Natural Treatments for High Blood Pressure

Natural Treatments for High Blood Pressure

By Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC


Have you heard of the many effective natural treatments for high blood pressure? Over 4 in 10 Americans are thought to suffer from hypertension, which puts them at risk of heart disease. However, if you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, or your family has a history of it, you may be leery of the side effects blood pressure medications can have. Diuretics can lead to gout and impotence, and diabetics may find they interfere with their blood sugar. Similarly beta-blockers can complicate insulin medication, and can precipitate a laundry list of side effects such as insomnia, depression, tiredness, and symptoms of asthma. 

Fortunately, there are alternative approaches to stop hypertension. The Holistic Healing Heart Center has multiple options for patients with a preference for non-pharmaceutical treatments. First of all, we recommend that patients with unknown family medical history, or family members who suffer or suffered from heart and vascular problems undergo cardiac genetic testing. Once this is done we can establish any personal risk factors you have and what steps you can undergo to offset those risks. Targeted anti-hypertensive therapy is a particularly common outcome of our cardiovascular genomics work.

Alternative Treatments for High Blood Pressure

There are many means of combating and reducing blood pressure. Lifestyle is one of the most important elements in treatment, regardless of whether you choose drugs or alternative medicine. A healthy lifestyle that includes the following elements can do much to improve a patient’s prognosis.

  • Lose Weight:

 Increases in blood pressure and weight gain are often linked. Sleep apnea, a condition that can disrupt your breathing while sleeping and raise your blood pressure further, is also often caused by being overweight. Even shedding a few pounds can make a notable difference to your health. Most important is losing the visceral fat, which surrounds the organs in your abdomen. For optimal health, your waistline should be under 40 inches, if you’re a man, and under 35 inches if you’re a woman. Try the Holistic Healing Heart Center’s medically supervised nutritional program for responsible weight loss.

  • Regular Exercise

As little as 150 minutes of significant physical activity a week can make a large dent in high blood pressure. Swimming, cycling, gardening, jogging, yoga, or dancing can all fill this role. Consistency is key, though. Halting your exercise regimen can mean that your blood pressure will climb.

  • Eat Healthy Diet:

Diets high in whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and even low-fat dairy products can contribute to lower blood pressure levels. You should avoid foods with high saturated fat and cholesterol, such as red meat, lard, and full-fat dairy products. Saturated vegetable oils like palm oil and coconut oil are also sources of saturated fat and should be cut down on or eliminated from your diet. This eating plan is called the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet, or DASH for short. You should also 

  • Reduce Sodium Intake:

Overconsumption of salt causes your body to retain too much fluid. This has a pronounced effect on blood pressure. Even small reductions in sodium consumption can make noticeable differences in blood pressure. Even people with normal blood pressure should be consuming no more than 2,300mg a day— that’s one level teaspoon. A level of 1,500mg is much healthier. Avoiding processed foods and seasoning your meals with herbs and spices instead of salt are both good ways of pursuing more healthy eating habits. Baked goods often overuse salt to taste more appetizing. Seek out low-sodium alternatives.

  • Don’t Smoke, and Drink in Moderation:

Quitting smoking considerably reduces your risk of heart disease, and can also help your blood pressure return to a healthy level. Unfortunately, even secondhand smoke is a risk factor for high blood pressure and heart disease. If you are otherwise at risk for either of these conditions, it is a good idea to avoid regular exposure to other people’s smoke. Alcohol in small amounts can contribute to a lower blood pressure, but drinking more than the recommended amount has the opposite effect, increasing your mm Hg. The general rule of thumb is two drinks a day for men, or one for women— with a standard pour of wine, a shot of 80-proof liquor, or a standard bottle or can of beer constituting a single drink.

  • Reduce Stress Factors:

While medical research is still being undertaken into the exact effects of stress on blood pressure and the extent to which it is a risk factor, there’s no doubt that managing stress has a general positive effect on personal health. Avoid or reduce your contact with elements of your life that engender stress, such as difficult commutes or job responsibilities that you could feasibly delegate or redirect. Where stress is unavoidable, manage it using mindfulness or other psychological wellness techniques.

  • Use a Heart Sound Recorder:

A non-invasive wellness monitor, the Heart Sound Recorder measures different types of heart stressor to help you identify imbalances and nutritional needs and build an effective heart health plan. The Holistic Healing Heart Center offers this service, among many others.

  • Have Your Arteries Tested:

Your level of cardiovascular risk can be detected via pulsewaves that examine variations in arterial pressure for signs of atherosclerosis (arterial plaque buildup) and stress levels. Ask for the Max Pulse cardiovascular screening at the Holistic Healing Heart Center. It’s a quick, non-invasive procedure.

  • Undergo Cardiovascular Executive Physical:

The Holistic Healing Heart Center also provides a comprehensive cardiovascular and physical examination that will give you and your health care providers the best insight into your heart’s condition. Using this data, together you can build a treatment plan to attain an optimum level of health.

Natural Ways to Lower Your Blood Pressure

 

High blood pressure is a difficult condition to manage, since it is for the most part asymptomatic. It has a reputation for being a silent killer. There are some warning signs that you can be on the lookout for, such as severe headaches, fatigue, confusion, vision problems, chest pain, blood in your urine, difficulty breathing, and an irregular heart rate. If left untreated, it can lead to heart failure, kidney disease, eye problems, or even a stroke.

Dr. Cynthia Thaik recommends an anti-inflammatory diet that incorporates medicinal herbs and spices to reduce blood pressure.

  • Garlic:

Allicin, an antibacterial, antioxidant, lipid-lowering and anti-hypertensive substance, is found in garlic. It causes blood vessels to relax and dilate, allowing the freer flow of blood through the body. Research shows that fresh garlic is of greater cardiovascular benefit than processed garlic.

  • Cardamom:

Commonly used in South Asian cuisine, cardamom’s hypertension-relieving properties have been analyzed. It was found to contribute to significant reductions in the blood pressure of study subjects. 

  • Curcumin:

Curcumin is a major element of turmeric, another popular South Asian spice long regarded as a panacea. For years it has been used to reduce high blood pressure. It also has anti-inflammatory properties. While it should be avoided if you suffer from gallbladder disease, gallstones, or kidney stones, it can easily be used in cooking.

  • Ginger

Few spices are more versatile than ginger. Ginger has been established to improve blood circulation and relax muscles around blood vessels. It adds a welcome refreshing taste to tea or desserts, and can even be mixed into your morning oatmeal. Powdered or fresh ginger both have their benefits.

  • Cinnamon:

Another spice with many potential applications, cinnamon prevents heart disease and can also treat diabetes. As little as a quarter of a teaspoon a day can be enough to have a noticeable effect.

  • Black Pepper:

As well as its antioxidant and antibacterial properties, black pepper can help with digestion and weight loss. However, black pepper’s best health property is the presence of vanadium, which promotes thickened heart muscles in response to blood pressure stress overload, and can also promote cardiac functional recovery in heart attacks.

  • Cayenne Pepper:

Capsaicin is the active ingredient of many over-the-counter ‘hot creams’ that ease joint and muscle pain. It is also the key compound in cayenne pepper. It has a thermogenic effect, creating the sensation of heat where it’s applied, which boosts circulation. It can naturally reduce blood pressure and boost cardiovascular health.

Home Remedies for Managing High Blood Pressure

There are abundant resources available to those seeking a DASH diet crash course. Eating to reduce your blood pressure doesn’t have to be a joyless endeavor. It may mean stepping outside of your comfort zone when it comes to food preparation, however.

One such example meal is baked salmon. With the fatty skin removed, salmon has an exceptional nutritional profile for patients on a DASH diet, or similar program. It can be baked with a breadcrumb and walnut coating to further improve its taste and nutritional value. Walnuts have considerable health benefits, including immense antioxidant content compared to any other nut, lowering blood pressure, promoting proliferation of healthy gut bacteria, and offering a rare non-fish source of essential omega-3 fatty acids. The salmon can be supplemented with unpeeled roast potatoes, and a side salad. The meal is low in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium, while providing a filling amount of protein and a great deal of helpful vitamins and minerals.

Even if you pursue all of these natural treatments for high blood pressure, it is essential to monitor the situation regularly. Have blood pressure screenings frequently to assess the developing situation. In addition, it is wise to discuss any herbs or supplements with your doctor prior to implementing a health strategy that includes them, and don’t stop taking any prescribed medications you’re on without speaking to your healthcare provider. Dr Cynthia Thaik offers more information and support in developing an integrative holistic approach to improving your health, particularly your cardiovascular health. You can book an appointment for our Burbank or Valencia clinics through our website.

About the author

Dr. Cynthia Thaik, M.D., FACC is a Harvard-trained cardiologist serving the greater Los Angeles community at her holistic health center in Burbank and Valencia, CA. Dr. Thaik is the author of Your Vibrant Heart: Restoring Health, Strength, and Spirit from the Body’s Core. To learn more about Dr. Thaik or the Holistic Healing Heart Center, or to schedule an appointment, please contact info@drcynthia.com or call (818) 842-1410.