From housewives to students, young as well as old, and businessmen included too so many people are coming down with high blood pressure. It’s become a common household term now where mom asks for medicines to counter this affliction or dad requests it from the nearest pharmacy to be home delivered.
You know you have a problem when your systolic pressure (the top number) is 140 or above and/or your diastolic pressure (the bottom number) is 90 or above. Medication is almost always people’s first pick, but that’s not often as efficient as more natural avenues. A lifestyle change can do wonders in reducing blood pressure or sometimes even getting rid of it altogether. Here are 10 things you can do…
1. Cardio – Exercise at the gym is all well and good but you can accomplish amazing results right there at home if you put yourself through a good cardio routine. This includes stretching and aerobics, pushups, pull ups and of course, jogging. You can even take up swimming. This is all meant to target your waist fat and other unwanted obesity zones in your body.
Just 10 pounds (approx.5 kilos) can do miracles in easing your blood pressure. If there’s fat in your body your blood will find it hard to move about. That’s one obvious way to look at the whole exercise routine and how it can help you. In fact, if you really insist on doctor approved medicines you’ll be happy to know that your body responds to medication better once you start exercising and losing calories.
2. Food & Drink – Eat what everyone talks about but no one does, namely green veggies, fruits and white meat. They’re awesome choices.
More potassium (baked potatoes, white beans, spinach, dried apricots, skim/non-fat yogurt, salmon, white mushrooms, avocados, bananas etc.)…
…And less sodium (salt, powdered broths, soy sauce, salad dressing, yeast extract, salami and bacon and cured meats, cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, saltwater crab, pickled foods etc.) are steps in the right directions.
As far as drinks are concerned taking plenty of water helps in the long run. So, be sure you drink two full bottles a day, minimum. On a similar note, reduce or quit drinking liquor. It’s one of the biggest agitators of blood pressure. If you want to reduce, here are some statistics that will help encourage you. If you’re drinking more than the suggested amounts in the following list, it’s time to cut back.
One drink for the person with blood pressure should equal…
12 ounces (355 milliliters, or mL) of beer
5 ounces of wine (148 mL) or
1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor (45 mL).
3. Supplements – These are yet another superb way to enhance your health while also keeping your blood pressure in check.
- Q10: This is actually a wonderful supplement despite the fact that its food sources are not well documented. From what’s known so far Co-Enzyme Q10 can be found in organ meat (liver, heart, kidney), fish and whole grain germs.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids: Walnut and tofu are great sources for this supplement, not to forget cod liver oil (take 3 tbs. a day). Fish like salmon, sardines and cod are also great sources (take only 14 ounces of any one fish per week or you’ll have over-deficiency to worry about).
- Alpha-linolenic Acid: ALA is one the healthiest supplement options out there and you can find it in any and all vegetables that are green and leafy (dark green, preferably). There are walnuts and flax seeds for you to consider too.
Now that we’ve checked out some general methods you can do to naturally alleviate, reduce or rid yourself of blood pressure let’s explore some specific food sources.
4. Cocoa – Hot cocoa has shown it can control blood pressure just as well as other natural remedies can. According to a study conducted at the Institute of Human Nutrition and Food Science, in Christian Albrechts University, in Germany, cocoa contains polyphenols that perform a triple role. They are anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant and anti-atherogenic.
Chocolate is one good source of cocoa but taking too much of that to get the right levels of cocoa needed in your body can spell trouble. About five cups of hot cocoa everyday is a better alternative, according to a Harvard research report. The flavanols in cocoa stimulate nitric oxide production in your body resulting in better blood flow to your organs, brain and especially your heart.
5. Garlic – Not only does it counter cholesterol it also fights blood pressure. The recommended dose of 1-2 garlic capsules consumed twice a day has helped plenty of people see change. It’s best you confirm this with your physician before attempting to follow it yourself, because your blood pressure may be slightly different in some way and may not readily respond to that recommended dosage.
Garlic prevents artery spasms, slows down your pulse to a normal level and enhances the rhythm of your heartbeat. Flatulence and shortness of breath are also taken care of.
6. Rauwolfia – This powerful herb (also called Rauwolfia serpentine, sarpagandha or Indian snakeroot) has alkaloids in it that have amazing effects against blood pressure. By controlling certain nerve impulses flowing along specific never pathways in your body Rauwolfia targets the heart and blood vessels and, in so doing, helps lower blood pressure and imparts health.
Keep in mind that this potent herb doesn’t cure BP but rather controls it. Taking 50-100 mg every day (in tablet form; this dosage being for adults) helps. However, breastfeeding women and pregnant women should not go for this mode of BP control.
Here are some other options for you to change your lifestyle to.
7. Go Decaf – A study from Duke University Medical Center has revealed that 500 mg of caffeine going into your body increases blood pressure by 4 mm-hg with the effect lingering until bed time. What caffeine does is it tightens your blood vessels and increases stress, which is how you feel energized for a brief period of time. This in turn raises blood pressure which is negligible in normal healthy bodies but not so in the case of individuals who are diagnosed with blood pressure. If you insist on wanting coffee then its best you go decaf.
8. Listen To Music – This is one of the best proven techniques to help with blood pressure. Research done at the University of Florence in Italy had 28 adults who were on hypertension pills listen to soothing music for half an hour every day while at the same time breathing slowly and regularly.
A week later the researchers discovered the patients’ average systolic reading had gone down by 3.2 points and 4.4 points a month later. It depends on the type of music being heard. Classical and soothing is best, heavy metal and such like aren’t.
Yoga has long established itself as a means to all round health. Here are some yoga breathing exercises that can help you fight off blood pressure.
9. Sukhasana – A relaxation oriented seating posture.
Sit with legs folded on the yoga mat. You should sit in such a way that you draw your feet in towards you, cross the shins and place each foot beneath the opposite knee. Nothing complicated, it’s just the position you automatically adopt when you sit on the floor, in a rather Indian-inspired style. Don’t pull your legs too close, leave a gap between your feet and pelvis (lower hip area, in this case).
Take your hands, palm up, and place them in your lap. If you find placing them on your knees more comfortable then go palm down.
Posture your shoulders nice and firm without arching your lower back.
Breathe normally and sit in this position for as long as you can, until you feel your breathing has grown steady and you attain an utterly relaxed state. Re-cross your legs if you feel too rigid.
10. Shavasana – A relaxation oriented lying down posture.
Lie down face up on the yoga mat.
Spread your feet with 20 inches between them and relax your ankles and toes so they point outwards and not straight up.
Take your hands 10 inches away from the sides of your body and place them palm down on the mat.
Ease up on your shoulder blades, keep then pulled down and not pushed up against the floor. Also, see that the small of your back is relaxed and touching the floor, not arching up and leaving a gap underneath.
tart relaxing your body, breathing deeply, feel your belly balloon up for each breath and then go back down.
The aim of this asana is to detach yourself of all thought, breathe deeply to the point of losing yourself in relaxation and then come out of this yoga breathing exercise feeling calm and at peace.