Did you know that hypertension or high blood pressure is commonly the silent killer? Not many are aware of how dangerous high blood pressure can be. Hypertension can result in fatal consequences, which has led to the notorious name it bears. Studies show that men below the age of 50 compared to women are more prone to it. There are options like home remedies for high blood pressure to maintain blood pressure level and keep it on track.
Untreated hypertension could lead to a host of other health issues such as blindness, dementia, or even end up in fatal consequences irrespective of age and gender!
Facts About High Blood Pressure:
One of the general causes of high blood pressure today is lifestyle changes and poor eating habits. High blood pressure affects people of all ages. Today even children have issues with their blood pressure with symptoms similar to adults. The main reasons are lack of exercise and unhealthy food choices. Elderly people who suffer from high blood pressure must ensure that their blood pressure readings are checked regularly, and their medications are adjusted accordingly. High blood pressure can cause complications in pregnancy too, so it is essential that they must get their BP checked during their routine follow up visits.
Among high blood pressure facts, it is seen that there are certain underlying disease conditions like diabetes, kidney disease, kidney infections, obstructive sleep apnea, glomerulonephritis, hormone problems, etc. that can cause high blood pressure.
Certain medicines like the contraceptive pill, steroids, NSAIDs, cough and cold remedies, Ayurvedic, herbal remedies, recreational drugs, and antidepressants can cause hypertension, but the blood pressure returns to normal immediately when the medications are discontinued.
What Is High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
Blood pressure is nothing but the force of blood pushing against the artery walls as it goes through the body. The blood pressure reading consists of two numbers. The top number is higher of the two and is the systolic pressure. This demonstrates the force in the arteries when your heartbeats. The bottom number is the diastolic pressure, and this is the pressure found in the arteries when the heart is resting between beats.
What Is Blood Pressure Range?
A normal adult reading is 120 Systolic and 80 Diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading that is higher than 140/90 mmHg is considered to be hypertension. People whose reading is between 120/90 to 140/90 considered to be under risk of hypertension.
The normal reading for older adults for the diagnosis of hypertension is the same irrespective of their age. Hence, an elderly person with a blood pressure level higher than 140/90 in consecutive measurements will be considered hypertensive, and the doctor will decide whether it is appropriate to prescribe anti-hypertensive drugs.
The normal blood pressure reading for a pregnant woman is 120/80 mmHg and below. When the readings are below 90/60 mmHg, it indicates low blood pressure or hypotension. When the readings are above 140/90 mmHg in pregnancy, it indicates high blood pressure or hypertension
High Blood Pressure:
When the blood pressure in the arteries is persistently elevated, it is called hypertension or high blood pressure. Blood pressure is of 2 types, they are,
Primary Blood Pressure:
When the blood pressure increases due to poor lifestyle, stress or sometimes even due to certain medicines, then it is called primary hypertension.
Secondary Blood Pressure:
Here the blood pressure has an identifiable cause such as an underlying disease condition.
What Range Is Considered To Be Hypertension?
Normal blood pressure is generally 120/80 mm Hg. For adults, when the systolic pressure is 120 to 129, and diastolic pressure is less than 80, then it is elevated blood pressure. High blood pressure is a pressure of 130 systolic or higher or 80 diastolic or higher that stays consistently high over time.
Natural Remedies For Lowering High Blood Pressure:
1. Reduce Salt Intake:
Salt has higher levels of sodium that only aggravate the situation of high blood pressure (1). Reduce salt intake in the homemade dishes as a home remedy for the treatment of hypertension. Salt causes the body to retain water. When salt intake is high, the extra water stored in the body causes the blood pressure to rise. Salt for high blood pressure patients can be an added problem when you already have existing high blood pressure. The recommended daily salt intake for high blood pressure should be no more than 6g of salt per day. Most of our salt consumption is hidden in processed foods like biscuits, bread, and cereals.
2. Potassium Rich Foods:
Potassium is the chief mineral that helps the body get rid of sodium. It eases pressure on the blood vessels. Focusing on eating lesser processed foods and more fresh whole foods that are particularly high in potassium will benefit and keep the blood pressure in check. The potassium-rich foods to lower blood pressure include veggies such as leafy greens, cucumber, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms, and sweet potatoes. Fruits rich in potassium would include melons, bananas, avocados, oranges, and apricots. In dairy, additions could be made to the diet in the form of milk and yogurt. Other things that could be added to our diet would be Tuna, salmon, nuts, seeds, and beans. Consumption of fresh fruits and veggies that are rich in potassium go a long way in lowering hypertension. (2)
Coffee is a well-liked beverage for most people and is not an easy beverage to give up. Caffeine effect on blood pressure or coffee in high BP can cause a short, but dramatic hike in it, even when there is no existing high blood pressure. The ideal solution as of now lies in replacing it with decaffeinated coffee as the amount of caffeine is automatically reduced in decaffeinated coffee (3). Studies have shown that the decrease in blood pressure with decaf coffee is real to a certain extent.
4. Dark Chocolate:
Research shows that consuming dark chocolate lowers blood pressure. Insulin is enhanced by dark chocolate to a certain extent. This holds significant importance because when insulin sensitivity is diminished, it could be one of the major causes of developing diabetes. The polyphenols found in dark chocolate works towards lowering blood pressure and works best on stage-I hypertension. (4)
See Also: Healthy Foods For Diabetes Patients
5. Alcohol Impact On Alcohol-induced Hypertension:
Research shows there is a connection between the consumption of alcohol and people who have high BP that is caused by alcohol. Alcohol works towards lowering blood pressure in those suffering from alcohol-induced hypertension, according to these studies. It shows that people who are heavy drinkers may be able to reduce their blood pressure gradually by lessening their alcohol intake over a period of two weeks. (5)
6. Lose Weight:
If one is overweight, losing weight can make a huge difference in one’s heart health. The body mass can significantly lower high blood pressure. The effect is even more efficient when weight loss is paired with exercise. When one loses weight, it does an even better job of helping blood vessels to expand and contract well. This makes it easier for the heart’s left ventricle to pump blood. Loss of weight can significantly lower hypertension. Obesity restricts the easy flow of blood and can be a menace for you.
7. Quit Smoking:
The effect of smoking on blood pressure is one of the several reasons to quit smoking. This habit is considered a strong risk factor for heart disease. Every puff of cigarette smoke triggers a slight, but temporary increase in the blood pressure. The chemicals in tobacco are also said to damage blood vessels. Since both smoking and high blood pressure tend to increase the risk of heart disease, quitting smoking can help to reverse that risk. There is conflicting research about the connection between smoking and hypertension, but what is clear is that both are effecting in increasing the risk of heart disease.
Exercise to reduce blood pressure is one of the best things that can happen to lower high blood pressure. Regular exercise makes the heart stronger and more efficient in pumping blood. Exercises like jogging, jumping rope, and climbing stairs help to lower the pressure in the arteries. The best part of the exercise for high blood pressure is that brisk walking for just 30 minutes a day can help lower blood pressure, and more exercise further helps reduce it. (6)Routine exercise to lower blood pressure, including moderate weightlifting, helps to provide many health benefits along with helping to lower blood pressure in the long run. It is advisable if one has high blood pressure to consult your doctor before starting any exercise program.
9. Cayenne Pepper:
Cayenne pepper is a useful remedy and one of the natural ways to reduce blood pressure quickly. It helps to open up blood vessels and increase blood flow. This naturally helps to decrease blood pressure naturally by increasing the rate at which the blood flows. (7)
10. Manage Stress:
Stress is a prime factor in high blood pressure. When one is chronically stressed out, the body is in a constant stressed out mode. This triggers at a physical level, a faster heart rate, and constricted blood vessels. It may also lead to unhealthy habits, like drinking alcohol or binge eating. All of this can negatively impact blood pressure. One can reduce or lower stress by listening to calming music. Try deep breathing exercises and techniques, and meditation to reduce stress and lower blood pressure. (8)
Foods To Eat For High Blood Pressure:
Among foods good for high blood pressure are the following:
1. Garlic Cloves:
Chewing raw garlic is one of the best foods for high blood pressure. Consumption of raw garlic activates allinase, which releases maximum allicin. Eating garlic regularly helps to control your blood pressure.Chewing1-2 raw cloves of garlic each day is one of the best ways to not only keep the blood pressure low and on track but provide a lot of other benefits like cholesterol check and more. This is one of the main effective ways to reduce blood pressure.
Lemon can control high blood pressure and is a natural remedy to follow. Early in the morning, take one glass of warm water with the juice of half a lemon in it. Do not add any sugar or salt to the solution. This is one method to control high BP.(9)
Basil may assist in lowering blood pressure. It prevents the narrowing of blood vessels. Basil Is one of the natural home remedies for hypertension, and it has so many other natural health benefits.
4. Mint Leaves:
Mint leaves have certain properties that may help to prevent arterial plaque that obstructs blood flow. Restricted blood flow leads to spikes in blood pressure levels. Dry the mint leaves well and then powder them well. Two teaspoons of this powder if taken daily on a regular basis, can help in achieving normal blood pressure. We can begin to see the outcome in about 4-5 days’ time. This is one of the tried and tested herbal remedies for hypertension.
5. Watermelon Seeds:
Watermelon contains citrulline, an amino acid that may increase nitric oxide levels in our body. This nitric oxide assists the blood vessels to expand and lower blood pressure. There are enzymes in watermelon seeds that help in widening the blood vessels. Dried watermelon seeds should be ground in equal quantities with poppy seeds. A teaspoon of this mixture should be taken early in the morning on an empty stomach to get the best benefits.
Celery contains phytochemicals called phthalides. When used as an extract, it is called NBP. This relaxes the tissues of the artery walls and increases blood flow and reduces blood pressure. As celery stalk salt content is low, one gains the benefit of magnesium, fiber, and potassium. And all these help to regulate blood pressure. A nominal intake of celery in your diet can help keep your blood pressure under check.
The chief benefit of honey for hypertension comes from the calming properties that it has on the blood vessels. About 2 teaspoons of raw and organic honey in the morning on an empty stomach is recommended for lowering blood pressure. (10)
Cinnamon is yet another tasty seasoning that requires very little effort to be included in the daily diet. This plays an immense role in lowering hypertension numbers down. Cinnamon can be added to the diet by sprinkling it on your breakfast oatmeal, cereal, and even in coffee. Cinnamon is the perfect remedy to cure hypertension problems. Home remedies for high blood pressure with cinnamon can work well as it aids in better blood flow. This is the best home remedy for high blood pressure that is tasty too!
Cardamom is a seasoning that is often used in South Asian cuisine. The health effects of cardamom reveal that with hypertension, there were significant reductions in blood pressure readings after taking cardamom powder twice a day for 12 weeks. It helps to stabilize blood pressure and improves blood circulation. Cardamom can be included as cardamom seeds or powder soups, stews, and even baked goods. (11)
Foods To Avoid For High Blood Pressure:
If you have are suffering from high blood pressure, then there are certain ways you can lower your blood pressure by consuming a healthy diet. A healthy diet can comprise of lean protein, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, legumes, and low-fat dairy. The list of food to increase blood pressure consists of:
X. Deli Meat:
These can be real sodium bombs as the meat here is cured, preserved, and seasoned with salt.
X. Bread, Cheese, Condiments, and Pickles:
These added to simple sandwiches end up becoming sodium traps.
X. Canned Soup:
These are easy and simple to prepare, especially when you are racing against time or not feeling well. These canned soups are high in sodium along with canned stocks and broths, which are bad for blood pressure. The same is with bottled or canned tomato products.
X. Frozen Pizza:
This is a poor choice for those who want to keep their blood pressure under control. Once cooked, a lot of salt is added to maintain its taste. The thicker the crust and topping, the more salt it will contain.
X. Vegetable Juices:
The longer the vegetables remain in preserving liquids and canning, the more sodium it contains.
X. Tomato Products:
Most canned tomato sauces, pasta sauces, and tomato juices are very high in sodium.
X. White Sugar:
Excessive sugar is linked directly to obesity and being overweight. This, in turn, is linked to high blood pressure.
X. Refined Goods:
Avoid or use in moderation white bread, pasta, pizza dough, pastries, white rice, white flour, etc.
X. Dairy Food:
Some of the foods that can be added to our routine diet to help to reduce blood pressure are ajwain, amla, soy, apple, milk, berries, egg, etc.
Smart eating strategies in Indian households would go a long way in preventing unwarranted spikes in blood pressure. One can implement easy swaps to replace those that trigger and cause hypertension, as there are home remedies to lower high blood pressure. It is very important that we keep in mind that in order to keep our blood pressure under check, we need not deprive ourselves, but instead make healthy choices and eat smart!
Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor if you have any specific questions about any medical condition and treatment change.
1. What Are The Signs And Symptoms In Hypertension To Look For?
One of the scary aspects of hypertension is that most of us do not know when our blood pressure is shooting up. Some of the symptoms we should watch out for are severe headache, confusion, fatigue, vision problems, chest pain, difficulty breathing, the heartbeat is irregular, pounding in chest, neck, or ears, etc. These are most of the major symptoms that we should look out for as we could be in a hypertensive crisis, and this may warrant a visit to the doctor.
2. How Is Blood Pressure Measured?
The measurement of blood pressure is to be done the right way for the readings to be accurate. One must sit with back support while blood pressure measurement is being taken. When blood pressure is checked, the cuff is wrapped around the upper arm, which is placed at the heart level. This cuff is inflated by pressing the bulb. The doctor then slowly lets the air out and will listen to your pulse with a stethoscope placed on your wrist. The gauge shows the pressure in your blood vessels. There are digital blood pressure monitors available, too to check our blood pressures.
3. What Are The Drugs Used To Treat Hypertension?
The following 5 groups are the first choice of drugs for the treatment of high blood pressure/hypertension. They are diuretics, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin receptor blockers. Some of the other blood pressure-lowering drugs which are alternatively used when the drugs above are not effective or not well tolerated are alpha 1 – blockers, alpha 2 – agonists and I1- blockers, and directly acting vasodilators.