Health

10 Home Remedies for High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when your blood pressure is frequently higher than normal. Blood pressure is a vital part of the heart… Elizabeth Lilian - March 1, 2017

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is when your blood pressure is frequently higher than normal. Blood pressure is a vital part of the heart and circulatory systems and it naturally rises and falls depending on what you’re doing. Long-term high blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart disease, and if it’s persistently high, it needs to be controlled. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to many health issues like heart attack and stroke, and it can also affect your kidneys.

Though the exact causes of high blood pressure are still relatively unknown there are many factors that can influence your blood pressure, such as family history, eating habits, too much alcohol, weight gain and lack of exercise.

If you are at risk of high blood pressure, there are many lifestyle changes you can do to reduce it. Here are some that you can try at home.

1. Lemons

Lemons are a true superfood. One of the most widely used citrus fruits, lemons are the smallest in the citrus family but contain more health benefits than other, larger citrus fruits like oranges, pomelo and grapefruit. Believed to have originated in the Himalayans, they have since spread across the world. Lemon trees flourish in warm, tropical climates and when fully-grown, they bloom fragrant white flowers.

The health benefits are seemingly endless, and include treatment of sore throat, indigestion, constipation, dental issues, fever, internal bleeding, rheumatism, burns, obesity, respiratory disorders, cholera and high blood pressure. They can also help strengthen your immune system, cleanse your stomach and purify the blood. Lemons are low in calories and contain zero saturated fats and cholesterol. They contain large amounts of essential nutrients like vitamin B6, vitamin A, vitamin E, folate, niacin thiamine, riboflavin, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, protein and more.

Lemons are a very low-GI fruit and contain high amounts of soluble fiber, which can help you maintain a healthy heart by lowering cholesterol levels and reducing blood pressure and inflammation. Research published by Johns Hopkins University suggests large doses of vitamin C may be linked to modest lowering of blood pressure and as lemons contain roughly 88% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin C, they’re an extremely beneficial addition to your diet.

Adding lemon to your daily diet is simple. Juicing one lemon every morning and drinking with warm water is a well-known treatment for kidney stones, and can lower risk of stroke. You can use lemon juice as a salad dressing or a marinade for meat, and the lemon zest is a wonderful garnish on top of many meals.

2. Watermelon Seeds

Watermelons are the quintessential summer fruit. Refreshing and sweet, they are a member of the Cucurbitaceae family alongside honeydew and cantaloupe. The five most common types of watermelon include seeded, seedless, mini, yellow and orange. Though it’s generally believed that watermelon contains only water and sugar, they’re actually rich in nutrients including vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

Various studies have linked watermelon consumption with decreased risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Watermelon is also thought to prevent asthma, aid digestion, reduce inflammation, relieve muscle soreness, and prevent dehydration. Watermelon also contains lycopene, a carotenoid phytonutrient that is incredibly important for cardiovascular health, and citrulline, which is an amino acid that can provide further cardiovascular benefits.

Watermelon has been linked to lowering blood pressure. A study conducted by Arturo Figueroa, a professor at Florida State University, found that consuming watermelon could significantly reduce blood pressure. Eating watermelon seeds to lower high blood pressure is also an Ayurvedic treatment, because watermelon seeds contain cucurbotrin, a glucoside that can lower cholesterol and dilate the blood vessels, which in turn lowers blood pressure.

If you’re eating watermelon to reduce blood pressure, make sure you get the seeded variety. While there may not seem like many different ways to enjoy watermelon, it can be used in gazpacho, soup, curries, salads, popsicles, custard, sorbet, and even beverages.

3. Garlic

Garlic has long been thought to cure many different ailments, from the common cold to the bubonic plague. It’s been used for thousands of years as food, medicine, an aphrodisiac and even currency. It was thought to give strength and courage to Greek warriors, protect pregnant women from evil fairies, and was hung above doors to ward off vampires. Though these may not have been entirely true, garlic still has an extraordinary amount of health benefits.

Adding garlic to your diet has been shown to reduce the longevity and severity of colds by 61%, and can aid detoxification of the body. Garlic is a great source of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C, vitamin B6, copper, selenium, phosphorus, calcium and more. Garlic can positively affect many different systems in the body such as the immune system, inflammatory system, endocrine system, digestive system, and cardiovascular system. In fact, various studies have been able to link garlic supplements to a decrease in hypertension.

The two main ingredients that give garlic these health benefits are allicin and diallyl sulfides. Allicin is the compound that gives garlic that sulfuric smell, and contains antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties. It’s also thought to be the reason garlic can be effective in preventing heart attacks, the common cold, and even some forms of cancer. Diallyl sulfides are less powerful than allicin and aren’t antifungal, but are thought to help lower levels of ‘bad’ cholesterol and support cardiovascular health.

Garlic is easy to include in your diet. It can be added to most meals and eaten raw. It’s important to note that raw garlic is better than cooked, because the cooking process can deplete a lot of the nutrients that make garlic so healthy. But if you do decide to consume it raw, don’t overdo it as too much could irritate the digestive tract. And if you don’t like the strong taste, take a daily garlic supplement instead.

4. Bananas

Bananas are thought to have been discovered and domesticated by humans in New Guinea around 8000 BCE, though there is still much conjecture on this. Regardless of where the banana was first discovered, it has since become one of the most popular fruits enjoyed by millions of people around the world. Bananas are found growing in over 100 countries and contain a wide variety of health benefits.

Bananas are said to aid in weight loss, regulate heart rhythm, and support healthy eyesight. Full of soluble fiber, which helps digestion and makes you feel fuller for longer, bananas contain a large amount of a mineral electrolyte called potassium. This mineral is essential in maintaining fluid levels in the body, as well as regulating the movement of nutrients and waste products. Potassium helps muscle contraction, and keeps the heart beating regularly. Severe potassium deficiency can cause irregular heartbeat, which can be fatal.

Potassium is also known to help lower blood pressure by lessening the effects of sodium and helping the kidneys to function correctly. Potassium helps relieve tension on the walls of blood vessels, which can further lower blood pressure. However, too much potassium (hyperkalemia) can be detrimental to those with kidney disorders. If kidneys aren’t able to filter waste and blood correctly, potassium may build up, which can be harmful.

Including bananas in your diet for the health benefits is as simple as eating one a day. Though you need to consume a large amount of bananas in order to experience any negative side effects, it can happen, so it’s important to keep that in mind. Too many bananas can induce headaches, drowsiness, hyperkalemia, nerve damage and more. Health experts suggest two bananas per day, as that is the daily recommended amount of fruit.

5. Celery

Celery is claimed as a native to different areas over the world, including Sweden, Egypt, Algeria, India, China and New Zealand, but it’s generally believed that it originated in the Mediterranean basin. Celery was originally used in medicine as celery seeds and oil hold medicinal properties. It’s been used to treat colds, influenza, poor digestion and water retention, and although it’s mainly used in cooking nowadays, studies have shown that consuming it can be effective in treating high blood pressure.

Celery contains phthalides, a phytochemical that relaxes the tissues of the artery wall which increases blood flow and reduces blood pressure. A study published in the April 2013 Vol. 5 Issue 4 of Natural Medicine Journal discusses the effectiveness of a celery extract in treating mild to moderate hypertensive patients. Research is still preliminary and more studies must be conducted before a definite conclusion can be reached, however, celery still contains that many health benefits that you can only gain from adding it to your diet.

Celery contains anti-inflammatory properties, and can protect and prevent inflammation of the digestive tract. There are over a dozen different types of phytonutrients in celery, including vitamin C and flavonoids, and it can help protect our bodies against oxidative damage to cells, blood vessels and other organs. Celery also contains vitamin K, folate, potassium, fiber, manganese, calcium, magnesium and more.

Celery tastes delicious on its own, or in salads, sandwiches, soups, stir fry and in smoothies and juices. Because it’s so low in fats and calories, it’s a vegetable you can enjoy in most meals. However, too much of a good thing can be bad for your health, and celery is no different. Even though there is only one gram of fiber in a large stalk of celery, ingesting too much can cause gas, bloating, cramps or diarrhea, so stick to a few stalks of celery per day.

6. Coconut Water

Coconuts are fruit from the Cocos nucifera palm, and the entire plant can be used for many things like food, drink, oil fuel, rope, weaving, lumber, mulch, candles, darts, bowls and even a flotation device. Coconut palms produce fruit all year and can live for up to and over 100 years old. There are over 150 different species of coconuts found on 80 different countries across the world, but they only grow in tropical climates.

The coconut is botanically classed as a drupe, and the flesh and milky liquid inside contains a wide array of health benefits. Different forms of coconut, such as coconut oil and coconut water, have become extremely popular in recent times as the health benefits are further researched. Coconut water has been labelled ‘mother nature’s sports drink’, and is one of the tastiest ways to enjoy coconut. Coconut water contains 94% water and very little fat. Not to be confused with coconut milk, coconut water is full of nutrients like carbs, fiber, protein, vitamin C, magnesium, manganese, potassium, sodium and calcium.

Coconut water contains antioxidants which can protect the body from oxidative stress caused by free radicals, and it’s also thought to reduce the risk of heart disease. Coconut water contains a substantial amount of electrolytes, so consuming it can help balance fluids in the body, boost hydration and lower blood pressure. Coconut water is an isotonic, which means it has the same osmotic pressure as our blood, so it can even be administered intravenously to rehydrate the body in extreme circumstances.

Coconut water can be enjoyed as often as possible, but if you’re drinking pre-packaged coconut water, buy organic when you can. Be sure to read the label to check that it hasn’t been processed or pasteurized as this can remove the nutrients. Look for coconut water that uses fresh juice instead of concentrate, and avoid any brands that have added flavoring or sweeteners, as they won’t contain the same amount of health benefits.

7. Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne peppers (scientifically known as Capsicum annuum) are a close relative of the jalapeño and bell peppers. Cayenne peppers provide a fiery spice and are a staple in South American, Mexican, Korean and other cuisines.

Cayenne pepper contains anti-irritant, anti-fungal, anti-allergen, anti-cold and flu, anti-bacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to prevent migraine headaches, and can stimulate the digestive tract, speeding up the digestion process and supporting a healthy metabolic system. It’s also a circulatory stimulant, and can aid detoxification of the body by increasing the pulse of lymphatic rhythms, heating the body, and making us sweat more.

Cayenne pepper can help normalize blood pressure levels by balancing the LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in the body. Cayenne peppers contain a compound called capsaicin, which is the active ingredient in peppers that gives spiciness and heat. Capsaicin is often used as a pain reliever as it contains analgesic properties that can treat pain or discomfort in muscles and joints. Capsaicin is also a vasodilator which means it dilates the blood vessels and allows blood to flow more smoothly, dropping the blood pressure. A study published on the National Center for Biotechnology Information discusses the potential for capsaicin to support vascular and metabolic health.

Cayenne pepper can be added as a spice to most meals and is a wonderful seasoning for meat, especially poultry and fish. Combine cayenne pepper with lemon juice and honey for a healthy, invigorating morning beverage. However, if your palate isn’t used to spice, be careful when you first try it. Ingesting too much cayenne pepper can cause side effects such as stomach upset or irritation and heartburn, so it’s best to introduce it in small amounts, increasing it each day.

8. Onion Juice

Onions have been cultivated and enjoyed as food for thousands of years, dating back to the ancient Egyptians, who viewed the onion as a symbol of eternal life and were used to treat a variety of ailments like fertility, hair loss, coughs and headaches.

Onions have many health benefits. They’re an allium vegetable that contains a unique combination of flavonoids and other nutrients, as well as sulfuric compounds that give the pungent odor. These sulfuric compounds are thought to lower the levels of cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, while also improving the function of cell membranes in red blood cells. Onions hold anti-inflammatory properties, including large amounts of quercetin, a flavonoid that supports respiratory health, cardiovascular health and balanced blood pressure. Studies have shown that quercetin is associated with a reduction in risk of coronary heart disease and stroke.

The benefits of onions don’t just stop at the flesh. Raw onion juice is equally beneficial, though it may not sound as appetizing. Onions are healthy whether they’re cooked or raw, but cooking them can decrease the amount of phytonutrients and lessen the benefits. The juice of an onion is a great source of sulfur, which can help improve the circulation of blood and promote healthier levels of blood pressure and cholesterol.

Onion juice can be bought online, but it’s best when made fresh at home. Using a juicer is the quickest, easiest way to do it. Onion juice can be drunk by itself, but if you’re not too keen on that idea (and who would be?) you can add it to smoothies and other juices to mask that strong flavor. Onion juice can also be used as a dressing on salads and vegetables, and in soup.

9. Honey

Honey is a sweet, syrupy liquid with a long history of medicinal use. Honey contains an abundance of nutrients like natural sugars, minerals, vitamins and amino acids. The color and taste differs depending on where the nectar was taken from, and there are more than 300 kinds of honey in the United States alone. Lighter colored honey is generally sweeter and more mild in flavor, while darker honey is stronger and is said to produce better antibacterial and antioxidative power.

There are many health benefits of honey, and as it possesses antiseptic, antioxidant and antibacterial properties, its used as a remedy for things like sore throat, acid reflux, open wounds, burns, allergies, infection and relief from colds and flu. It contains sugars like glucose and fructose, as well as minerals like iron, calcium, phosphate, sodium chlorine, potassium and magnesium. Honey has a slightly acidic pH level, which helps prevent the growth of bacteria.

Honey acts as a natural nerve relaxer, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. It can also help those with cardiac problems, stiff muscles, and anxiety. Honey contains tryptophan, which can provide calming effects when absorbed into the bloodstream. In fact, some studies have theorized the use of tryptophan in lowering blood pressure.

It’s easy to incorporate honey into your diet. Use a teaspoon of honey as a replacement for sugar in tea and coffee, spread and enjoy on toast or pancakes, drizzle on top of cereal, mix it in with yogurt, add it to smoothies or drink it with warm water and lemon. Even though honey can provide many health benefits, it’s still a sugar and as such it should be consumed in moderation. Honey shouldn’t be given to infants under one year of age, as it can contain botulinum endospores that, in rare cases, can cause botulism, a severe type of food poisoning.

10. Fenugreek Seeds

Fenugreek is a plant native to southern Europe and Asia and grown in countries all over the world. The entire plant is useful, as the leaves can be dried and used as herbs, the seeds can be ground into spice, and the plant itself can be eaten as a vegetable, much like sprouts or microgreens. Fenugreek is a member of the bean family, and contains many different nutrients, vitamins and minerals.

Fenugreek is a galactagogue and is prescribed in Ayurvedic treatment for nursing mothers who wish to increase their breastmilk supply. It’s also used to reduce menstrual cramps and discomfort, minimize symptoms of menopause, reduce cholesterol and risk of cardiovascular problems, control diabetes, and relieve constipation. Fenugreek can be used to treat wounds, reduce inflammation, relieve gastrointestinal issues, and rid the body of damaging free radicals.

Fenugreek seeds are often used as an ingredient in different meals, and can be roasted and ground into coffee. Fenugreek seeds contain a rich variety of minerals like iron, potassium, calcium, selenium, copper, zinc, manganese and magnesium, and vitamins like niacin, thiamin, folic acid, riboflavin, vitamin C and vitamin A. Fenugreek is high in fiber which helps lower cholesterol levels and regulate blood sugar levels to reduce blood pressure.

Fenugreek seeds can be enjoyed in many different ways such as in salads, garnished on top of meals, crushed and added to curries, or just eaten plain. Side effects of fenugreek are rare, though high doses may result in mild gastrointestinal discomfort. And because fenugreek can have such a strong effect on the female reproductive system, it is not suggested for pregnant women.

If you feel you may be at risk of high blood pressure, it’s important to get yourself checked out by a medical professional. And if you are diagnosed with hypertension, replacing any medication or medical treatment with home remedies is not suggested or recommended. Focusing on making positive lifestyle choices is the best thing you can do to ensure better health and happiness.

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