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How To lower Your Blood Pressure Naturally
In today’s modern world where there are increasing pressures on everybody; we are beset with numerous ailments. Expenses are mounting, needs are expanding, the pressure of the work place is no longer limited to working hours, the usual family support system is no longer in place, the economy is unstable – all this leaves you with a lot of stress.
Add to this irregular meal times, poor food habits and a sedentary lifestyle. All this has leads to many people – some of them shockingly young being diagnosed with Blood pressure. In the earlier days there was a slight comfort in knowing women were largely not affected by hypertension until an advanced age. This is no longer true.
As more and more people are being diagnosed with this disease this has given rise to search for holistic ways to cope with this ailment. In this age of Internet it is indeed possible for us to find alternate ways to cope with hypertension or blood pressure as it is commonly called.
However I would like to insert a note of caution with regard to researching on the Internet. Though Internet can prove to be a useful store of knowledge it is important to acknowledge that we may not be 100% equipped to understand what essentially took a healthcare professional years to master.
The depth of details and knowledge to be found in the Internet can sometimes be misunderstood and misinterpreted with scary results. The prudent step to be taken in such a situation is to consult a trusted doctor about the proper medication for this condition.
However having said that one should realize that hypertension or blood pressure is not a run of the mill disease that can be cured by taking the prescribed medication. It is a lifestyle disease and needs to be dealt with by making changes in your lifestyle.
Here are some ways to help you lower your blood pressure naturally.
- Increase physical activity: Exercise in the form of walking, cycling, swimming, etc is an essential part of coping with hypertension. Before starting your exercise program have a discussion with your doctor regarding the suitability of the exercise you are going to undertake in terms of your age, weight etc. For example: If you are overweight and above 40 years it would be better to start your exercise regime with walking rather than jogging till such time you are fit enough. Another useful tip for starting an exercise regime is to pick something you enjoy so that you can sustain the activity for a longer time.
- Cut down salt intake: This is a well-known remedy for blood pressure. But a word of caution here. – Do not go to extremes. As a well respected physician told me salt is an essential part of Indians’ diet as our climate makes us sweat more and this makes us lose more salt as opposed to westerners who tend to sweat less and urinate more making them lose less salt. One smart move that patients with blood pressure can do to avoid excess salt intake is cut down on preserved foods like pickles, papads etc as these items have concentrated levels of salt for the purpose of preservation. As you limit your salt intake you will find that you enjoy your food more and are aware of different flavors and tastes
- Add more raw vegetables in your diet: Adding raw vegetables, salads etc are a sensible option to control blood pressure and lose weight. Along with salads and green vegetables, make sure you are eating a balanced meal that also contains other nutrients like carbohydrates (pick carbohydrates with fiber in them like whole wheat, unpolished or brown rice, jowar, bajra, maize etc) proteins (dals and legumes) and low fat dairy products.
- Increase water intake: Make a conscious effort to drink as much as 2-4 liters of water per day as this helps in controlling your blood pressure. However do not substitute other beverages like cola, juice, coffee, tea etc as part of your liquid intake
- Avoid animal fats and restrict alcohol intake: As blood pressure can lead to other complications like heart problems and kidney failure it is important to restrict the consumption of animal fats like ghee and red meats. However consumption of steamed and grilled certain type of fishes, white meat (chicken without skin) cooked with less salt and fats can be consumed. The consumption of alcohol can interfere with the efficacy of the blood pressure medication; hence moderate consumption is advised. Hard drinks with more alcohol content like whisky, rum etc should be substituted with red wine, beer in limited quantities and can be indulged in, on rare occasions.
- Stress busters: In many cases blood pressure could be the manifestation of psychological or mental issues. Apart from medication, diet and exercise it is also important to take a holistic approach towards managing hypertension. Ensure that you consciously develop the habit of compartmentalizing your life so as to not let the pressures of your home life affect your work life and vice versa. Indulge in a pleasurable activity for a short time everyday; it could be something as simple as reading a book, listening to music or watching a program, learning to dance/ sing etc to help you relax mind and body. Postpone your reaction to unpleasant situations by 30-45 seconds. Learn to forgive and let go of grudges.
- Take up yoga/ tai chi etc: Another factor that helps a lot in managing blood pressure is learning and practicing exercises that include mind and body like yoga, tai chi etc.
- Get enough sleep: Sleep is often an overlooked factor in the process of managing lifestyle diseases. It is important to get good quality sleep every night, Depending on your age, personality and lifestyle, an average adult requires 5-8 hours of sleep a night.
- Keep a pet or take up gardening: Depending on your economic position, home status and your preferences you could keep a pet (bird/ animal/ fish) or take up gardening as this is known to have a calming influence on you which will help you control your blood pressure. In conclusion I would like to say that Hypertension or Blood pressure could be the result of physiological or psychological factors and sometimes a combination of both. Therefore it is important to take a holistic approach that addresses all these factors while managing the care of such conditions.
- Tips and warnings: Please note that this is just a general guide to help control blood pressure and should not be taken as a substitute for proper treatment and medication from a medical practitioner.
Photo Credit: Worldhealth.net