High blood pressure can be hereditary, or it can be caused by poor diet and lifestyle. In conventional medicine, high blood pressure is generally controlled by prescription medication. However, from a holistic perspective you can use many natural treatments to not only control, but reverse high blood pressure.
You should be aware that the holistic approach involves more than simply taking an herb. Herbs often provide safe alternatives to prescription medication, but they still only address one aspect of the problem, the high blood pressure itself. True, natural healing comes from a healthy diet, exercise plan and supplementation when needed.
Although natural therapies are valuable and effective, they should not replace conventional treatment. Be sure and talk to your doctor and let him or her know your interest in approaching your high blood pressure naturally. Share this article and other information you find with them. Never discontinue prescription medications without first consulting your physician.
Adopting a healthy diet is one of the most important things you can do for your heart. A variety of wholesome food will provide all the nutrients your body needs to function properly. According to USDA guidelines, adults should eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables, 1 to 2 cups of fruit, 6 to 8 ounces of grains (half of which are whole grain), 5 to 6 ounces of protein foods, and up to 3 cups of dairy products each day.
Clearly, variety is important in a healthy diet, but so is good judgment. Do not over eat, and strive to maintain a healthy weight. Avoid excess salt, sugar, caffeine, alcohol and other harmful substances. Those with high blood pressure should especially limit their sodium intake to 1,500 mg per day. Instead, eat fresh foods, such as fruits and vegetables, as well as fiber-rich foods like whole grains, beans and legumes.
Exercise not only helps prevent weight gain, but helps strengthen the cardiovascular system as well. Most experts agree that adults need some form of exercise each day. Work toward getting at least 2 hours of moderate to vigorous exercise each week.
Try aerobic-type exercises to keep the heart strong, such as – jogging, biking, hiking, swimming, aerobics classes, tennis and other sports, even a brisk walk. Find some form of exercise that you enjoy and stick with it. Let it become a part of your new heart-healthy lifestyle.
While exercise and other activities are important to heart health, so is relaxation. Certain relaxation techniques such as meditation have been shown to help lower blood pressure naturally. Try the following relaxation exercise, 20 minutes per day:
Begin by sitting up comfortably in a chair. Turn off all televisions, radios, phones, etc. Make sure you will be undisturbed during your meditation. Close your eyes and begin to breathe deeply. Allow your whole body to fill with breath as you inhale, and completely relax as you exhale. Clear your mind of any thoughts or worries.
Think of a place or time when you felt completely relaxed. Perhaps it was while lying on a beach, listening to the sound of the waves, or fishing on a lake or river, surrounded only by the sounds of nature.
Recreate this moment in your mind. Remember the sounds, smells and how you felt. Focus on this thought for up to 20 minutes. Remember to continue to breathe deeply throughout the session.
Herbs are plants that can be used as food, medicine, or both. Some herbs are known to be beneficial to the heart. The two most common herbs for high blood pressure and heart disease are garlic and hawthorn berry.
Garlic has been shown in studies to help lower blood pressure and even help dissolve cholesterol in the blood. Evidence suggests that it can prevent heart disease because it slows the progression of atherosclerosis, or the hardening of the arteries. It can be eaten fresh, or taken in capsule or tablet form. The recommended dose is 600 to 1,200 mg per day.
Hawthorn berry is another herb that has traditionally been used to treat heart disease and high blood pressure. Scientific studies show that it improves circulation and lowers blood pressure naturally. The University of Maryland Medical Center cites one study which showed that hawthorn berry not only helped lower blood pressure, but helped patients decrease the amount of prescription medication they were taking. Talk to your doctor about the appropriate dose for you.
Another important supplement in the fight against high blood pressure and heart disease is Co-enzyme Q10. CoQ10, as it is abbreviated, is a vitamin-like substance found in the body. It is found in highest concentration in organs such as the heart and liver.
Studies show that supplemental CoQ10 may help lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension. In one study, patients who took 60 mg of CoQ10, twice per day, showed a significant reduction in systolic blood pressure. CoQ10 can be found in the vitamin isle of your local supermarket or drug store.
1. USDA http://www.Choosemyplate.gov
2. American Heart Association – http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/Diet-and-Lifestyle-Recommendations_UCM_305855_Article.jsp#.TrMNDENkbA8
3. AlternativeMedicine.about.com – http://altmedicine.about.com/cs/herbsvitaminsek/a/Hypertension.htm
4. University of Maryland Medical Center; herbs – http://www.umm.edu/altmed/