High blood pressure is a disease that affects one’s health in old age, especially in men after the age of 45 and in women after the age of 65. For a long period, no visible symptoms will be shown owing to which one may not be alerted of the illness developing within themselves. This makes high blood pressure all the more dangerous. However, if certain lifestyle changes are made in our youth along with the consumption of a balanced healthy diet one can avert the occurrence of this life-threatening health condition. In this article, we will cover in brief on HBP and how including certain herbs in one’s diet can help keep this disease at bay.
High Blood Pressure – The Silent Killer
Aptly nicknamed the silent killer, high blood pressure is a disease that adversely affects various organs inside the human body, hindering their smooth and proper functioning. Of the many organs that deteriorate with time, high bp direly affects the heart which can end up with fatal results. This is because blood pressure is directly linked to one’s heart. It can be defined as the pressure exerted by the blood concerning one’s heartbeat, as it contracts. Doctors use a blood pressure cuff to take this reading and diagnose blood pressure issues in people. The reading taken after the heart contracts is highest and is known as the systolic pressure, and the one taken before is the diastolic pressure and is the lowest. The normal blood pressure reading of a healthy person is below 120/80 mm Hg. An elevated blood pressure reading shows as 120 – 129 systolic and lower than 80 mm Hg diastolic. The persistence of this reading is an indication of the development of high bp in the person and care should be taken.
Hypertension is classified into 3 stages namely stage 1, stage 2, and hypertensive crisis in which the last one is the most critical stage and calls for immediate medical attention. Delay in the same may lead to kidney failure, heart diseases, stroke, or even death of the person. Obesity, smoking, alcohol consumption, lack of physical exercise, consuming too much processed or salty food, etc are common factors that lead to high bp. Making apt lifestyle changes can help manage the disease to an extent. Also, early diagnosis is crucial to ensure an improved quality of life as well as longevity
Adverse Effects Of High Blood Pressure on Health
When left untreated for long, hypertension can lead to various health issues. some of those are:
- High bp causes arterial wall damage that in turn causes cholesterol build-up, narrowing the artery leading to chest pain and heart attack.
- High bp causes memory loss and cognitive impairment owing to reduced blood flow to the brain.
- A high rate of reduced blood flow to the brain can lead to stroke.
- Vision problems occur in the form of blurred or reduced vision owing to damage in blood vessels in the eyes.
- High bp can lead to osteoporosis.
- High bp can cause damage to arteries within the lungs leading to pulmonary embolism.
- High bp is said to be linked to sleeping disorders like sleep apnea.
- Kidney failure is a complication of high bp when left undetected for long.
- High bp may lead to sexual dysfunction in both men and women.
8 Herbs To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Consuming a healthy balanced diet is a prerequisite to keep many a disease at bay. Speaking of hypertension, consuming certain herbs may help to reduce high bp as well as lessen its development and occurrence. They are:
- Parsley – Parsley is a nutrient-rich herb containing a variety of compounds like dietary carotenoids and vitamin C. The former component is said to lower blood pressure as well as bad cholesterol levels in people. Studies conducted on animals have substantiated these claims. Studies on human beings are still underway although consuming parsley has shown a significant reduction in high bp.
- Basil – the powerful compounds present in basil leaves makes it a commonly used ingredient in alternate medicines. Not only does this herb add flavor to your food but the eugenol present in sweet basil makes it a preferred food to help lower blood pressure. This is because eugenol acts as a calcium channel blocker that assists in the relaxation of blood vessels.
- Thyme – the rosmarinic acid present in thyme is a powerful compound that has shown to reduce blood sugar levels, inflammation as well as blood pressure. Thyme extract is also known to lessen heart diseases.
- Passionflower – this herb is used to reduce stress and anxiety as it contains powerful compounds that help induce relaxation. This in turn helps to reduce blood pressure.
- Onion skin – onion skin contains a pigment called quercetin which is known to lower blood pressure naturally. It can be infused in tea and consumed.
- Chinese Cat’s Claw – Chinese cat’s claw is a herb that has been an integral component in Chinese medicine to treat a wide variety of diseases. Also, monikered Chotoko or Gou-Teng, this herb contains various compounds that assist in the relaxation and dilation of blood vessels as well as helps lower blood pressure as it mimics calcium chain blockers.
- Coriander – an important ingredient in food that adds flavor, diffuses fragrance, and enhances taste, coriander is an easy-to-find herb that is packed with nutrients. The best part is that it is an affordable herb as compared to certain others and can be bought from stores easily. Coriander is known to help detoxify the body as well as aids in reducing inflammation. It helps to lower high blood pressure by calming the nervous system and by relaxing the capillaries.
- Hawthorne berry – Hawthorne berry is a herb that is extensively used in traditional medicine. It is packed with antioxidants and hence has various health benefits. Hawthorne berry helps to blood fats levels, reduces blood.
Preventive Measures To Be Taken
High blood pressure can be brought down if one makes it a habit to practice the following and make it a part of their everyday lives:
- Ensure to maintain an optimal weight especially after one crosses the age of 30. Controlled body weight can help keep many a disease away from our lives including high blood pressure.
- Reduce salt intake as excess salt in food leads to high blood pressure. An inclination to add more salt in food also increases as one may feel the food is less tasty. Also, avoid processed food as they contain more salt.
- Avoid or reduce smoking and drinking alcohol as both may become habitual and end up causing more harm to the body than one would expect.
- Exercise regularly as exercise not only promotes better sleep, induces relaxation, and helps to get rid of mood swings but it also improves one’s overall health and reduces the risk of disease occurrence.
- Limit caffeine intake and resort to green tea or matcha as it promotes better health.
- Make it a habit to consume more fruits and vegetables preferably raw as it promotes better health.
- Turn to relaxation techniques like yoga, deep breathing exercises, and the likes to reduce stress and anxiety.
- Talk to your doctor or nutritionist to address the issue of high bp as it is crucial in managing high bp.
Hypertension can aptly be defined as a lifestyle disease as many of the factors causing this disease is related to unhealthy lifestyle habits. The more one learns to practice caution and make necessary lifestyle changes the better they can manage their high bp problems. Consumption of a healthy diet inclusive of fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, etc enriched with antioxidants, minerals, vitamins, and the likes is highly essential to help control high bp. The herbs listed in the article not only reduce high bp but also promotes various other health benefits. So, make these herbs an integral part of your kitchen ingredients and watch how your high bp readings will considerably lessen over the weeks.