What will happen if you leave the clogged drainage pipe of your kitchen unattended? It will first make the flow of water slower and then gradually block it from going where it is supposed to! Eventually, you will have a sink full of water making you unable to use it altogether. Now just imagine if your sink would have been a closed vessel with a tight lid on it, what would all the water logged in it would have done? The force of water would have pushed the lid to let the water burst out of the closed space! The same happens when your blood vessels get clogged. Your blood flow is obstructed within the body and it has to exert a lots of pressure to make its way ahead in every direction. This we know as high blood pressure or hypertension. This blockage puts so much of pressure on your heart (which pumps the blood) that it has to beat harder which eventually may lead to heart attack, stroke and even kidney failure! It is, therefore, almost inevitable to monitor your blood pressure regularly and take measures to correct it with medicine, lifestyle changes as well as home remedies.
Diet and Lifestyle Remedies
According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the normal blood pressure reading is equal to 120/80 mmHg. If your blood pressure reads more than 140/90 mmHg, you suffer from hypertension. Even before you adopt any home remedy for high blood pressure, you must adopt certain diet and lifestyle related habits to help medicines as well as home and herbal remedies do their work properly.
- Exercise daily for about 30-60 minutes. If not daily, do it for at least 3-4 days per week. If you have never been into exercising, start with walking and gradually move on to other forms of exercises. Consult your doctor regarding any exercise that you plan to do. Exercising brings down your blood pressure readings by 4 to 9 mmHg.
- Forget Crash diets and follow DASH diet. Dash meaning ‘Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension’ may lower your blood pressure reading by upto 14 mmHg. This diet includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts, low-fat dairy, lean meats, and fish. Along with inclusion of such foods, you also have to stop having foods that are high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol. These include processed and fried foods, whole milk dairy products and fatty meats.
- This is very important. Lower your sodium intake. This means that you should limit your salt intake drastically because AHA says people with high blood pressure should only have less than 1500 mg of sodium per day. This is equal to only a little more than a ½ teaspoon! Not only you have to cook food with little salt but also avoid sprinkling that table salt on your foods. Watch for processed foods as well as those that come from restaurants, they have high amounts of sodium.
- Quit smoking. If a single cigarette will raise your blood pressure by 10+ mmHg for an hour, you will have your blood pressure elevated for almost whole of the day if you smoke heavily.
- Drink alcohol but in limited quantity. Like an apple, a glass of wine is perfect for your heart’s health but if you drink more alcohol, you may aggravate your hypertension. AHA recommends only two drinks for men and one for women per day. Don’t cross your limits!
- Do not take stress. It’s easier said than done but you have to do this. Do anything under the sun- exercise, breathe deeply, meditate, talk to friends and family, take help of support groups, anything- but just don’t let your problems give you tension enough to raise your blood pressure.
Now off to some herbal remedies to lower your high blood pressure.
Amazing Herbs and Foods for High Blood Pressure
Here are some herbs and foods that you can easily find around yourself, in kitchen or health stores. Many of them are already being used by you for your cooking or in raw form. Just when you know that these herbs can decrease your blood pressure, you can use them more effectively.
Have Raw or Dried Garlic
When I say Allium sativum, you may not recognize it but as soon as I say garlic, you immediately are convinced because you know that garlic is an established good herb not only for hypertension but for many other medical conditions like hay fever, herpes, sunburns, and of course heart ailments like arteriosclerosis and cholesterol problems. The component of garlic called allicin is behind its miracle for lowering blood pressure. It is said to increase nitric oxide production which results in smooth muscle relaxation and vasodilatation (the widening of blood vessels) thus assisting in smooth blood flow.
Some of the researches, however, maintain that garlic used in cooking may not be as beneficial as a dried garlic would be. When a raw garlic is crushed or chewed, it produces the beneficial component allicin but when you cook it, allicin gets destroyed. Therefore, many doctors recommend having garlic pearls or tablets and even dried garlic in prescribed doses rather than depending upon cooked garlic in your dishes. While it seems a rather difficult task to eat a raw garlic, you may easily dry them up and swallow these dried cloves of garlic with water. It is said that 1.8 mg allicin per dose is required to have any beneficial effect of garlic for lowering high blood pressure.
Make Fresh Celery Juice
Apium graveolens or the common celery and its seed extracts have been found to lower high blood pressure significantly and that too without any side effects which accompany high BP drugs that you take. Traditional Chinese medicine use celery as it acts upon liver. One of the types of hypertension is associated with liver too. There is a compound called 3-n-butylphthalide (3nB) in celery seed extract which not only lowers blood pressure but also give relief from arthritis. A recent study conducted on humans has shown that a celery seeds extract dosage of 150mg per day can significantly decrease both systolic (SBP) and diastolic blood pressure (DBP) when compared to baseline measurements.
Not only celery seed extract but celery juice too does wonders for high BP patients. To make celery juice for your hypertension,
You will need:
Equal amounts of
• Celery juice
• Mix celery juice and honey.
• Have one cup of this juice three times a day.
• Have three cups daily for a week.
You will see significant decrease in both systolic and diastolic BP. You may reduce the amount of juice taken daily after a week. Celery juice can also give you relief from dizziness, headache and shoulder pain associated with hypertension. You just have to mix vinegar with fresh celery juice to get this relief.
Have Wholegrain Oats Daily
Avena sativa or green oats can considerably control high BP due to its dietary soluble fibers. Many researches have found that people who eat oats regularly for at least 6-8 weeks substantially reduce their bad cholesterol levels. Therefore, adding soluble fiber-rich whole oats in your diet can not only reduce the risks of high blood pressure but can also prevent it.
Have your Daily Dose of Flaxseed
Linum usitatissimum, commonly known as linseed or flaxseed may have originated in Egypt but is available everywhere and used by many people all over world to keep them healthy. The component of flaxseed, α-linolenic acid belonging to the group of omega 3 fatty acids, is beneficial for heart diseases, inflammatory bowel disease, arthritis, and many other health problems. Flaxseed act as antioxidants. It protects against cardiovascular disease by reducing serum cholesterol, platelet aggregation, and inflammatory markers as well as by improving glucose tolerance.
Have 15 to 50 gm of ground flaxseed daily to reduce your cholesterol and low-density lipoproteins without changing the levels of triglycerides or high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the good cholesterol). Reducing bad cholesterol means opening up your arteries and vessels to ensure smooth blood flow! You may do it easily by mixing your ground flaxseed with salad, yogurt, curries, gravies etc.
Basil Beats Blood Pressure
Ocimum basilicum or the basil herb can be an effective remedy to lower systolic, diastolic, and mean blood pressure. One of the studies conducted at Xinjiang Medical University found that basil extract reduced blood pressure in the similar way as its medication does. Basil is said to work by affecting the levels of endothelins, the proteins which constrict blood vessels. The effective dose for basil extract that can lower BP is said to be 30 mg/kg. You can even use fresh basil leaves to this effect. You can crush a few fresh leaves of basil and have them first thing in the morning. If you can’t have them like this, mix the juice taken from crushed leaves with water and have this water. If you are using dried leaves, make a tea out of it by steeping the leaves in hot water.
Have Tasty Pomegranate Juice
Lythraceae or Pomegranate can be your friend when it comes to lowering high blood pressure. This tasty fruit drink also will not feel like any medicine. Some researches have shown that pomegranate reduces the activity of angiotensin converting enzymes considerably. While many clinical research doesn’t support this finding but one of another studies has shown modest reduction in systolic BP after having 50 ml pomegranate juice per day for a whole year.
Add More Potassium to Your Diet
Although importance of DASH diet has already been mentioned above in this article, I am laying more stress on having added potassium in your diet. It helps in reducing your risk of high blood pressure. You should consume at least 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily in order to attain and maintain a healthy blood pressure. Almost all fruits, vegetables and dairy products contain certain amount of potassium but some of the foods have high content of this important nutrient. They include banana, apricots, avocados, Brussels sprouts, dates, figs, kiwi fruit, orange juice, pears, peanuts, prunes, raisins, spinach, tomatoes, winter squash, and plain yogurt. Include them in your diet and lower your blood pressure for good. Just don’t go for their processed or canned varieties. As soon as you do that, you are adding more sodium to your diet which is a complete no-no for a patient of hypertension.