Natural Ways to Control Blood Pressure
Author: ANCP Date Posted:26 May 2016
Your blood pressure is an indication of how much pressure your blood is exerting against your arteries as your heart circulates it around your body. Along with other factors such as your cholesterol levels, body weight and smoking status, your blood pressure is one of the measures your healthcare professional takes into account when assessing your cardiovascular health.
Blood pressure problems aren't always associated with any obvious symptoms, but that doesn't mean they’re not important – consistently high blood pressure (also known as hypertension) may increase your risk of developing several serious health problems. So, what does it take to keep your blood pressure on an even keel? Following the tips below is a great start!
Reduce Your Salt Intake:
Consuming large amounts of salt may increase your blood pressure and on the other hand, reducing the amount of it you eat may help to keep your blood pressure within the healthy range. Even if you don’t add it to your meals, you might be surprised to learn how quickly the salt in your diet adds up – especially if you routinely consume store-bought sauces, soups, crackers and chips. Foods like these are the reason that many Australians have sodium intakes far above the 1-1½ teaspoon maximum that health authorities like the National Heart Foundation recommend.
Try and replace them with home-made varieties or low-salt alternatives.
Eat plenty of Fruit & Vegetables
Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables is associated with a better blood pressure profile, so make sure you consume or exceed the five serves of veggies and two serves of fruit your body needs every day. The heart-protecting effects of fruit and vegetables are believed to be due at least in part to their potassium content, which helps to balance sodium in the body. The many other nutrients and antioxidants they contain may also contribute.
Maintain a Healthy Body Weight & Regularly Exercise
Being overweight, sedentary, or both increases your risk of heart disease and other chronic health problems such as diabetes, so aim to engage in moderate exercise for at least half an hour, four or more days per week. How will you know when you’re at a healthy body weight? For Caucasian males, your goal is for your waist to measure less than 94 centimetres. For men of asian descent the goal is less than 90 centimetres and less than 80 centimetres for women.
Cut out the cigarettes!
Smoking affects cardiovascular health in numerous ways, including reducing the elasticity of the arteries, promoting platelet aggregation (which may result in thickening of the blood, and ultimately clots) and increasing free radical activity. The nicotine and other chemicals contained in cigarette smoke may also contribute to blood pressure issues by constricting the arteries.
Don’t drink too much:
Excess alcohol can contribute to blood pressure problems; if you’re a drinker, stick to a maximum of two standard servings per day if you’re a man, or one serving per day if you’re a woman. When you do drink, red wine is a good choice as it contains plenty of antioxidants, some of which have special benefits for the cardiovascular system – but don’t use that as an excuse to overdo it, because binge drinking has particularly negative effects on blood pressure.
Herbs & Supplements to Provide Extra Support:
There are many nutrients and herbal medicines that help support your cardiovascular health. If you’re looking to help maintain healthy blood pressure, you may want to consider a supplement such as olive leaf which may help to support normal blood pressure and cardiovascular health in healthy individuals.
Other important nutrients for heart health are omega-3 fatty acids from Fish Oil or Krill Oil, Coenzyme Q10, vitamin K2 and Hawthorn. These diet and lifestyle tips are intended for healthy people to help them maintain normal blood pressure levels. If you have a cardiovascular disorder, do not take supplements or change your diet or exercise routine unless advised to do so and supervised by your healthcare professional. To do so may interfere with your medication requirements.
If you are concerned about your cardiovascular health or blood pressure, seek medical attention.