Shortness of breath, a warm flush to the face—is it love? It might actually be one of the few symptoms of hypertension, or high blood pressure. According to the American Heart Association, hypertension usually does not reveal any symptoms, but it does cause long-term effects, such as cardiovascular disease. Stage One high blood pressure is identified by two different ranges: systolic and diastolic. A systolic range of 140 – 159 mm Hg or a diastolic range of 90 – 99 is considered to be high and as those ranges increase so do serious health risks for people with hypertension. Simple lifestyle changes and natural remedies can be adopted to reduce risks associated with hypertension.
Myth busted: red wine does not actually lower blood pressure. However, dark chocolate with at least 60% cocoa has actually been proven to reduce hypertension when consumed daily. According to the National Center for Biotechnological Information (NCIB), dark chocolate made from cocoa powder contains flavonoid constituents or properties from plants that provide antioxidants and reduce hypertension.
Water is Life
Drinking plenty of water is important to keep the body hydrated. Water is needed for all tissues, blood vessels and organs to function. Dehydration due to not enough water or too much coffee and alcohol will only increase blood pressure. The more constricted or dehydrated the blood vessels are, the more difficult it is to carry vital nutrients throughout the body and oxygen to the heart. Hydration is key to lowering blood pressure and is readily available in the United States.
Livestrong experts suggest natural diuretics like cranberries, lemon, or watermelon to flush water and expel extra fluids from the body. Bananas, which are rich in potassium, can help combat the effects of sodium on hypertension by helping with regular muscle function. Drinking coconut water or pomegranate juice also has the same effect, according to Everyday Roots.
Garlic Fights Foes
Not only does garlic banish vampires. It helps the flow of blood in the arteries. According to an article published by the NCIB, garlic is hypotensive (hypo = low), or in other words, it increases nitric oxide production. Nitric oxide relaxes the muscles and stimulates vasodilation, meaning it expands the vessels bringing blood to and from the heart which prevents build-up from clogging up the arteries.
Cinnamon The Ultimate Spice
Cinnamon is a natural anti-inflammatory, but it also increases blood flow. It can be used to add flavor to most dishes, especially breakfast foods. Cinnamon is also good taken with coffee or tea. Unfermented or partially fermented teas, such as green tea and Oolong tea have been known to decrease risk of hypertension, cites the NCIB.
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Ginger is a root or tuber that works similarly to cinnamon. Ginger is often used in tea or as a spice, though more rarely than cinnamon. The effect of ginger balances the circulatory system by relaxing the muscles (including the heart) and improving blood circulation, as stated by the NCIB. However, results in recent studies have been inconclusive, suggesting that more research would have to be done to prove its significance.
Raw Vegetables and Fatty Acids Lead to an Enriching Diet
Believe it or not, the NCIB article also lists celery, carrots, beets, radishes and tomatoes as natural remedies for hypertension. Eating a Mediterranean diet, one filled with vitamin C, E and Omega-3, will reduce blood pressure by decreasing inflammation in the body. When in doubt, fish over red meat.
According to the American Heart Association, almost one-third of US adults have high blood pressure. A few simple changes to your diet could put you in the clear. Don’t take chances with hypertension. If you are still experiencing symptoms of high blood pressure, seek the help of a physician.
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