Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a dangerous condition which occurs when the force of the blood is too high for your blood vessels to hold. According to statistics, the disease affects 70 million Americans, which accounts for every 1 out of 3 adults. Hypertension is not a simple problem – if left untreated on time, it raises the risk of fatal cardiovascular diseases.
People with high blood pressure often experience no symptoms at all, which is why the majority of sufferers are not aware of the condition. There are many medications that can help against high blood pressure, but they are a temporary solution which doesn’t treat the underlying cause. Many experts claim that the best way of resolving the problem is leading a healthy lifestyle and eating a healthy diet, and we must agree with that view.
Annually, the USA spends $46 billion on the treatment of hypertension. The standard treatment includes diuretics, beta-blockers, ACE inhibitor drugs and reducing the amount of salt in the diet. These treatments are sometimes effective, but they usually come with a host of adverse side-effects and rarely treat the underlying problem.
The measurement of blood pressure shows two values – systolic and diastolic pressure. Here are the ranges of blood pressure:
Normal: Lower than 120/80
Stage 1 high blood pressure: 140–159/90–99
Stage 2 high blood pressure: 160 and above/100 and above
In most cases, high blood pressure doesn’t cause any symptoms, but many people report confusion, headaches, irregular heartbeat, chest pain, ear noise, fatigue and nosebleeds. Controlling your blood pressure and reacting on time are vital for prevention of further problems. If left untreated, hypertension can shorten your longevity by 5 years if you are over 50.
More than 360 000 people died in the USA from hypertension in 2013, which equals about 1000 deaths a day. As you can see, high blood pressure is a severe health problem which requires a serious treatment. Hypertension can raise the risk of chronic heart failure, eye problems, metabolic syndrome, first heart attack and stroke, aneurysm and memory problems.
Low blood pressure
The aging process and numerous other factors can lead to either high or low blood pressure. Both conditions are equally dangerous and require serious treatment. Just like high blood pressure, low blood pressure doesn’t cause any symptoms. The condition usually occurs if you stand up from a lying position suddenly or if you’re standing for a prolonged period. When this occurs, the brain is deprived of proper blood supply, which can cause dizziness. The condition affects more than 15% of people over 65 and should be treated on time. Although low blood pressure doesn’t cause any specific symptoms, people have reported dizziness, cold and pale skin, nausea, fainting, blurred vision, lethargy, rapid breathing and fatigue.
Low blood pressure is usually caused by endocrine problems, neutrally mediated hypotension, infections, allergic reactions, pregnancy, some medications, a decrease in blood volume and nutritional deficiencies.
Diet for high blood pressure
As 2/3 of the population are suffering from it, high blood pressure is a serious health problem that needs to be avoided. Here are the foods you should avoid if you’re suffering from high blood pressure:
According to studies, consuming sugar often is even more dangerous for your health than consuming salt frequently.
Trans fats and omega-6 fats
Both types of fat can be found in processed meat and can raise the inflammation in your body, effectively causing high blood pressure.
Drinking big amounts of alcohol will narrow down your arteries and increase your blood pressure. This is why you should stick to the recommended amount of alcohol – 1 drink over 65, and 2 drinks if you’re younger than 65.
Foods rich in sodium
Avoid consuming foods rich in sodium such as canned and processed food.
Caffeine can be found in coffee, energy drinks and soda cans and is highly dangerous in bigger amounts. Caffeine can raise your blood pressure significantly, so make sure to consume it moderately.
Here are some foods that can reduce your blood pressure:
A Mediterranean diet
The Mediterranean diet is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which are great for your cardiovascular health. It includes olive oil, fresh fruit and vegetables, fish as well as olives.
Omega-3 rich foods
Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids can reduce your blood pressure. In order to do this and treat inflammation, add flaxseeds, grass-fed beef and wild salmon in your daily diet.
Foods rich in fiber
Fresh vegetables, beans and seeds contain a lot of fiber which will keep your blood vessels clean and regulate your blood pressure.
Foods rich in potassium
The American Heart Association suggests that a diet rich in potassium can control your blood pressure and negate the effects of sodium on your blood vessels.
White tea can improve the function of your blood vessels and thin the blood. This will result in decreased blood pressure, which is why we recommend drinking at least a couple cups of white tea a day.
Eating a bar of dark chocolate with a minimum of 200 mg. of cocoa can regulate your blood pressure immediately.
Apple cider vinegar
ACV contains a lot of potassium which will regulate your blood pressure.
Besides these foods, there are many supplements which can treat high blood pressure. Here are the best of them:
- Magnesium supplements
Magnesium is a mineral which can reduce your blood pressure and relax your blood vessels. Consider taking 500 mg. of magnesium supplements daily.
- Coenzyme Q10
This is a powerful antioxidant that promotes heart health and should be taken if you’re on cholesterol or blood pressure-lowering drugs. Take 200-300 mg. of coenzyme Q10 supplements every day to control your blood pressure.
- Fish oil
Fish oil is rich in EPA and DHA forms of omega-3 fatty acids, which can relieve inflammation and promote cardiovascular health. Consuming fish oil regularly will normalize your blood pressure and lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases.
Garlic is a natural vasodilator that can stimulate production of nitric oxide and dilate your blood vessels. You can eat garlic raw or take it as a supplement. According to a 2016 study, garlic can lower the peripheral and central blood pressure in people with high blood pressure and will also reduce inflammation in your arteries.
Cocoa contains a lot of flavonoids which can improve your blood flow and control your blood pressure.
Here are some of the best natural ways of treating high blood pressure:
Essential oils can reduce the oxidative stress and dilate the arteries, which will result in improved blood flow and lower blood pressure. Lavender, neroli, ylang, clary sage, frankincense and sweet marjoram are considered the best essential oils for reducing blood pressure. To use them, just add a couple of drops to your lotion or in a diffuser.
Stress increases blood pressure, so reducing it with meditation, yoga or other techniques will also regulate your blood pressure.
Exercising can help you reduce your blood pressure and will also burn a lot of fat, effectively decreasing the risk of numerous cardiovascular problems.
High blood pressure mostly affects adults, but it can also affect children. Children suffer from hypertension as a result of kidney or heart problems, unhealthy lifestyle and physical inactivity. Most of the risk factors for high blood pressure can and should be controlled.