some ideas are a small section in the attic, your bedroom or a bathtub with warm water. The key is to be comfortable while you are trying to clear your mind and focus on your breathing. Make sure that your children and husband will not disturb you. Turn off the television and set your answering machine to handle calls.
One relaxation technique is visualization. When you have thoughts and worries running through your mind it is hard to relax. Close your eyes and focus on an image that you find peaceful and relaxing. It might be an image in nature such as a deer drinking from a lake and a waterfall in the background. It might be waves from the ocean hitting the shores of a beach. It might be an image of one of your children receiving a reward for an accomplishment. The key to this technique is comfort. Whether you are sitting on the floor in the lotus position, sitting in a comfortable chair, reclining in a bath or lying in bed, your body has be relaxed so your muscles are not tense.
As you focus on your image, focus on your breathing as well. As you inhale, take deep breaths through your nostrils. When you feel your chest expand and fill with air, pause for three seconds before you exhale. Exhale slowly through the mouth and pause for three seconds before inhaling again. Concentrating on your breathing will help you relax.
While some people need total quiet to relax, others may need auditory stimulation. While the television is a major distraction while trying to relax, there are many other auditory techniques that will help you. If you own a kindle, I pad or smart phone there are many apps where you can download meditation music. There are even ones that help with certain stressful areas of your life. For example, if you are trying to lose weight or quit smoking, there are hypnotic programs where you can focus of subliminal messages.
By concentrating on the music or message, when you are comfortable and focusing on your breathing, worries of the day will be behind you. These are just three techniques that will help you relax. However, there are many more out there that you can research and try out to see which one works out best for you in giving you a peace of mind and keeping you calm.
One herb to include in your daily diet if you are under stress is passion flower. It has many active chemicals including flavonoids and alkaloids which help fight your body from stress. These also help relax your blood vessels which, in turn, lowers blood pressure.
You can find passion flower products at most health food stores. They usually come as:
- Liquid extracts
It can also be purchased online at sites such as Amazon and EBay.
Other herbs which contain calming and relaxing properties include:
- Kava Root
- Lemon Balm
- Valerian Root
- Wood Betony
Making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, limiting alcohol use and making dietary changes play a major role in reducing blood pressure.
Life Style Changes
Smoking is one of the major causes of high blood pressure. Therefore, if you smoke, stop smoking. This is easier said than done, because most people who smoke are addicted to nicotine. However, when you realize that when you smoke and have high blood pressure you have twice the risk of having a heart attack than a person who does not smoke, you may find it easier to quit. Plus, when you quit smoking, you reduce the risk of getting many health conditions and illnesses that is associated with smoking.
Quitting smoking is very difficult. However, it can be done. While, quitting cold-turkey may be the option, you may have to start out by reducing the amount you smoke each day. For example, if you smoke two packs of cigarettes each day, try to cut back to one pack. Then as you get used to this, reduce the amount you smoke even further. If you just want to quit altogether, talk to your doctor. He may be able to prescribe you with nicotine replacements such as medication or patches. You can even go online and search for many hypnosis programs that can help you quit. Check out YouTube for many free videos.
Like smoking, drinking alcoholic beverages can be addicting. “Heavy and regular use of alcohol can increase blood pressure dramatically. It can also cause heart failure, lead to stroke and produce irregular heartbeats” (Heart.Org). If you are a male and drink more than two drinks a day-or a female who drinks more than one drink a day-you run the risk of getting high blood pressure. Therefore, if you are the type of person who enjoys a drink once in a while, limit it to that amount. It has even been said that red wines play a role in reducing blood pressure. Just remember if you have decided to drink in moderation, “one drink equals a 12-ounce beer, a four-ounce glass of wine, 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor, or one ounce of hard liquor (100-proof)” (Heart.Org).
Salt is one of the number one culprits of high blood pressure. If you see a doctor, he will advise you to reduce the amount of salt in your daily diet. When you go grocery shopping, read the labels of canned and boxed food. Take note of how much sodium is in each product. Look for labels that say “low sodium.” Since you do need sodium “to maintain fluid balance, help transmit nerve impulses and help with the contraction and relaxation of muscles” (Heart.Org), aim for no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day.
People who are overweight or obese run a higher risk of having high blood pressure than people who are at a healthy weight. To see if you are overweight, ask your doctor what you should weigh based on your height, age and gender. You can even look online for height/weight calculators. You can check out this site for a calculator:
However, these calculators can be inaccurate at times because they do not include muscle mass and bone density.
Once you have determined that you need to lose weight, you have to get a plan into action. Cutting out fatty processed food and limiting sugar and sodium content and including the above healthy food will send you in the right direction. You can talk to your doctor to set you up with a meal plan.
What do you need to change in you lifestyle to reduce blood pressure?
Make sure to include food that contains Omega-3 fatty acids. All these fatty acids play a role in weight loss and maintenance. Rather than storing fat, they help the body melt it. People who use hemp oil in their diets are able to lose weight and keep the weight off. While it does decrease the appetite, you still have to follow a sensible diet and include plenty of fruits and vegetables and include exercise in your weight loss program. These fatty acids also play a role in lowering blood pressure. including this in your daily diet you decrease the chance of getting a heart attack by at least thirty percent. The following foods are major sources of Omega-3:
Other than fish and fish oil, you find Omega 3s in the following:
- Flaxseed Oil
- Grape Seed Oil
- Canola Oil
- Olive Oil
- Chia Seeds
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Green Leafy Vegetables
As already mentioned,exercising is an excellent way to lower blood pressure. Since exercise and eating right go in hand with losing weight, this is another reason to include exercise in your daily routine. While the 20 minute walk will do wonders for your heart, if you are active throughout the day you will find it easier to lose those unwanted pounds. One way to do this is to turn a boring chore into a fun activity. The next time you mop the kitchen floor do it while you are listening to music and dancing. The ideal weight loss goal should be one to two pounds a week. Even after losing a few pounds you may notice that your blood pressure is lower.
It is very important to maintain normal blood pressure. While it may not kill you by itself, it can lead to heart attacks and strokes if you do not treat it. When you have high blood pressure, you heart has to work harder to move your blood. If you learn how to control your blood pressure by making lifestyle and diet changes and getting exercise, you may not need to take prescription medications.
- High Blood Pressure FAQs | cdc.gov
Review Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) related to high blood pressure and high blood pressure control.
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An Excellent Article From a fellow Hubber
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High blood pressure, heart attack, hypertension, are common health related languages. They do not just happen. They are cause by lack of knowledge and outright ignorance among the very knowledgeable.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.
© 2019 Lois Ryan