Lowering Blood Pressure Without Medication?
Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is the most common cardiovascular disease, affecting up to 40% of people aged 25 to 64. Unfortunately, high blood pressure is often underestimated because symptoms may not be visible for many years.
However, if hypertension is not treated, the condition can lead to heart attack, stroke, coronary heart disease, kidney disease, and other serious problems, including an increased risk of dementia.
The cardiovascular system is made up of the heart and blood vessels. It is responsible for transporting oxygen, nutrients, and hormones to body tissues and removing cellular waste products. It is powered by the heart – the organ whose task is to pump blood around the body and thereby supply it with oxygen and nutrients.
But what does blood pressure mean? Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries when the heart pumps blood.
High blood pressure occurs when this force is too great. When measuring blood pressure values, we are interested in 2 numbers, measuring 2 different pressures.
The first, higher number is systolic pressure, the blood pressure during a heartbeat. The second, lower number is the diastolic pressure, the pressure measured during the relaxation of the heart muscle.
It is normal for blood pressure to fluctuate throughout the day. You can thus measure high blood pressure, for example, after intense physical activity or a stressful situation. However, you do not need to diagnose yourself with hypertension right away. We only discuss diagnosis when hypertension is measured in a resting situation on 2 different days.
We divide high blood pressure into primary and secondary. About 90% of hypertensives have primary and this is high blood pressure that is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle, stress, smoking, or diet.
Secondary hypertension is not so common and can be caused by disorders of the endocrine system, kidney disease, sleep apnea, etc.
Common symptoms include chest pain, confusion, headaches, tinnitus, irregular heartbeat, tiredness, blurred vision, or nosebleeds. People often do not associate them with hypertension, which is why high blood pressure is considered a “silent killer”.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is one of the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. This is a grouping of several health problems, largely caused by poor lifestyle and lack of exercise.
In addition to high blood pressure, the metabolic syndrome also includes being overweight or obese, high cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, elevated blood sugar, and impaired sugar metabolism.
- A diet high in salt and fat
- Chronic diseases such as kidney problems, diabetes, and high cholesterol.
- Family history
- Lack of physical activity
- Older age – the older you are, the more likely you are to have high blood pressure.
- Overweight or obesity – the higher your body weight, the more blood you need to supply your tissues with oxygen and nutrients. As the volume of blood circulating through your blood vessels increases, the pressure on the artery walls increases
- Smoking or excessive alcohol consumption – not only does smoking itself increase blood pressure, but the chemicals in tobacco also damage the lining of the artery walls. This results in the narrowing of the arteries and hypertension.
7 Ways to Lower Blood Pressure Naturally Without Medication
1. Go for intensive walks
Physical movement helps the heart to use oxygen more efficiently so that it does not have to work as intensively to pump blood.
Do this activity intensively for at least 30 minutes a day almost every day. Try to increase your speed or distance to get your heart pumping.
2. Eat potatoes
Potassium-rich fruits and vegetables are an important part of all types of high blood pressure treatment. Ideally, you should get 2000-4000 mg of potassium per day.
Crops that are richest in potassium and can help reduce high blood pressure include sweet potatoes, tomatoes, orange juice, bananas, kidney beans, peas, watermelon, and dried fruits such as prunes or raisins.
3. Consume salt wisely
Certain groups of people – the elderly and people with a family history of high blood pressure – are more susceptible to high blood pressure caused by salt (or sodium) consumption.
However, since there is no easy way to determine whether your blood pressure is sensitive to sodium, we should all be trying to reduce our sodium intake in general.
How much should we reduce our salt intake? If you need to get rid of high blood pressure, reduce your salt intake to 1500 mg per day. That’s about half of your normal intake (half a teaspoon of salt contains about 1,200 mg of sodium).
4. Dark chocolate is allowed!
Dark chocolate contains various types of flavanols, which contribute to greater elasticity of blood vessels and thus lower blood pressure. Treat yourself to 15 grams of chocolate containing at least 70% cocoa a day.
5. Start drinking tea
Tea also affects blood pressure. A study by scientists at Tufts University of people who drank three cups of hibiscus tea a day showed that their systolic blood pressure dropped by an average of 7 points over a 6-week period – similar results to most prescription drugs. Participants drinking only the placebo had only 1 point lower blood pressure.
The authors of the study state that the significant reduction in high blood pressure is probably due to the phytochemicals contained in hibiscus.
A large number of herbal teas contain hibiscus. When buying tea, choose blends that mention it right at the beginning of the list of ingredients – this means its higher content.
6. Relax while listening to music
According to scientists from Italy’s University of Florence, the right music can help you do this.
Researchers in Florence asked 28 adults prescribed medication for hypertension to listen to soothing classical music or Celtic or Indian melodies for 30 minutes a day and breathe deeply while doing so. After a week, these people’s systolic pressure decreased by an average of 3.2 points. A month later, it was already 4.4 points.
7. Eat soy
A study published in the journal Circulation is the first to find that replacing certain refined carbohydrates in your diet with foods rich in soy or milk protein can improve hypertension or pre-hypertension.