3. Control body weight – While the blood courses through your veins, it applies outward pressure on the blood vessel walls. Over time, this will result in wear and tear. But when you are overweight, the pressure is naturally much higher – leading to greater damage, and actually reducing chances of alleviating hypertension. The only way is to lose the extra weight – and the extra strain on the heart and circulatory system!
4. Get adequate sleep – Lack of sleep aka Sleep Deprivation leads to worsening of hypertension – your blood pressure actually shoots up further, leading on to irreversible damage. So get your required amount of sleep every day!
Average daily sleep requirement figures:
A child (1-12 years) – 10 to 14 hours
A teenager(12-18 years) – 8.5 to 10 hours
An adult (18+) – 7.5 to 9 hours
5. Drink more water – not having enough water leads to dehydration – and this affects blood pressure in two ways. Firstly your blood tends to retain more sodium (which as you know raises blood pressure). Secondly, since the fluid balance is off, the capillary beds are closed down – putting extra pressure on the blood vessels. However, don’t overdo it – stick to 8-10 8-ounce glasses of filtered water and you should be fine.
6. Control your alcohol and soda intake– Firstly, both contribute to obesity – which is already a risk factor. Besides that, alcohol temporarily does raise your blood pressure level putting extra strain on your vessels. And sodas are usually loaded with extra salt and sugar – together they work to weaken your blood vessel walls and prevent them from dilating when needed.
7. Diet changes – The blood in your body is the carrier of everything that your body absorbs from what you eat. And what your blood carries directly affects the pressure it exerts on your blood vessels and how they are affected. Naturally then, what you eat will be linked intrinsically with blood pressure. We will be dealing with that in detail in just a bit.
8. Beat stress – Stress or situations of tension are known to cause spikes in blood pressure. But continual stress means that the blood continues to course through your veins very forcefully and fast – leading to hypertension as well as damage to the circulatory system. In the long run, this is the perfect recipe for developing cardiac problems! So, how can you beat stress? Hold on – we’ll get to that too…
Now to look into the details of diet change and stress busting techniques….
Now when it comes to diet – the major thing to keep in mind is to limit salt intake. But that doesn’t mean you have to eat tasteless food. The sodium in excess is bad for you – but many other minerals are actually good for you! Also food that you eat needs to be healthy because it has to provide you with all the nutrition your body needs to fight off the effects of high blood pressure and maintain your blood vessels properly.
To that end, we have brought you a list of foods to include in your diet. It however goes without saying that you should limit salt and sugar and also make sure that you stay away from food or preparations that lead to weight gain.
Now let’s look into a list of foods to eat and why:
9. Bananas–bananas are very high in potassium – which is actually good for your blood vessels. At the same time, they also make for good portions in terms of easy carry-around snacks. 2 – 3 bananas a day are adequate for staying heart healthy!
10. White potatoes – yes,a low starch weight loss diet will otherwise cut out potato – but when it comes to blood pressure control, the potassium as well as kukoamine content of potatoes are seen to be very beneficial! Don’t go overboard, though – keep them as a part of your diet, but balance them out with other food groups as well!
11. Spinach –spinach is rich in chlorophyll, an antioxidant. This helps to ward off the damage to your blood vessels from free radicals. Also it is rich in a host of other nutrients, including calcium – these help your body to repair regular wear and tear of the vessels and arteries.Photo Credit:
12. Citrus fruits like grapefruit and orange – these fruits are rich in Vitamin C. In addition to protecting you against colds and infection, Vitamin C also helps in the production of collagen, which is used to repair the damage to your blood vessels. So make sure you make Vitamin C sources a part of your diet.
13. Spirulina & soybeans – our reason for including these is simple – they are both rich sources of a natural chemical called Lysine. Lysine works together with the Vitamin C – in that they are like the cement that holds the collagen blocks together. So this is equally important.
14. Seasoning instead of salt – now we are talking replacements. Salt is actually a no-no because your body is already retaining too much sodium. Instead, try other seasonings like celery or spices to flavor your food instead of salt. That way you get food that tastes great, but without causing blood pressure spikes.
15. Lima Beans – these are rich sources of protein that your body needs to heal. They also contain a lot of fiber which helps you to lose weight and keep it off, along with aiding digestion. And finally, these again contain a lot of potassium which helps to lower blood pressure.
16. Oats and oat bran – Not only are oats low in sodium, they are high in fiber. This helps to lower blood pressure as well as boost digestion. At the same time, oats are very versatile, and you can make them into endless dishes – to suit your taste-buds!
17. Flaxseeds – flaxseeds are rich in fiber and they also contain oil which is a very good source of Omega 3 fatty acids. This is like the lubricant in our blood vessels – facilitates blood flow and keeps blood pressure in check!
18. Fresh fish and white meat instead of red – this is another one of those replacements. Red meat and fish contain substances that raise blood pressure. On the other hand, poultry and white fish provide you with protein, healthy fats and can also help to lower blood pressure.
19. Watermelon– watermelons are rich in a substance called L-citrulline. These act like ‘muscle-relaxants’ but only for your arteries. Naturally, they help to release the pressure and lower hypertension!
20. Cantaloupe–these are also melons and contain L-citrulline. But in addition, they contain as much potassium as 2 bananas. That means you can have these – and they will help to lower the blood pressure levels!
21. Peas – they are a vegetable source of protein, something needed by the body to rebuild damaged cells. Also they contain folic acid as well as a number of Vitamins, all of which boost cardiovascular health.
22. Papayas – papayas actually contain more Vitamin C than oranges! So that’s one reason to have these in your diet. But other than that, they are also rich in amino acids – something your body will need to rebuild the cells damaged due to high blood pressure. This and the minerals like potassium and vitamins ensure that your blood vessels stay healthy and blood pressure is better managed.
23. Avocadoes – these contain 3 substances – all of which help to lower blood pressure! First there is potassium, then there is fiber and finally there are monounsaturated fats. Together, these have a bumper effect in lowering high blood pressure! Just make it a regular component.
24. Blueberries – free radicals that travel with your blood only worsen the impact of high blood pressure. But with berries, especially blueberries and raspberries, you are consuming so much fresh anti-oxidants that they make up a veritable barrier against free radical damage in the blood vessels!
25. Raisins – we must start by mentioning that you should go for the low sugar variety. These make for handy snacks – and better still – they are rich in potassium, so every snack can help to lower your blood pressure!
26. Tomatoes– tomatoes get their red color from a substance called lycopene. This is seen to have a marked effect on systolic blood pressure levels. So more tomatoes means less blood pressure!
This is in no way an exhaustive list – but we have tried to give you the basics. And we hope to add on to the list as we go.
And now let’s move on to…
Here are some simple and fun techniques to do that:
Get more sun– whether it is for a walk, or only to laze around and soak up the sun – increase Sun exposure. Why? Because, the UV rays actually help to break down the stored nitrates from your skin. They are converted to nitric oxide, which as we explained earlier, keeps the blood vessel walls flexible! You will also notice that being out in the Sun helps to lift your mood – it does for most people.
27. Visit the zoo – Studies have shown that observing animals – be it a pet or animals in the zoo – brought about a 6% decrease in systolic, and an 8% decrease in diastolic blood pressure. It is said that the sight of the animals actually makes you ‘feel good’ and this helps to counteract the effects of adrenaline on your blood pressure levels.
28. Volunteer – Find the time and volunteer for something you’d like to do. You may not get any material returns, but the emotional returns will be enough to bring down your blood pressure!
According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, it was found that individuals who volunteered for about 4 hours a week (a total of 200 hours in a year) were much less prone to Hypertension!
29. Meditation – It is a known fact that meditation can soothe the sympathetic nervous system – in other words, it calms your nerves and makes you feel better and de-stressed!
30. Hugs (!) – Hugs and the feeling of being loved can actually release the bonding hormone, oxytocin – making you feel calm. As you know, when you feel calm, your blood pressure falls. This is also true of massages or other intimate time spent with a loved one.
31. Dance–When you dance you actually let go – and that makes you feel happier. Also you usually dance to music – and music releases dopamine in the brain, helping to de-stress.
32. Hand grip exercises – When you grip something tight, blood flow to your hand is interrupted. Then when you relax the grip, the blood flows back. This not only helps to release pent up emotions, it can also improve the state of blood vessels.
So much for the lifestyle changes that are necessary – now we’ll move on to the…
So much for the lifestyle changes that are necessary – now we’ll move on to the…
So far we have been talking about changes in your lifestyle or diet – that can bring about a change from inside out. And in the process lower your systolic as well as diastolic readings. But now we come to the solution that can veritably replace medication – natural remedies and solutions that you need to consume so as to ‘treat’ hypertension at home.
And in our section on natural remedies, we’ll start with the…
33. Passionflower– this is a herb that helps to reduce anxiety and stress and calm the nerves. The result is that your blood pressure is naturally eased. This can be had in the form of a tea – steep 1 tbsp. of dried passionflower in a cup of boiling water for 10 minutes. Drink near bedtime for best results. Or at times when you are stressed.
34. Holy Basil – high blood pressure is very damaging for the cardiovascular system in the human body. But holy basil being an adaptogenic, this helps your body in a number of ways – the first being boosting the body’s resistance against this damage. Also it helps to reduce the biochemical effects of stress. In addition it acts as a blood thinner, relieving blood pressure. Long term use can also decrease bad cholesterol levels in the body. To use, take 1 tsp. of the dried leaves and steep in a cup of hot water like you would tea. Drink 3 cups of this daily for best results.
35. Basil – While it doesn’t have as widespread effect as its ‘holy’ counterpart, using basil in your food can help to lower blood pressure too. No need to make tea here – just make pesto, or use basil as a fresh herb in your cooking!
36. French Lavender – the aroma of it – actually induces relaxation and relieves stress. And that is the place of lavender in aromatherapy. Now you can try this in the form of aroma oils that you burn in a room or use in creams or in baths. Alternately, you can make a tea or even use it to flavor your food as a fresh herb or a flavoring in baked goods. To make the tea, steep 2 tbsp. of the dried herb in 2 cups of water from a very recently boiled kettle for 5 minutes.
37. Lavender – we have listed this separately, because we suggest you use this as the aroma oil. A massage with this essential oil mixed in with a carrier oil, or even a soak in a lavender oil infused bath acts as a vasodilator – easing the flow of blood through your veins and blood vessels. Thus it lowers blood pressure.
38. Valerian – this herb also helps to relieve tensed muscles and is a mild tranquilizer. The result is that with repeated use, you are able to handle stress better. And the relaxation that it brings about is sure to affect hypertension. These effects are however derived from the root. And you have to make it into a pungent smelling tea to consume. Steep the fresh roots in water from a recently boiled kettle (not boiling) for 10-30 minutes.
39. Celery Seeds – another common Chinese herbal medicine for hypertension, celery seeds can be your best friend too. And there is no lengthy process of preparation – just use these in curries, stews or roasts and get their benefits!
40. Oregano – contains a substance called carvacrol which helps to bring down the heart rate. This results in lessening on the arterial pressure – and blood pressure is lowered.
41. Cat’s Claw – this is another Chinese herbal medicine used to manage blood pressure as well as neurological problems. It would seem from studies that substances in cat’s claw act on the calcium channels of your cells and as a result reduced blood pressure. To make the tea – take a cup of boiling water and add to it a few drops of lemon juice. Now add to that 1-2 tsp of powdered bark, a couple of small pieces of it. Steep for 10 minutes and it is ready to drink.
And now moving on to the other stuff…And we will start with the regular…
Here is a list of typical home remedies that you can try out. In case blood pressure is quite high, then these are the some of the home-grown tricks to try out:
42. Watermelon and poppy seeds – Take equal amounts of poppy seeds and dried watermelon seeds and grind them to a paste. Store in an airtight container. Every morning and evening have a 1tsp of this on an empty stomach.
43. Warm water and lemon – squeeze in the juice of half a lemon into a cup of warm water. You may add a spoonful of honey if you like. This should be had every morning on an empty stomach for best results.
44. Raw garlic – Take 1 very large or 2 medium sized cloves of raw garlic. Crush them and mix with a glass of milk. Have this once every day.
45. Curry leaves –add 4-5 curry leaves to a glass and add to that a glassful of warm water. Leave till it cools. Drink this daily.
46. Beet root – basically beetroot juice is very good for lowering blood pressure. And we have dealt with that at length elsewhere – you can go and check out all the yummy and beneficial recipes!
47. Carrot and spinach – these are rich in antioxidants that protect your arteries. For best results, add 1 carrot and a handful of spinach to a blender and make a ‘smoothie’. Have this in two parts throughout the day.
48. Onion and honey – Make a mixture out of 2 tbsp. honey and 1 tbsp. onion juice. Have this daily.
So much for remedies that generally exist in your home or garden which have proved beneficial for many.And now we bring you some remedies from the ancient Indian discipline of…
Ayurveda is the ancient science of medicine that originated in India. According to this, they look at the human body and mind as energy systems and by balancing out energies; they can provide solutions to many illnesses. And today we are focusing on a few home remedies for high blood pressure – culled from Ayurvedic sources!
Okay, so these are ‘home remedies’ but you will need to get the ingredients together first!They aren’t always easily available – but once you have done that – here are the things you can try:
49. Dhania, Sarpagandha, Mishri – take 1 gram each of coriander seeds, and dried indian snakeroot (sarpagandha) and mix with 2 grams of crystallized sugar and some water. Drink this daily.
50. A herbal mix – Take equal amounts of Sarpagandha, Amla (Indian gooseberry), Giloy (Tinosporacordifolia), Ashwagandha (Withaniasomnifera), bark of Arjuna tree–and powder them. Now store this in an airtight container. To consume, mix in 1 tsp into a cup of water and drink this twice a day.
51. Methi or fenugreek – ideally you shouldn’t take this regularly unless you also have high blood sugar. But if you do then powder it and keep. Every night at bedtime, take a spoonful of this and follow up with warm water till the bitterness is gone. Generally, you can start adding it to your food for some effects too.
And finally after we have had a look at all the other things, let’s look at what we have already promised you – some…
We call these quick solutions because they are not medicinal but they rival actual medication. Here are 4 remedies from around the world that bring about quick changes in both systolic as well as diastolic levels. And so if you have a blood pressure issue and it suddenly shoots up – be sure to try these:
52. Ginger – this is seen to help thin the blood, making it easier for blood to flow through the blood vessels and relieving pressure on them. In addition, ginger also blocks calcium channels, stopping it from accumulating in the heart and artery walls and causing them to harden and create blockages. In case you aren’t already on another blood thinner, you can try ginger root tea or ginger root capsules. The general dosage is anywhere between 75 and 2000 mg daily, but do not exceed 3000 mg.
53. Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) – not only does this enzyme promote a healthy heart, it also increases energy on a cellular level. In fact, in recent studies its efficacy to treat blood pressure has also been proven. This is usually available in supplement form and you can start with 100 mg of it twice daily and then work down to 60 mg twice a day.
54. Hawthorn berry – this is actually a high blood pressure remedy in ancient herbal Chinese medicine! Not only does it lower your blood pressure levels, it also prevents formation of blood clots and boosts blood circulation with regular use. You can either try pills or liquid extracts. Or you can make your own infusion – take 1 tsp. of hawthorn berries and put into a teapot or bowl. Pour over a cup of boiling water and steep for about 10 minutes or a little less. Drink this twice a day.
55. Nattokinase – this is an extract from a Japanese fermented soybean preparation. It actually acts as an enzyme in the body that keeps the arteries clear of any blockages. This is available in the form of supplements. Ideally go for a supplement that has vitamin K2 as well – this vitamin takes the excess calcium and instead of letting it cause calcification of the arteries, delivers it to the bones. Thereby, it strengthens the bones as well as helps to lower blood pressure!
But since we are suggesting these in place of medication, it is ideal that you consult your doctor or naturopath before you start. And in any case, if you have a chronic or acute blood pressure condition, we always suggest that you talk to your doc before doing anything with your regular medical doses.
And now for the conclusion – we’ll keep it short: don’t let the silent killer do its trick. We have brought you the means, and now the action is up to you!