High blood pressure or hypertension is a disease that affects about 1 in 3 American adults. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to major health problems, such as heart attack, stroke and kidney failure. There are little symptoms for high blood pressure which is why it is important to have your blood pressure checked. People who are over the age of 35, obese, heavy drinkers, diabetics and women on birth control pills have a higher chance of getting high blood pressure. One of the main causes of high blood pressure is unhealthy diets. Because unhealthy diets are major contributors to high blood pressure, if you eat a well balanced diet everyday, it will dramatically reduce your chance of getting high blood pressure.
American Heart Association recommended blood pressure levels
- Normal: less than 120 (systolic – mm Hg) or less than 80 (diastolic – mm Hg)
- Prehypertension: 120-139 (systolic – mm Hg) or 80-89 (diastolic – mm Hg)
- High (stage 1): 140-159 (systolic – mm Hg) or 90-99 (diastolic – mm Hg)
- High (stage 2): 160 or higher (systolic – mm Hg) or 100 or higher (diastolic – mm Hg)
Note: systolic pressure is the blood pressure in the arteries when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure is the blood pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest. The measurement mm Hg stands for millimeters of mercury. If you blood pressure is abnormally low or high, you may want to consult with a doctor.
Causes of high blood pressure
- Unhealthy food
- Lack of physical activity
- High intake of sodium
- Low intake of potassium
- Old age
- Excessive alcohol intake
Natural ways to lower high blood pressure
- Garlic: According to a study made by Dr. Karin Ried, random chosen patients who took garlic supplements lowered their systolic blood pressure by 8.4 mm Hg. Many studies worldwide have also shown that garlic can lower blood pressure.
- Ginger: This herb is popular for lowering blood pressure and preventing blood clots. Ginger may lower blood pressure by thinning the blood and preventing platelet from sticking to artery walls.
- Alfalfa: An herb that is rich in magnesium, potassium, calcium and vitamin K. These nutrients are very important for preventing heart disease.
- Cayenne: An herb that is famous for it pain reducing effects and cardiovascular benefits. Herbalists like to use cayenne for reducing blood cholesterol levels, boosting the immune system and treating stomach ulcers.
- Folate (vitamin B9): Folate may help lower high blood pressure by reducing elevated homocysteine levels in the blood. High levels of homocysteine can increase the risk of atherosclerosis, hardening of the artery walls.
- Potassium: Many researchers concluded that potassium can prevent blood vessels from contracting. This allows blood vessels to relax which relieves high blood pressure.
- Meditation: According to Robert Schneider, dean of the college of Maharishi Vedic Medicine in Fairfield, Iowa, transcendental meditation can help lower high blood pressure. “Transcendental meditation is a simple mind-body technique that allows you to gain a unique state of restful awareness,” says Schneider. Many studies worldwide have shown that mediation plays an important role for lowering blood pressure because it eases stress.
- Acupuncture: An energy healing technique that involves placing very thin needles in certain pressure points (acupoints) throughout the body. Practitioners believed that stimulating these points will promote the body’s natural healing systems. This technique is designed to unblock the meridians (energy pathways) in the body and bring it back into balance. When you break your body down to the fundamentals, it is made of nothing but energy. Understanding this concept makes it logical to use acupuncture and other energy techniques to heal the body.
- Exercise: One of the greatest ways to prevent high blood pressure is to exercise. Exercise can help lower blood pressure in many ways, one of them is regulating insulin levels. Studies have shown that insulin resistance plays a major role for increasing blood pressure. Regular exercise also prevents arteries from decreasing in diameter. This makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and also decrease the chance of getting atherosclerosis. Aerobic, yoga and tai chi are some of the best exercises for lowering blood pressure.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables: These power foods are usually high in essential nutrients, such as vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. These nutrients are essential for the body and many of them are important for keeping the heart healthy. For best results eat the ones that are organic.
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