Manage Blood Pressure Naturally
What is hypertension?
High blood pressure, hypertension, can be life-threatening. It affects the health of the blood vessels, and the heart and can lead to heart attack and stroke. Left untreated it damages blood vessels and the elasticity of veins. Much like a balloon blown up and then deflated, blood vessels lose their resistance and elastic-memory.
The usual recommendation to reduce hypertension is a drastic reduction in salt intake, abstinence from caffeine, and a moderate, consistent exercise program, to encourage weightloss. Excess weight contributes to high blood pressure, although normal weight individuals can also have hypertension. You can manage blood pressure naturally, without medication, through simple lifestyle changes and the addition of probiotics and heart-healthy herbs and spices.
There is a continuum of blood pressure. Optimal blood pressure is 120/80 (read one twenty over eighty). Normal blood pressure is 130/85. High normal is 130-139 over 85-89. Mild hypertension – stage 1 is 140 – 159 over 90-99. Moderate hypertension 160-179 over 100-109 – stage 2. Stage 3, severe hypertension is 180/110 or higher. If you experience moderate to severe hypertension you will most likely be on several medications to control your blood pressure. Never stop taking medication cold turkey. Discuss any decrease in medication with your trusted physician or naturopath. Once your body adapts to a medication, it becomes dependent for normal function on that medication. You need to wean off medication slowly.
Some folks have the idea that they will take their prescription medication until they experience supply disruptions or until their medical plan runs out. If this is your plan, please discuss this with your naturopath and have a sensible step by step protocol worked out beforehand. To abruptly stop taking blood pressure medication can cause severe hypertension and damage your blood vessels.
My personal experience
I was having high normal blood pressure readings for several years. I haven’t ever been on blood pressure medication and didn’t set out to lower my blood pressure naturally. But it happened as a side effect of healthy lifestyle changes that I’ve been making. Besides moderate walking 3 times a week, and cutting back somewhat on eating grains and sugar, I’ve added drinking 2 bottles of kombucha daily, 4 months ago. I make my kombucha at home for pennies a bottle. In the last 2 weeks, I researched and made some weightloss capsules using common spices. Although my weight hasn’t dropped significantly in 2 weeks, my blood pressure has.
It is a common belief that high blood pressure is a lifelong disease. The pamphlet in my blood pressure monitor says:
“High blood pressure is a lifelong disease. It can be controlled but not cured. Once you begin to manage it and start a treatment program, maintaining lower blood pressure is easier. By controlling your high blood pressure, you’ll lower your risk of diseases like stroke, heart attack, heart failure, and kidney disease.” – Omron Instruction Manual
Once the blood vessels are damaged, it is believed that the damage is irreversible and that a lifetime regime of diet, exercise, and increasing doses of medication are necessary.
Natural ways for lowering blood pressure
There are a few ways to lower blood pressure naturally. I’ll mention the most common natural ways to lower blood pressure. They are all part of a healthy lifestyle.
Optimize your vitamin D
Vitamin D is synthesized from sunshine on your unprotected skin. It is need for every function of your body. Vitamin D deficiency is so common in the Canada that physicians are advised to just treat it rather than test for it. Treatment involves supplemental vitamin D3 tablets. Indoor workers often have year-round vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D helps to control blood pressure.
Exercise is usually prescribed to help control hypertension. There is a moderate increase in blood pressure during exercise. Moderate daily walking can help control blood pressure in some people.
Paleo eating plans
Reducing sugar and grains and increasing healthy fats like butter, nuts, organic lard, and coconut oil can reduce blood sugar levels, control diabetes, and control blood pressure. While some diet plans cut out all sugars and grains, in order to encourage the body to burn fat for energy, a reduction in eating sugar and grains rather than an elimination can help lower blood pressure. Replace the grains and sugars with natural, unsweetened fruit and organic vegetables.
Kombucha and/or fermented vegetables
Kombucha is a fermented drink made from sweetened tea. It has strong detoxifying, alkalinizing effects on the body, increases energy, and naturally reduces blood pressure. It also inhibits the growth of cancer cells, helps the brain think more clearly, aids digestion, and improves overall health. You can make kombucha at home for pennies a glass, using tea, organic sugar, and a kombucha starter. I drink 2 glasses of Kombucha a day and have seen an improvement in my energy levels, and my overall health.
Other fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi can also help reduce your blood pressure. These add good bacteria to your gut which helps normalize your blood sugar, decreasing insulin resistance. Insulin resistance directly affects your blood pressure.
Herbs that support your blood vessels
A side effect of my recipe for herbal weight loss capsules is normalization of blood pressure. Cayenne pepper supports blood vessels, arteries, and the heart. Ginger prevents hardening of the arteries. Turmeric supports heart health, lowers cholesterol, and it is an antioxidant. Cinnamon helps to control blood sugar levels and insulin resistance. Insulin resistance and high blood pressure go hand in hand. While the synergistic effect is to increase metabolism, reduce hunger, and burn more calories to encourage slow and steady weight loss.
Its important that the herbs are fresh and organic when you make your own herbal capsules. Buy your certified organic herbs and spices from a company that has a high turnover, to ensure that your medical herbs are as fresh as possible. If you don’t have a local source of fresh organic herbs, I recommend Rose Mountain Herbs. They are an award winning company specializing in certified organic herbs for medicinal use and have a high turnover, keeping their stocks fresh.
(For more information about making herbal capsules. Check out the cost of making herbal capsules at home.)
Add Epsom salts to your bath
Epsom salts are magnesium sulphate. Magnesium helps your blood vessels relax, increasing the flow of blood to your heart and muscles and normalizing blood pressure. Magnesium is best absorbed through the skin, as oral supplementation can lead to diarrhea and stomach upset. Magnesium also reduces inflammation in the body and reduces muscle and joint pain.
Monitor and document your results
Before you start on a natural approach to managing your blood pressure, get a blood pressure monitor that you can use at home. You can get a digital model for around $50, and have the tools that you need to determine if the changes you are making are having the effect that you hope for. There are easy to follow instructions with the blood pressure monitor, so even if you have no medical background you can take your own blood pressure at home, where you feel comfortable and relaxed.
Take your blood pressure when you first get up in the morning and then several times during the day, after you have been sitting for at least 15 minutes. It’s normal for blood pressure to fluctuate during the day. It’s also normal for blood pressure to rise during stress, including the stress of going to the doctor to have your blood pressure checked. Your blood pressure will also rise after eating a meal that spikes your blood sugar levels. Blood pressure and blood sugar levels are connected. During exercise, blood pressure also rises.
Get a baseline of where your blood pressure is today, so that you can tell if your natural approach is working for you. Expect any natural treatment to take some time before you see results. Make sure you discuss these results with you naturopath or doctor.
This is the blood pressure monitor that I use.
Omron HEM-780 Automatic Blood Pressure Monitor with ComFit Cuff
There is also a simpler to use wrist blood pressure monitor:
Omron 7 Series Wrist Blood Pressure Monitor
Let me know, if you try any of these natural treatments, how it works for you. Post a comment on my Facebook page.
These suggestions do not take the place of your personal consultation with your personal health care provider.