By Spy Uganda
For starters, blood pressure is the force at which blood pumps from the heart into the arteries. A normal blood pressure reading is less than 120/80 mm Hg.
When blood pressure is high, the blood moves through the arteries more forcefully. This puts increased pressure on the delicate tissues in the arteries and damages the blood vessels.
Known as a “silent killer,” it usually doesn’t cause symptoms until there’s significant damage done to the heart. Without visible symptoms, most people are unaware that they have high blood pressure.
Learn about natural remedies and lifestyle modifications you can use to complement your high blood pressure treatment.
Even though these natural remedies are useful for complementing prescribed treatment for high blood pressure, they should only be used under the supervision of a cardiologist, as they should not replace the medication advised by your doctor.
1. Garlic water
Garlic water is a natural way to regulate blood pressure as it stimulates the production of nitric oxide. This is a gas with a strong vasodilation effect, which helps blood circulation and decreases pressure on the heart.
In addition, garlic is also great for maintaining cardiovascular health, since it has incredible antioxidant properties that protect the blood vessels.
One way of consuming garlic is by infusing it in water and drinking it throughout the day.
You can also consume garlic as a part of your meals throughout the day, as it may be more enjoyable to eat garlic than to drink it. A good tip is to add some peeled cloves to your olive oil for a garlic-infused alternative (this will allow you to benefit from the garlic properties any time you consume olive oil).
2. Reduce salt intake
Sodium, which is a key component of salt, has the ability to draw water into your blood vessels, which increases the volume of circulating blood. This increases pressure within your blood vessels, which in turn leads to an increase in blood pressure. To prevent hypertension, you should consume less than 2300 mg of sodium per day.
Those who have already been diagnosed with hypertension should reduce their sodium intake to 1500 mg – 2300 mg per day.
3. Olive leaf tea
Just like garlic, olive-tree leaves are one of the best natural remedies for high blood pressure. They have polyphenols that regulate blood pressure, without the risk of causing hypotension, even if consumed in excess.
In addition, they also have a slight calming and relaxing effect, which helps to control anxiety symptoms.
In addition to the tea, there is also an olive leaf extract that can be bought in stores in the form of capsules. Capsules can be taken in doses of 500 mg, twice a day after meals.
4. Regular exercise
Exercise is a great way to not only strengthen your entire body but also your heart. A strong heart can work more efficiently to pump blood, which can impact high blood pressure levels. Patients looking to prevent hypertension or reduce elevated blood pressure levels should aim to exercise 4 times per week for 30 to 60 minutes. Activities should be of moderate intensity and can include walking, jogging, cycling or swimming. Studies show that higher intensity exercise is not more effective for the prevention or reduction of hypertension in comparison to moderate intensity.
5. Blueberry juice
In addition to being an excellent source of antioxidants, which fight diseases like cancer and prevent ageing, blueberries also help decrease blood pressure, especially when consumed daily.
The effects of blueberries are more evident in people with high cardiovascular risk, such as those who are obese or those who have metabolic syndrome. Therefore, blueberry juice can be used as a natural complement to any high blood pressure treatment prescribed by the doctor.
6. Healthy body weight
Maintaining a healthy body weight and waist circumference are associated with a lower risk for cardiovascular disease. Patients are advised to keep their BMI between 18 and 24 to prevent or treat hypertension. Women should aim to keep their waist circumference below 88 cm, while men should be below 102 cm.
Find out if your BMI is currently at a healthy level by entering your measurements below:
7. Hibiscus te
Hibiscus is a plant that is very popular amongst those who want to lose weight, however, this plant can also help reduce blood pressure. This is because of its rich composition in anthocyanins, which are flavonoids that help regulate blood pressure.
To get optimised blood pressure results, it is recommended to use flower calyxes with darker colours. The calyxes are the structures that connect the stem to the petals. The darker the hibiscus flowers are, the greater the concentration of anthocyanins and the greater the effect on high blood pressure.
Even though there are no studies that prove this yet, hibiscus may be toxic above the daily dose of six grams. Therefore, it is recommended that you do not take more than the dose indicated above.
Hibiscus tea may have a bitter taste, so if necessary, you can add a teaspoon of stevia or honey to the mixture.
8. Limit alcohol intake
Alcohol can impact the way your heart functions by making it beat faster. Consistent, excessive alcohol use can increase blood pressure over time and increase your overall risk for cardiovascular disease. For this reason, healthy adults are advised to limit their alcohol intake to 2 drinks per day. Men should not exceed 14 drinks in a week, and women should not exceed 9 drinks in a week.
9. Healthy diet
The Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) is widely recommended for the prevention and treatment of hypertension in adults. This diet involves the reduction of saturated fat and cholesterol and emphasizes the importance of fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products in daily meals. Patients should aim to incorporate dietary and soluble fibre, whole grains and protein from plant sources into every meal.
Patients who have been diagnosed with high blood pressure may be advised to additionally reduce their potassium intake, as increased potassium levels contribute to high blood pressure.
10. Valerian tea
Valerian roots have excellent calming and relaxing properties that help improve blood circulation. In addition, valerian tea acts directly on the GABA neurotransmitter, which can help those who suffer from frequent anxiety attacks and have high blood pressure as a result.
11. Stress management
Some patients may benefit from relaxation techniques if stress or anxiety plays a role in elevated blood pressure readings. Individualized cognitive behavioural therapies are found to be effective, as well as meditation, yoga or acupuncture. Learn more about soothing herbs that can be used to treat stress and anxiety naturally.