Age, weight gain, lack of exercise, smoking and alcohol abuse are just a few of the lifestyle factors that can subject your heart and circulatory system to tremendous strain. That, in turn, causes damage to blood vessels, sending your blood pressure soaring.
The first step to managing blood pressure is to understand what the levels means and what is considered normal, elevated, high blood pressure and hypertensive crisis.
|Category||Systolic (MM HG (Upper #))||Diastolic (MM HG (Lower #))|
|Normal||Lower than 120||Lower than 80|
|High BP (Hypertension Stage 1)||130-139||80-89|
|High BP (Hypertension Stage 2)||140 or higher||90 or higher|
|Hypertensive Crisis||Higher than 180||Higher than 120|
1. High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for having a heart stroke. It requires monitoring and, often, timely medical treatment. Make sure that you get your blood pressure checked regularly at a pharmacy or by your doctor or at home and seek medical treatment if it consistently measures 140/90 or above.
Many plants contain ingredients that can lower BP effectively, relax the muscles of your blood vessels and have a calming effect on your nervous system. With a little help from nature, it’s easy to bring slightly elevated blood pressure under control or complement conventional medical therapy if your blood pressure is very high.
To help to reduce mild high blood pressure, try the following home remedies. Consult your doctor first if you are already taking prescription medication.
- Drink lime flower or nettle tea (3 time a day).
- Other plants that help to regulate blood pressure include olive leaves, passionflower, valerian, yarrow, hawthorn, skullcap and bilberry. However, it is best to take them in a tincture form that has been prescribed for you by a qualified herbalist.
- Chew a clove of raw garlic every day or add one to salad dressings and other dishes. Raw garlic and onions contain a substance called allicin, which helps to keep blood vessels elastic, lowering blood pressure.
Note: Regular exercise is beneficial whether you have high or low blood pressure.
Nutrition for High BP
- Enjoy fresh asparagus. This vegetable acts as a natural diuretic and can lower blood pressure by removing excess salt and water from the body.
- Reduce salt consumption, as too much salt raises blood pressure. Season food with fresh herbs instead.
- Avoid alcohol, nicotine and coffee—they may increase blood pressure.
- Eat fresh, oily fish such as sardines or salmon once a week. They contain valuable fish oils that may lower blood pressure.
- Use plant oils for cooking and frying.
- Use butter or margarine sparingly, especially if you are predisposed to high blood pressure or high cholesterol.
- Cut out saturated fats, but eat plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
2. Low Blood Pressure
Fatigue and exhaustion, feeling faint or even actually fainting, especially just after getting up from a lying or sitting position, are typical symptoms of extremely low blood pressure. Make sure you get your blood pressure checked regularly by your doctor or at a pharmacy.
- Drink more. Dehydration reduces blood volume, which can lower blood pressure.
- Drink black tea; it’s a stimulant. But don’t let it steep for longer than 3–5 minutes.
- Have a shot glass of rosemary wine with a meal at midday and in the evening to help boost blood circulation. To make it, pour about 3 cups (750 ml) white wine over a heaping tablespoon (20 g) fresh rosemary leaves. Strain and bottle after 5 days.
Fatty acids in nuts can also help to reduce BP.
- Indulge a sweet tooth with licorice. Eat one small piece a day, no more than 1 tablespoon (15 g). The active ingredient in it, glycyrrhizin, can have undesirable side effects if consumed in large quantities.
- Soak 30 raisins in water overnight, they may help to regulate blood pressure. Eat the raisins in the morning and drink the water.
- Alternate hot and cold water during your morning shower. This practice has long been a tradition in some parts of Europe. It forces blood vessels to contract then expand, and helps blood pressure to return to normal. Begin with warm water. Then after 2 minutes, turn the temperature to cold for 15 seconds. Repeat the procedure three times, ending with cold water.
- Get moving. Physical activity increases blood pressure, so try a regime of light exercise such as walking, swimming or exercise program from your doctor.
- Massage may help those with high blood pressure to cope with stress. Start with a natural-bristle brush on the back of your right foot and brush your right leg up to the buttock using a circular motion, first on the outside, then the inside. Repeat on the left leg.
- Brush your buttocks, upper body and arms, again using a circular motion.
- Finally, ask your partner to massage your back using the same technique.
The health effects of green tea have been touted for 4,700 years, since Chinese emperor Shennong claimed it was useful for treating a range of ailments. The tea is rich in antioxidants that have benefits for the cardiovascular system, and drinking it regularly over the long term may help to prevent high blood pressure.
Suggested Read: 28 Traditional Herbal Remedies You Need To Know
To optimize the health benefits, use water that’s not quite boiling—about 160°F (70ºC) is ideal and allow it to brew for 5–6 minutes. Drink a few cups of this tasty and healthy beverage every day.
Regular exercise and gentle endurance sports such as cycling, Nordic walking and swimming can help both low and high blood pressure.
How to Manage and Balance Blood Pressure
- Eat Smart – Eat a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, legumes, nuts, plant-based proteins, lean animal proteins and fish. Limit sodium, saturated fats and added sugars. Limit sugary foods and drinks, fatty or processed meats, salty foods, refined carbohydrates and highly processed foods.
- Move More – Physical activity helps control blood pressure, weight and stress levels.
- Manage Weight – If you’re overweight, even a slight weight loss can reduce high blood pressure.
- Don’t Smoke – Every time you smoke, vape or use tobacco, the nicotine can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure.
- Sleep Well – Short sleep (less than 6 hours) and poor-quality sleep are associated with high blood pressure.