Natural Remedies for Controlling High Blood Pressure
Depending on the type of high blood pressure you have, you may be able to control it naturally. Secondary hypertension (high blood pressure brought about by something such as pregnancy) may need to be evaluated by a doctor before alternative methods are used to address it. However, high blood pressure that has no known cause (medically referred to as “primary hypertension”) often can be brought into normal ranges with natural treatments and lifestyle changes.
Making some basic dietary changes can help control your blood pressure:
-Reduce sodium (salt) intake. This not only means that you should avoid adding salt to your food but it also means that you should read food labels to see how much sodium is already in what you are eating.
-Eat fresh, unprocessed foods. Incorporate plenty of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, beans, nuts, cold-water fish (such as tuna and salmon) and olive oil. Avoid fried foods, sugary foods and caffeine.
-Drink plenty of water. About half your body weight in ounces (if you weigh 200 pounds, drink 100 oz. of water each day) will keep you hydrated. If your urine is still dark yellow in color, drink more water.
A physician may recommend that you supplement your already-balanced diet. Do not take supplements unless you have spoken to a physician because your dietary needs are individualized. However, supplements such as calcium, vitamin C, flaxseed meal, potassium, magnesium and garlic can be helpful in controlling blood pressure. You can naturally add these to your diet by eating foods that are rich in them. For example, eating a garlic clove and a banana per day can help satisfy your garlic and potassium needs.
Aerobic exercise can strengthen your heart and allow it to pump blood with less effort. If your heart does not work as hard, the force of blood on your arteries decreases, meaning that your blood pressure decreases. Exercise can also help reduce stress, another factor that contributes to high blood pressure. Jogging, stair-climbing, walking, swimming and even basic chores such as mowing the lawn can help reduce blood pressure. Try to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day.
Researchers at the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine at UC Irvine have found that acupuncture excites the brain to release neurotransmitters that affect cardiovascular activity. In this research, when an acupuncture needle was inserted at points at the wrist, forearm and leg, the heart’s activity and its need for oxygen were decreased. This, in effect, lowered blood pressure. It also promoted healing for other heart conditions such as insufficient blood flow to the heart.
Numerous Chinese medicinal herbs are used to treat high blood pressure. They function by:
–Making the kidney excrete more urine.
–Dilating blood vessels.
–Regulating the nervous, cardiovascular and endocrine systems.
-Regulating the blood supply of the internal organs and the brain.
The Shanghai Institute of Hypertension found 136 herbs, including Stephania root, Menispermum dauricum and Pheretima asperillum, that help lower blood pressure. You should not take any herbs without first consulting a licensed practitioner.