Updated: May 23
What is high blood pressure?
High blood pressure (also called hypertension) is when your blood moves through your arteries at a higher pressure than normal and that forces your heart to work harder to pump the blood. Think of it along the lines of a balloon being filled with water. The more water that pours into the balloon, the higher the pressure and the higher the risk for bursting (complications).
What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is considered the silent killer because it usually does not exhibit any signs and symptoms until end organ damage occurs. When damage occurs, you can expect headaches, blurry vision, nosebleeds, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and racing heartbeat.
What causes high blood pressure?
There are a broad range of causative factors for high blood pressure, but most cases are caused by poor lifestyle choices. The use of hormonal medications (such as oral contraceptives), poor stress management, smoking, obesity, increased alcohol intake, poor diet (high in salt and fat), and inactivity may contribute to high blood pressure. There are also several underlying conditions that may increase the chance of developing high blood pressure such as: high cholesterol, Cushing's disease, pheochromocytoma, diabetes, and kidney disease.
What are the complications of high blood pressure?
High blood pressure is one of the most debilitating diseases if not controlled because it can lead to several chronic conditions such as: heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, sexual dysfunction, vision loss, kidney disease, stroke and eventually death.
How is high blood pressure treated?
There are a variety of different medications used clinically to treat high blood pressure. Ace inhibitors (i.e lisinopril) angiotensin receptor blockers (losartan), beta blockers (metoprolol), calcium channel blockers (amlodipine), diuretics (furosemide), and all the like. Yes, these medications are very effective in treating high blood pressure but of course they do come with many side effects and affect other organs. In fact, there have been many recalls of some of the most popular blood pressure medications because they have cancer causing agents within their ingredients.
What are the naturopathic treatments for high blood pressure?
If you are more interested in a natural approach to treating high blood pressure, there are several lifestyle and naturopathic options shown to be effective.
Foods to eat- fresh/raw vegetables, high ORAC foods, fruits, whole grains, and potassium rich foods (avocados, apples, asparagus, cabbage, oranges, tomatoes, bananas, and kelp).
Studies have shown that choosing foods with higher antioxidant capacities can significantly reduced both blood pressure and oxidative stress in less than 2 weeks. Foods with higher antioxidant capacities, are ones with high oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) foods like prunes, raisins, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, plums, oranges, red grapes, cherries, kiwi, grapefruit, kale, spinach, brussel sprouts, alfalfa sprouts, broccoli, beets, red bell pepper, onion, corn and eggplant.
Foods to avoid- saturated, hydrogenated fats (margarine, butter, shortening and refined veggie oils), refined sugar, caffeine, soda, alcohol, canned and packaged foods with added salt.
Herbs & Supplements- 250 milligrams of Hawthorne 3 times a day, 100 milligrams of coenzyme Q10 3 times a day, 500 milligrams of calcium and 250 milligrams of magnesium twice a day, 1.25 grams of hibiscus 3 times a day, 600 milligrams of aged black garlic extract twice a day, 3000 milligrams of fish oil 3 times a day, and 2,000 milligrams potassium daily (under doctor supervision).
What other lifestyle prescriptions can help normalize blood pressure?
In order to prevent and or reduce the severity of high blood pressure, 30 to 45 minutes of exercise is recommended daily, which may lower blood pressure by 10 mm Hg. Exercise may come in many different forms, such as: dancing, running, yard work, or just walking. Non exercisers should start out slower at 10 minutes 2-3 times per week and gradually increase to 30-45 minutes 2-3 times per week at moderate intensity. This amount of exercise is most benefit in blood pressure lowering. The most benefit was seen when people exercised 2-3 times per week for 30-45 minutes at a time at a moderate intensity. Beyond this and less than this is less beneficial.
Lowering sodium intake has a tremendous affect on blood pressure. It is important to read the label and looks for packaged foods that include high amounts of sodium. Reducing sodium by 3000 mg per day can reduce systolic blood pressure by 5-7 mm of mercury and diastolic blood pressure by about 2.5-3.5 mm of mercury. Try to reduce daily sodium intake to no greater that 1,500 mg .
Eat more organic whole grains (wheat, corn, rice, oats, barley, quinoa, sorghum, spelt, and rye). This has been shown in a randomized trial to reduce systolic blood pressure by 6 mm of mercury and pulse pressure by 3 mm of mercury. This in turn can reduce the risk of a heart attack by 15% and a stroke by 25%.
Increase intake of flax seeds to 30 grams (or approximately ¼ cup) of flax-seeds daily to witness blood pressure lowering. Studies have shown that this amount of flax seed can lower systolic blood pressure by 15 points and diastolic blood pressure by 7 points. This reduction equates to a 46% risk reduction for stroke and 26% reduction for myocardial infarction. Ground flax-seeds have been shown to work 2-3x better than calcium channel blockers and ACE inhibitors which reduce systolic and diastolic blood pressures .
Hydrate with these Ayurvedic systems of healing: mango juice, orange juice + coconut water, watermelon + pinch of cardamom, cucumber + cilantro, honey water, and cilantro + turmeric
Additional tips to control blood pressure are to stay cool in the summer, stay warm in the winter, reduce stress, stretch, perform breathing exercise, and meditate.
Following these necessary holistic tips to manage your blood pressure will enhance your quality of life and allow you to reach new heights in your health journey. Stay active, practice good hygiene and nourish the body with all the appropriate foods to make sure your tissues, cells and organs remain in homeostasis.
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