It is well known that high blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart disease. It increases the risk of other conditions too. Such as stroke, vascular dementia and chronic kidney disease. If you know that your blood pressure is high you can do something about it. Having your blood pressure checked takes just a minute or so. Yet in the UK, more than 5 million adults may be unaware their blood pressure is too high.
Some people with high blood pressure may need prescription medication. But, natural remedies can prevent or even reverse high blood pressure in some people. Research confirms that herbal remedies and some simple dietary changes can help.
Omega-3 polyunsaturated fats are the sort of fats in fatty fish. They reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. If you increase the amount of fatty fish you eat to 500g per week you can reduce your risk of heart disease. Fatty fish include salmon, tuna, mackerel, trout and herring.
Yet, recent studies show that avoiding sugar may be more important than changing the fat in your diet. Sugar consumption increases the risk of high blood pressure. What’s more, switching to artificial sweeteners may not be the answer. Studies show consuming artifically sweetened drinks is not a healthy choice. These sweeteners are just as likely to cause high blood pressure as sugar.
A better option is to eat more vegetables. Choose vegetables high in nitrates, such as beetroot, spinach, lettuce, rocket and celeriac. The body converts nitrates into nitric oxide. We know this chemical dilates blood vessels and lowers blood pressure naturally. Part of the conversion from nitrates to nitric oxide is due to the good bacteria found in the mouth. And studies show that regular use of mouthwash can increase blood pressure. Even if only by a small amount.
Garlic is one of the most researched herbs. Its health benefits are well known. Garlic is one of the most popular herbs used for blood pressure control. It offers a safe and effective approach to reducing blood pressure. An effect noticed more in people with existing high blood pressure. Its impact is likely to be modest but significant.
Green tea lowers blood pressure in people with moderate and high blood pressure. Several meta-analysis studies confirm that the effect is small but significant. Green tea consumption also reduces both total and LDL cholesterol levels.
Hibiscus tea, though less well known also reduces blood pressure. A 2015 meta-analysis showed hibiscus tea reduced both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. The effect was significant though researchers suggested further trials were necessary.
Hawthorn is a traditional remedy for heart problems. The berries, leaves and flowers provide a slow acting tonic for the heart. It lowers blood pressure but increases the force of heart contraction.
It’s not that any one of these changes alone would be enough to bring high blood pressure down to a safe level. But together their effects can add up. Perhaps with the addition of some stress management techniques and some regular physical exercise.