Natural Ways to Reduce High Blood Pressure
According to the CDC, high blood pressure is a common condition that affects nearly one third of adults in America. Chronically high blood pressure, or hypertension, is defined as blood pressure that is over 140/90 consistently. Normal blood pressure is 120/80 and anything in between those is considered “pre-hypertension.” Conventional treatment for high blood pressure includes medications either alone or in combination. While these can be helpful in decreasing blood pressure initially to help protect the cardiovascular system, they may not be needed long term to control blood pressure.
Below are some ways to help decrease blood pressure naturally:
• Nutrition: Diet is one of the most important factors in treating high blood pressure. Eating fresh, whole foods, healthy fats and limiting refined carbs and sugar can help lower blood pressure. With the standard American diet, people tend to consume too much sodium and not enough potassium and magnesium. A deficiency in potassium and magnesium can contribute to chronic hypertension.
• Exercise and weight loss: Research shows that exercising as little as 30 minutes a day can decrease blood pressure significantly. Based on a study in 2004, for every 8 kg (17.5 pounds) of weight loss, blood pressure decreased by about 8 points systolic (top number) and 6 points diastolic (bottom number).
• Stress relief: Chronic stress can put you in “fight or flight” mode, which causes chronic blood pressure elevation. Learning how to reduce stress through acupuncture, exercise, yoga, meditation, etc., can make a big impact on blood pressure levels.
• Botanical medicine: There are several herbs that can help reduce hypertension. Some common botanicals are Hawthorne berry, Garlic, Ginger, Dandelion leaf and Basil. There are also studies showing the promise of various Ayurvedic and Chinese herbs having blood pressure lowering effects. Before starting any supplement, consult your doctor to avoid any potential medications interactions.
Treating hypertension is most successful when diet, exercise and other therapies are used in combination. Naturopathic Doctors are highly trained in nutrition, lifestyle changes, and botanical medicine. Consult your doctor before making any changes to your exercise routine, medications or supplements. Your Naturopathic Doctor at Arizona Natural Medicine can help you navigate through all of the available treatment options to help lower your blood pressure naturally.