Thursday, October 3, 2013

Food Remedies for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure (or hypertension) is a condition in which blood pressure is chronically elevated. According to the National Institutes of Health, blood pressure readings of 140/90 mmHg and higher on recurring measurements is considered hypertension.
Persistent hypertension is one of the highest risk factors for:
  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Heart failure
  • Arterial aneurysm
For each 10 mm Hg increase in systolic pressure (the top number), odds of an ischemic stroke go up 28%, and 38% for a hemorrhagic, or bleedingstroke [1].  Hypertension is also the leading cause of chronic kidney failure[3]


Food Remedies

  • Beet Juice
    • Beet juice can help lower blood pressure. 
    • Research published in the American Heart Association journal Hypertension showed drinking 500 ml of beet root juice a day led to a reduction in blood pressure within one hour. 
      • The reduction was more pronounced after three to four hours, and was measurable up to 24 hours after drinking the juice.
  • Oat
    • More recently, two intervention trials found that increasing fiber intake from oat cereals or oat bran resulted in modest but significant reductions in blood pressure compared to low-fiber placebos.
  • Orange
    • The most important flavanone in oranges, hesperidin has been shown to lower high blood pressure as well as cholesterol in animal studies, and to have strong anti-inflammatory properties. 
    • What is important is that most of this phytonutrient is found in the peel and inner white pulp of the orange, rather than in its liquid orange center. 
  • Olive Oil
    • A study conducted in Greece indicated that olive oil lowers blood pressure [2].
  • Dark Chocolate
    • Eating an ounce of flavanol-rich dark chocolate can increase the level of nitrous oxide in the blood, which helps keep the vascular system supple and can reduce blood pressure [2].
  • Pomegranate
    • Pomegranates contain 2 to 3 times more antioxidants than red wine and green. Consuming them may help lower blood pressure [1].
  • Green Tea
    • Drinking green tea is associated with lower blood pressure [2].
  • Banana
    • A diet that includes natural sources of potassium is important in controlling blood pressure because potassium lessens the effects of sodium. 
    • Bananas have excellent levels of potassium (higher than most other fruits and nuts).
      • Other potassium rich foods include:
        • Spinachasparaguspapayakiwitomato, and potato
    • High blood pressure patients should by all means avoid constipation[4].
      • A medium banana contains 3.1 grams of fiber, including 1 gram of soluble fiber[6].
    • Note that hypertension can cause kidney problems.  Depending on your stage of kidney disease, you need to limit the intake of potassium and phosphorus.
  • Herbs and Spices
    • The following herbs and spices can help increase circulation
      • Cayenne aids the body to balance pressure levels and resist abnormal bleeding
      • Ginger enhances circulation
      • Garlic aids in circulation and lowers blood pressure
      • Cinnamon increases circulation, especially in arthritic joints
      • Turmeric increases blood flow

Warnings

Do not stop your blood pressure medication on your own. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your treatment plan. It's also wise to consult with your physician before adopting any of the recommendations made in this article.

References

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