When testing times like a global pandemic surface, it is only natural to feel overwhelmed. And because we are limited to the confines of our home, it becomes stressful for us. People find it depressing to remain inside all the time and not be able to experience the great outdoors. The added stress leads to a plethora of subsequent issues that take a toll on our health.
High Blood Pressure or Hypertension is one of the main problems that people face in such circumstances. If not managed timely, it can become life-threatening. Due to the current lockdown, there is not much access to medical centers, so it is essential to know how to lower and control high blood pressure levels using home remedies.
What Is the Normal Range of Blood Pressure?
When you record the readings at home, it is vital to know the average values to identify any deviation in those readings.
Normal: Lower than 120/80 mm Hg.
Elevated: 120-129/less than 80 mm Hg.
Stage 1 high blood pressure: 130-139/80-89 mm Hg.
Stage 2 high blood pressure: 140 and above/90 and above.
Hypertension crisis: higher than 180/higher than 120 (seek medical assistance immediately).
The top reading is the systole, while the bottom reading is the diastole. These are terms used to describe the contraction and relaxation of the heart muscles.
- During the systole, heart muscles contract and blood is forced out of the heart and into the circulatory system. Blood pressure increases during this stage.
- During the diastole, heart muscles relax, and heart chambers fill up with blood. Blood pressure decreases during this stage.
What Are the Causes of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)?
There are various causes that contribute to high blood pressure:
Nicotine is the primary ingredient in cigarette smoke, which raises your blood pressure. It causes narrowing of the artery walls along with disruption to its lining. Smoking puts additional stress on your heart and makes blood more prone to forming clots. This also includes passive smoking.
According to a study, smoking increases the chance of developing atherosclerosis, which is the deposition of fat in your artery walls. This impedes blood flow and puts you at a higher risk of a heart attack.
Being obese means that your blood needs to supply more oxygen to your tissues according to the increase in requirement. The increased volume of blood puts excess pressure on the artery walls.
It also raises the risk of atherosclerosis due to the rise in triglycerides, a lipid component of blood.
Having a surplus of a caloric diet leads to spiked levels of the hormone norepinephrine in our bloodstream. This causes an increase in the activity of our sympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for the fight or flight response. Hence, the force of muscular contractions increases, which becomes a precursor for Hypertension.
People who have high blood pressure running in their family are at a higher risk of developing the condition. According to a study, the incidence of familial risk is about 30%.
Anxiety and stress lead to a temporary spike in blood pressure but can obtain a permanent spot if not managed timely. Stress causes the release of various hormones in our bloodstream, which compel the heart to beat more rapidly and also cause vasoconstriction, which is the narrowing of our vessels.
Stress brings about harmful coping mechanisms such as smoking and unhealthy eating habits, which then trigger a cascade of events that all end up in Hypertension.
Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure
Garlic is immensely beneficial in managing high blood pressure. It contains blood-thinning properties that take the load off the heart in its pumping action. Garlic is considered to be a natural diuretic, which means it helps flush away unwanted sodium and water from our blood into the urine.
It is advised to chew a garlic clove whenever you experience high blood pressure. If the taste is too strong, another method is to place it in your mouth and extract the juice for fifteen minutes.
Another technique of ingesting garlic is to blend in a few cloves with water and drink it either on its own or incorporate it in any of your smoothies.
Tomatoes have healing properties, especially in cases of High blood pressure. They contain ingredients such as Vitamin E, Beta Carotene, and Potassium, which help lower blood pressure. It is also abundant in a substance called lycopene, which brings your blood pressure to normal and decreases the level of LDL (bad cholesterol) in your body.
Incorporate more tomatoes in your diet either by eating it raw or in the form of blended tomato juice. Avoid buying packaged tomato sauce as it contains a lot of sodium.
Sesame seeds are rich in lignans, vitamin E, and other antioxidants that prevent the buildup of plaque or fat inside arteries hence reducing the chance of developing atherosclerosis. It is also abundant in magnesium, which lowers blood pressure.
Include one ounce of sesame seeds in your diet or incorporate sesame oil in your cooking for a minimum of two months to see the positive effects.
Coconut water has potassium and magnesium in it, which help control blood pressure. It is considered to be a potassium-sparing diuretic, which means it flushes out unwanted salts and water but holds potassium. It is also believed to have an antithrombotic property, which means it helps prevent clot formation. Coconut water has about 600mg of potassium in eight ounces(240ml).
It is recommended to drink around eight ounces of coconut water at least twice a day. The organic form is preferred over the commercial one.
Egg whites are proven to have a peptide, which eases your blood pressure. According to a study, egg whites are as effective as a low dose medication in controlling High blood pressure. The peptide blocks activity of ACE, which is a substance responsible for increasing blood pressure levels.
You can start with having egg whites for breakfast either on its own or as an omelet.
Dark chocolate is packed with antioxidants, including polyphenols and flavonoids. It enhances the dilation of blood vessels, which then makes pumping blood easier and releases stress off the heart muscles. A study was conducted among older people with Hypertension in which they were asked to consume a small amount of dark chocolate amounting to thirty calories for eighteen weeks. The results showed a decrease in hypertension rate upto 20%.
It is advised to eat chocolate with the lowest amount of sugar but the most considerable amount of cocoa, at least 70%.
Cardamom has diuretic properties as well as many antioxidants. It also causes vasodilation of vessels, which then reduces blood pressure.
Take a warm cup of water and mix in a teaspoon of cardamom powder along with organic honey and drink this mixture twice a day.
Controlling blood pressure requires patience and determination, but it is also very manageable at the same time. Small, easy steps that you can take every day to ensure a healthy heart and an optimum lifestyle. These remedies will surely help take the edge off whenever you feel unstable.