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How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medication

August 22nd, 2009

blood-pressure-reduce.jpgIf foods we eat and certain lifestyle activities can cause elevated blood pressure, then it makes sense that by correcting our eating habits and making changes to our lifestyle we can lower blood pressure. There are several things anyone can do to help control their blood pressure without drugs, or to lower it enough so that a medication dosage can be scaled back. Diet is certainly a contributing factor.

  1. The relationship between a high sodium diet and hypertension is well documented; however, only about 40% of people are truly salt sensitive. There is some controversy over the importance of salt, but when we look at the fact that most Americans consume up to 50 times the recommended limit of daily salt intake, it is clear that reducing the level of salt in the diet can be a healthy change for anyone.

  2. The easiest way to limit salt intake is to eat fresh fruits and vegetables as much as possible. Processed and prepared foods are extremely high in sodium, as are most restaurant foods.
  3. Potassium levels must be in balance with sodium, and if sodium is decreased, potassium must be increased. Bananas are a popular rich source of potassium. A diet that includes lots of fresh fruits and vegetables will also provide plenty of potassium. Instead of high sodium table salt, you can seek out a potassium chloride salt substitute.
  4. Garlic has been shown to be effective in lowering blood pressure. As little as one clove of garlic a day can cause a significant drop in blood pressure, with the added benefit of lowering cholesterol and improving overall circulatory system health. Powdered garlic is available in an easy-to-take capsule.
  5. Onion has similar benefits to garlic, and should be added to recipes whenever possible.
  6. Celery has been used for centuries in Asia to reduce blood pressure. Eating 4 or 5 stalks a day can cause significant improvement.
  7. Tomatoes, broccoli, and carrots also contain compounds that reduce blood pressure. Add these to your diet regularly.
  8. Use spices and herbs such as fennel, oregano, black pepper, basil, and tarragon to replace salt in your cooking. They will add flavor, and they also contain substances that will help lower blood pressure.
  9. Eat whole grain foods and avoid processed white flour products. Eat more fish and poultry, and less red meat. Enjoy sweets sparingly.

Lifestyle changes that become permanent will have lifelong effects. The earlier these changes are made, the longer and healthier life will be.

  1. Exercise. Something as simple as walking for 30 minutes three to four times a week will help lower blood pressure and improve overall health.
  2. Reduce stress. Try meditation or join a yoga class. Hypnosis and self-hypnosis can also be valuable methods to learn to deal with unavoidable stress. Controlled breathing techniques are also effective. Stress management is important for lowering blood pressure while improving productivity.
  3. Aromatherapy can be helpful in treating stress and hypertension. Essential oils of lavender and chamomile were found to provide the most effective relaxation, which reduced high blood pressure in studies at Yale. Other essential oils that helped reduce blood pressure are orange, lemon, geranium, clary sage, and marjoram. Oils can be used with massage, in a room diffuser, or dotted on the pillow to enhance relaxation and relieve stress.
  4. Music therapy can work in tandem with controlled breathing to reduce high blood pressure. Music therapy uses music that the patient chooses to relax to and focuses on rhythmic intervals and controlled pauses. Controlled breathing concentrates on even, deep breathing with controlled pauses, and the two techniques can enhance each other.
  5. The FDA recently approved a device known as ResPerate, which is a controlled breathing device. As you listen to the musical tones the unit programs just for you, a soothing voice leads you through a 15 minute guided breathing session. The object is to lower your respiration to fewer than 10 breaths per minute for 15 minutes. By doing this 3-4 times a week, studies have shown that blood pressure is significantly reduced. The device works because controlled, slow, deep breathing allows the muscles around the blood vessels to relax so the blood vessels can dilate, which allows blood to flow freely. Results of studies about the use of such blood pressure reduction devices were published in the American Journal of Hypertension.
  6. Relax in a warm bath with 1 cup of Epsom salts added to a standard size tub. Soak in the bath for 12–15 minutes, and do this 3–4 times a week. Soap will prevent skin from absorbing the compounds, so wash after your soak. Epsom salt is magnesium sulfate, which is absorbed through the skin. This replaces the necessary mineral, magnesium, which helps lower blood pressure. Regular use of Epsom salt promotes a healthy circulatory system, calms nerves, reduces edema (swelling), and relaxes muscles. The sulfates help the body form brain tissue, joint proteins, digestive proteins and enzymes, and help the body detoxify residues of medications and environmental toxins. Variations of the bathtub soaking technique are known as flotation therapy and can be a good way to reduce blood pressure and stress.

Beeline Buzz has been writing for several years on various topics including living green, home and family, organic gardening, and history. She works in professional antique quilt restoration and keeps large vegetable, herb, and flower gardens.

One Response to “How to Lower Your Blood Pressure Without Medication”

  1. comment number 1 by: Lifestyle

    Continue to take your full dose of sulfonylurea pills when you are not going to eat your usual amount of food.

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