Hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, plagues a large portion of Americans. Approximately 85 million individuals in the U.S. struggle with hypertension. The increase in recent decades likely comes as a result of the growth of the processed food industry, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
While hypertension itself can seem rather innocuous, as it simply indicates extra force being exerted by the blood against blood vessel walls, this is far from the case. Hypertension can lead to a variety of devastating complications, including heart disease and stroke. Consequently, addressing hypertension before it leads to more serious issues should be of paramount concern to those dealing with it. Often, natural remedies for hypertension can have the largest effects.
Hypertension natural treatment through weight loss
Blood pressure directly correlates to weight. This is particularly true considering that obesity often disrupts breathing during sleep, which causes a further uptick in blood pressure.
Luckily, even a small reduction in body mass can have dramatic results in blood pressure. With every two pounds an individual loses, his or her blood pressure usually drops about 1 mm Hg. Normal blood pressure is usually around 120 over 80 mm Hg, while hypertension is classified as 130 over 80 mm Hg. Thus, the loss of even a little weight can have a dramatic impact.
One of the best ways to lose weight is through exercise, as exercise itself reduces blood pressure. Routine physical activity of about 30 minutes a day can lower blood pressure by 5 to 8 mm Hg, according to the Mayo Clinic. However, focusing on exercise should be a permanent effort. Stopping helpful lifestyle changes such as exercise will usually lead to elevated blood pressure once again.
Combating hypertension through dietary changes
Eating a healthy diet focused on vegetables, fruits, and whole grains—with minimal levels of saturated fat—usually yields significant effects on blood pressure. This plan is commonly known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, and it can lower blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg.
Perhaps one of the most important dietary changes comes in the form of reduced sodium. Because processed foods utilize such a high degree of sodium, elimination of these items can provide the best results.
Minimizing the consumption of alcohol and caffeine often produces a significant reduction in high blood pressure as well. Consuming alcohol in more than moderate quantities can raise blood pressure a few points. The effects of caffeine on blood pressure vary depending on the individual, but the reduction of coffee and other caffeinated beverages usually provides some benefit.
Ultimately, natural remedies for hypertension abound. These changes often lend themselves to optimal health regardless of blood pressure levels, indicating their adoption would be beneficial for a variety of reasons.