Today's walk through Mother Earth's Medicine Cabinet will lead us down the Heart Health & Healing section. There are several different natural ways to lower your blood pressure, such as adding or eliminating certain foods in your diet. Before we move on to the goodies in store that can help you with lowering your blood pressure, I'd like to explain exactly what high blood pressure is.
High blood pressure (HBP) is a condition that is created when your blood pressure consistently remains in the “high” range. Your blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing up against the walls of your blood vessels as it travels through your entire body. It is our heartbeat that creates the pressure responsible for pushing our blood through our veins, capillaries, and arteries.
Two Types of High Blood Pressure/Hypertension
- Primary (Essential) Hypertension: This form of HBP develops through time and there is a combination of factors that contribute to it: genes, physical changes, environment.
- Secondary Hypertension: Various health conditions can cause secondary hypertension such as kidney disease, obstructive sleep disorders, side effects of prescription medications, adrenal gland issues, and more.
How To Naturally Lower Your Blood Pressure
- Increase Potassium-Rich Edibles: Potassium helps your body release sodium rather than it being stored in the kidneys for release. Yes, too much salt is a bad thing, but our body actually requires sodium from salt in order to function properly. Kidney disease can be caused by too much sodium building up, causing further health issues like HBP. Consuming more beans, nuts, seeds, bananas, leafy greens, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, tuna, salmon, avocados, and oranges are all delicious ways of upping the ante when it comes to potassium.
- Add More Cocoa or Dark Chocolate: When it comes to chocolate think small: too much chocolate can have reverse effects. Dark chocolate and cocoa powder are both rich in flavonoids. Flavonoids are plant compounds that naturally dilate the blood vessels. A study found that cocoa successfully improves various aspects of heart health, including lowering high blood pressure. The dilation of the blood vessels helps relax them, hence helping to lower blood pressure.
- Eat Berries: All sorts of berries are delicious, nutritious, and beneficial to our health. This is because berries contain natural plant compounds called polyphenols, which are great for the heart. An 8-week study was conducted including a group of middle-aged people. Those who participated consumed berries throughout the course of 8 weeks and by the end of the study various aspects of their heart health improved, including lower blood pressure.
- Drink Hibiscus Tea: Another delicious option! Hibiscus tea is traditionally used in Iran to treat high blood pressure and it has been used for many years with positive results. Hibiscus flowers and the plant are full of anthocyanins and polyphenols that help lower your blood pressure. Anthocyanins are members of the flavonoid group, which help dilate blood vessels.
- Increase Calcium-Rich Foods: Calcium helps your blood vessels expand and contract, as well as helps send signals within nerves and cells. When we don't have enough calcium in our system our artery walls can tighten, making it difficult for the blood to flow. Calcium also helps the body distribute salt throughout the body where it is needed and put it to use which, in turn, makes it easier on the kidneys.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
High blood pressure and heart health go hand in hand. Not only can you add these food items to your diet to help lower your blood pressure, you can also make small adjustments within your life that will help boost heart healing and overall health.
- Exercise: Getting our heart pumping on a regular basis can improve our heartbeat and our general wellbeing. Yes, walking counts!
- Meditate: Meditation helps calm the mind, body, and spirit. Anxiety and stress can lead to various health issues, one of them being high blood pressure and heart disease.
- Manage Stress: Stress is the leading cause of many illnesses, such as cancer, heart disorders, high blood pressure, anxiety, etc.
- Reduce Sodium & Caffeine: Too much salt and caffeine can wreak havoc on the body. Sodium is needed, but in excessive amounts, it damages our body instead of healing it.
I hope today's walk through the Medicine Cabinet finds you well and in a good way. Remember minor adjustments in our lives can mean major adjustments to our health. Happy Healing!