High blood pressure-also known as hypertension or “the silent killer”-affects roughly 67 million people, and that number only continues to grow. 90-95% of cases are known as primary hypertension, which is hypertension with no underlying medical cause. The small left-over percentage is caused by conditions such as kidney disease.
It’s important to note that supplements and other forms of alternative medicine should not be used as a substitute for standard care treating high blood pressure.
Uncontrolled high blood pressure may damage organs in the body and increase the risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and vision loss.
Blood pressure ranges include:
- Normal: Less than 120/80
- Prehypertension: 120-139/80-89
- Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140-159/90-99
- Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
Here are some natural remedies you can use to treat high blood pressure.
This pungent seasoning can do more than just flavor your food and ruin your breath. Garlic has the ability to lower your blood pressure by causing your blood vessels to relax and dilate. This lets blood flow more freely and reduces blood pressure.
Ginger may help control blood pressure, as it has been shown to improve blood circulation and relax the muscles surrounding blood vessels.
Found naturally in fish, eggs, fortified milk and cod liver oil and produced naturally during exposure to the sun, low levels of vitamin D may have a role in developing high blood pressure. Studies note that blood pressure is often elevated when there is reduced exposure to sunlight/vitamin D.
Tea / Reduced Caffeine Intake
Caffeine intake can result in a temporary but marked increase in blood pressure. It does this to a greater degree in people with high blood pressure compared with those with normal blood pressure. An alternative to higher-caffeine beverages is green tea, as green tea catechins have been found in some studies to reduce blood pressure.
Alcohol in Moderation
Some studies suggest that moderate alcohol intake, particularly red wine, is linked with increasing levels of HDL and a slight reduction in blood pressure, however, excessive consumption may raise triglyceride levels and increase blood pressure.
Reduced Sodium Intake
Too much sodium may lead to fluid retention which can raise blood pressure, especially in people who are sensitive to sodium. It is estimated that 60 percent of people with essential hypertension may decrease their blood pressure to some degree by reducing their sodium intake.
Low potassium can raise sodium in cells because sodium and potassium balance each other.
Sip Some Hibiscus
Cultures across the world have used hibiscus to naturally manage blood pressure, but it wasn’t until the past decade that studies were actually conducted that showed there was more to the remedy than just folklore. First, hibiscus acts as a diuretic, which draws sodium from the bloodstream, thus decreasing the pressure on the arterial walls. Even more interesting is how it can mimic angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors. ACE inhibitors are a common group of pharmaceutical drugs used to treat high blood pressure. They work by hampering the angiotensin-converting enzyme, which plays a crucial role in the renin-angiotensin system- a hormone system that regulates blood pressure and fluid balance. As a result of this inhibition, blood vessels relax and blood volume is lowered, decreasing blood pressure. While certainly not as potent as those ACE drugs prescribed, it can still be surprisingly effective.
Drink Coconut Water
Coconut water is found inside the shell of green, unripe coconuts that retains its natural benefits in organic and raw form. It contains potassium and magnesium, both of which relate to regular muscle function, and of course, the heart is a big giant muscle. While there have been some limited studies on the effect of coconut water on hypertension, many people report anecdotally that it has helped lower blood pressure. In studies, it seemed to particularly affect systolic blood pressure, or the force that takes place when the heart pumps blood away from it. If you don’t have a problem with coconut water, it may prove to be a solid remedy for you.
Cut the Salt
Salt is not the problem when it comes to high blood pressure, per say, but rather its chemical component sodium. A little bit is fine, but too much sodium disrupts the balance of fluid in the body. To “flush” the excess salt from your system, water is drawn from surrounding tissues. The higher volume of liquid results in the heart working harder to pump the blood-hence, high blood pressure.
Along with diet, exercise should really be number one on this list. Nothing can replace what exercise does for the body, and in a society where we are becoming increasingly sedentary, it can take a bit more effort to get out and get moving-but it’s worth it, especially if you have high blood pressure. The heart is a muscle, and it will grow stronger with exercise. It becomes easier to pump blood and takes less effort, keeping your heart in better condition and lowering how much force it exerts on your arteries, thus lowering blood pressure. Exercise is, in many cases, all that you need to get your blood pressure back on track. The top number in a blood pressure reading indicates systolic blood pressure, which is created by the heart pumping blood away from it. Exercise can lower this reading by an average of 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (a unit of pressure), which is easily as much as some prescription blood pressure medications. A pleasant side effect of exercise is weight loss, which also does your heart and arteries a great favor.