You can control high blood pressure using the natural methods explained here.
High blood pressure (or hypertension) is considered a “silent killer” because it can go undetected for years and catch you unawares. Blood pressure is defined by the relationship between the amount of blood pushed from the heart with each heart beat and the resistance against which it pushes.
The kidneys, the brain, and the heart are especially vulnerable to the damaging effects of high blood pressure. The excess pressure of blood scars and narrows the blood vessels. As a result, the heart is forced to work much harder pumping blood through the narrowed arteries. The damaged arteries allow fatty plaque to accumulate on them (atherosclerosis).
The good news is that it can be prevented and kept under check through simple home remedies and lifestyle changes.
Common Causes of Hypertension
- Smoking. Nicotine in cigarettes makes your blood vessels constrict and slow down blood flow. The heart has to work harder to maintain blood circulation.
- Stress. Stress stimulates sympathetic part of autonomic nervous system and activates noradrenalin. This fight-or-flight hormone produced by the medulla of the adrenal gland along with adrenaline narrows the blood vessels in the extremities and redirects blood to essential organs such as the heart and brain. This increases blood pressure.
- Cold weather. Cold weather constricts the blood vessels and the heart needs to work harder to push blood through them which raises blood pressure. A warm bath relaxes the body and helps to bring down high blood pressure.
- Excess salt intake. Excessive sodium can hold excessive fluid in body, at least temporarily. This can be burdensome on the kidneys and heart.
- Inadequate levels of potassium, calcium, and magnesium. Potassium relaxes blood vessels and prevents their contraction. Potassium works with sodium to regulate the body’s water balance. To maintain normal blood pressure, maintain more potassium and less sodium a person in his/her diet. Instead of potassium supplements, potassium rich foods should be eaten everyday. Vegetables such as potatoes and fruits like oranges and bananas are good sources of potassium. Having sufficient Calcium and vitamin D is essential for cardiovascular health, but excess of Calcium may not be good either, as it may interfere with hypertension medications. It is better to take Calcium after doctor’s advice.
- Obesity. People trying to control hypertension are advised to limit artery-clogging unhealthy fats, and maintain a reasonable weight, as volume of circulating blood increases with increasing weight.
- Diabetes. In fact, diabetes goes hand-in-hand with obesity. Obese persons secrete more insulin to offset the excessive sugar concentration in the blood. The rising insulin induces a thickening of the vessels making them more rigid and increasing the blood pressure. The gradually increasing insulin levels lead the body develop resistance to insulin. The body is forced to produce more insulin generating a further rise in the blood pressure.
- Sedentary lifestyle. Regular exercise, especially aerobics, helps in maintaining normal blood pressure.
- Lack of Nitric Oxide in the blood stream. Three Nobel-Prize winning American pharmacologists discovered in 1998 that nitric monoxide produced in endothelial cells of the wall of blood vessels relaxes and lowers blood pressure by dilating constricted blood vessels and stimulating blood circulation. Yoga and meditation are a great help. Pranayama, or the Yoga breathing exercises, especially the alternative nostril breathing, are a sure-shot for controlling hypertension. It has been found that nitric monoxide is produced within mucous membranes of the nose and this can be pulled in better when you breathe in and out through only one nostril at a time. To practice this, just block one nostril and breathe slowly in and out ten times and change the nostril to the other one.
Bitter melon is especially good for preventing and treating hypertension. Bitter gourd/melon is rich in a special amino acid called citrulline which can increase the amount of nitric monoxide in the blood. The liver changes the citruline into an amino acid called arginine and produces Nitric oxide as a by-product. Bitter melon also lowers blood sugar levels.
How To Control High Blood Pressure Naturally
All the causes for hypertension delineated above suggest methods to keep it in check – giving up or reducing smoking, practicing meditation and resting adequately to keep stress at bay, exercising regularly, and eating mineral-rich fruits and vegetables, avoiding excessive carbohydrates and trans fats (to keep diabetes in check), etc.