What is High Blood Pressure?
Our tissues and organs constantly need oxygenated blood to function properly. This blood is carried by our circulatory system which consists of veins, arteries, and capillaries. The beating f heart creates a pressure which helps in pushing the blood through these systems, and this pressure is known as Blood pressure. When this is consistently at a high level, it is known as high blood pressure or also as Hypertension.
High blood pressure makes your heart to work harder thus increasing the strain on it and risking damage to its delicate tissues. Over time this damage can lead to serious consequences such as heart attack or stroke.
How to Reduce Blood Pressure?
Apart from drugs prescribed by the doctors, it is also possible to regulate the blood pressure naturally by applying simple changes in the lifestyle. These changes effects drastically in the physical as well as the mental health of the person. Some of these methods are :
1. Regular exercising: Exercising or walking regularly can improve the health of the heart and also help to improve the blood pressure considerably. Exercise makes the heart stronger which in turn makes it more efficient in pumping the blood to the organs. The more efficient the heart is the lesser pressure there is in the arteries to pump, and hence it regulates the overall blood pressure. According to studies 75 minutes of strenuous exercise or 150 minutes of mild exercises such as walking can improve the heart health and blood pressure.
2. Losing weight: Weight loss is a consequence of exercising. As there is lesser body fat, it is easier for the heart to pump the blood and also easier for the blood vessels to expand and contract hence reducing the pressure on the heart for blood.
3. Managing stress: One of the main causes of high blood pressure is stress. Mental stress also forces the body to be in stress physically, which means the heart rate is faster and the blood flow to the vessels is constricted. It is also possible to resort to unhealthy habits while in stress which may have an adverse effect on the body. Hence it is necessary to manage stress effectively to reduce the blood pressure.
There are various ways to manage stress. Some of these are:
- Managing the workload so as to not put any strain on the body at the last minute.
- Listening to music that is soothing to the ears can help in decreasing the heart rate and thus reducing the blood pressure.
- Another popular method of reducing stress is Meditation. Meditation along with deep breathing helps to relax the nervous system and slows the heart which in turn reduces the blood pressure too.
4. Reducing the consumption of Sodium: Nowadays it is common to eat processed food or pre-made foods. These foods have a high intake of salt which has a negative effect on the heart as well as the body. High consumption of salt can result in serious health issues such as heart attack or strokes and is also one of the major reasons for high blood pressure in the body. therefore it is important to control and regulate the everyday salt consumption to manage the blood pressure.
5. Lesser consumption of Alcohol: Many studies suggest that excessive consumption of alcohol can lead to rising blood pressure in the body. From about 16% cases out of all the cases of high blood pressure, alcohol is one of the main reasons for it. Although low consumption of alcohol may help in protecting the heart, once its threshold is crossed the negative effects overpower the positive ones. It is suggested to have no more than one- two drinks per day for having healthy blood pressure.
6. Including more Potassium in the diet: One of the most important minerals required for the body is potassium. It helps the body to process sodium and also to get rid of it if there is any excess present. Currently, many diets work in the exact opposite way by increasing the sodium and decreasing the potassium content in them. Eating lesser processed foods and consuming more amounts of fresh foods is one efficient way to increase potassium intake in the body. Foods such as bananas, avocados, apricots, oranges, etc. have a high amount of potassium in them.
7. Lower intake of caffeine: Although caffeine does not have long-lasting effects on the blood pressure. Excessive amounts of it can have a negative impact on the overall health of the body. as caffeine helps in boosting the heart rate, it also momentarily increases the blood pressure too. For people who might be sensitive to such sudden fluctuations, it is prescribed to reduce the consumption of caffeine-related products such as coffee and tea.
8. Avoid smoking/ Quit smoking: Smoking in the long term weakens the lungs and heart which can cause unhealthy levels of blood pressure in the body. With every cigarette, the blood pressure in the body slightly increases. Hence it is essential to avoid or quit smoking for better heart health and healthy blood pressure for a long period of time.
9. Including foods having more Magnesium: Magnesium helps in relaxing the blood vessels. It is an important mineral which helps in regulating the blood pressure. According to clinical studies, having less magnesium in your diets may be related to the increased blood pressure, and hence it is important to ensure that there is enough amount of it in your regular diet. Magnesium-rich products include dairy products such as yogurt, whole grains , meat, chicken, legumes, etc.
10. Having calcium-rich foods in the diet: Calcium helps in regulating the blood pressure in the body considerably. According to the studies recommended intake for adults is about 1000 mg per day which may increase up to 1200 mg as they grow older. Many calcium-rich foods include dairy products such as milk, leafy vegetables, etc.
11. Dark chocolate or cocoa: Dark chocolate and cocoa contain flavonoids. Flavonoids are responsible for dilating the blood vessels when consumed. Hence it helps in decreasing the blood pressure. Consuming a small quantity of dark chocolate can help the body in reducing and controlling high blood pressure. Non- alkalized cocoa powder is most effective as it has high amounts of flavonoids and no amounts of added sugar.
12. Natural supplements: Apart from the following remedies, there are also some natural supplements which can help in regulating and controlling the blood pressure in the body.
- Fish oil: it is proven to benefit the body and the heart considerably.
- Berberine: berberine is generally used in the medicinal practices of Ayurveda and Chinese practices. It helps to increase the production of nitric oxide in the body which results in a decrease of the blood pressure.
- Whey protein: whey protein also improves heart health as well as blood pressure.
- Aged garlic extract: It has been used as a medicine for treating high blood pressure for many years along with other traditional methods.
- Hibiscus flower: Tea made from Hibiscus flower is rich in polyphenols and anthocyanins. These are good for the health of the heart as well as helps to maintain healthy blood pressure.