Blood Pressure does not have to be all about Beta Blockers
About one in three adults in the USA have high blood pressure. More than 90% of adults who survive into their 80s will have high blood pressure (also called hypertension) while some 50% will have developed it by the age of 60.
The problem is that even if you have had normal or low blood pressure when younger, it can suddenly start to rise over the age of seventy – in spite of a healthy life style. High blood pressure is known to increase the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure and even kidney disease – especially if left untreated.
While there are many causes, including lack of physical activity, poor diet, being overweight, obesity, insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and diabetes, kidney disease, certain medications and genetics, high blood pressure becomes increasingly more common with age in both men and women.
But how can you treat it without resorting to medications and all that entails in the form of side effects?
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure consists of two numbers, traditionally measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg).
The first number is the systolic blood pressure – the pressure your heart exerts on your arteries when blood is being pumped.
The second number is diastolic pressure – the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest.
Blood pressure interpretation for adults is as follows:
- Normal blood pressure : up to 120/80
- Elevated blood pressure : 120-129/80-89
- Hypertension (stage 1) : 130-139/80-89
- Hypertension (stage 2) : over 140/90
Natural therapies for reducing blood pressure
During the past few decades, high blood pressure medicines have been used as the primary means of reducing elevated values. While there is little question about their effectiveness, side effects are a concern to many. Instead, you can look for natural therapies…
- Enjoying a diet rich in fresh vegetables and fruits, low-fat dairy products (ideally organic and always unsweetened), lean protein foods, 100 percent whole grains, beans and legumes as well as healthy fats such as coconut oil, olive oil, nuts, avocado and seeds.
- Including more potassium in your diet — found in foods like green veggies, bananas, sweet potatoes, organic dairy products, beans and avocados.
- Lowering your sodium intake is the recommended approach to controlling high blood pressure because high amounts of sodium, found in basically all processed and packaged foods, is known to worsen high blood pressure by impacting fluid retention and how arteries dilate.
- Losing weight.
- Reducing stress and ensuring taking routine exercise.
- Practising meditation and relaxation techniques.
- Drinking plenty of water each day is one of the easiest therapies to follow, aiming for 8 x 8 ounce glasses daily.
- Taking suitable supplements.
More about taking those suitable supplements
Beetroot juice extract comes with a high concentration of nitrates which when consumed can be reduced to nitrites by the bacteria commonly present in our mouths, setting off a chain reaction which can lower blood pressure. Available from health stores, follow the instructions.
Coenzyme Q10 is a naturally occurring antioxidant nutrient required for life and essential for our cells to generate energy. The heart produces and requires the most CoQ10 in order to meet its metabolic demands. Studies have found that CoQ10 has the potential in those with high blood pressure to lower systolic blood pressure by up to 17 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure by up to 10 mm Hg – but minus the side effects. Suggested dose: 100 mg to 300 mg daily while up to 600 mg may be beneficial.
Grape seed extract has many potentially health-boosting properties including lowering blood pressure and empowering the immune system. Suggested dose: 100 to 300 mg per day.
L-Arginine is an amino acid, a building block of proteins and is found in red meat, seafood, poultry and dairy products. According to studies, it can be beneficial in lowering blood pressure. Suggested dose: 1,000 mg to 6,000 per day.
Magnesium acts as a natural calcium channel blocker, a class of blood pressure-lowering medications that pharmaceutical companies have harnessed. The majority of the population today are said to be magnesium-deficient, mainly because the magnesium content of most fruits and vegetables has declined during the past one hundred years. A 2011 study showed that magnesium could lower blood pressure numbers by 5.6/2.8 mmHg, which is statistically significant and comparable to some prescription medications. Other studies have found similar results. Recommended dose : 250-500 mg daily
Omega-3 fatty acids play an important role in our overall health with numerous benefits for the heart, brain, gut, and joints. Studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids may also help lower blood pressure and are found in a several food sources including krill oil, fish (mackerel, cod and salmon are among the richest), walnuts, chia seeds, flax seeds, hemp seeds, avocado, and natto. In supplement form, suggested dose: 1,000 mg to 4000 mg per day.
Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) has been widely researched. Findings show that vitamin C helps promote a strong immune system as well as cardiovascular, brain and skin health. Lowering blood pressure has been found to be another possible benefit. Suggested dose: 500 to 1,000 mg per day
Treating or preventing high blood pressure
If you’ve been diagnosed with high blood pressure or you want to prevent it happening in the first place, a healthy diet is the key… always consult your health practitioner before starting any supplement regimen.