Hypertension or High BP as we call it, can be a very serious condition if it's left unchecked.
According to a WHO report, About 1.13 billion people in the world are suffering from high blood pressure and among those billion people, very few of them have it under control or have managed to reverse it by making necessary changes in their life.
What is Hypertension?
Inside our body, there is a network of blood vessels, through which all the oxygen and nutrients are delivered to the billions of cells in our body.
Inside the blood vessels, there is a barrier between the blood and the tissues, which is known as the endothelial cells, Over a period of time when the blood pressure is significantly on the higher side.
The endothelial cells which are the outer lining of the blood vessel, can get damaged and tear up due to the continuous high pressure of the blood, When this occurs, inflammation takes place in the body, and the damaged outer lining can attract substances such as cholesterol, fat, and calcium, which can form a build-up of plaque eventually narrowing the arteries over time, making it harder for the heart to pump blood throughout the body.
This causes an increase in blood pressure reaching the level of Hypertension which is over 140/90 mm Hg. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80.
What causes Hypertension?
There can be many different reasons for Hypertension, Although the most common ones are
Poor Dietary Habits
Lack of sleep
Lack of Physical activity
What can we do about it?
Hypertension is more or less caused due to our lifestyle choices, So it can only be reversed by fixing the root cause itself.
Our everyday thoughts and emotions play a huge role in creating an environment in the body which causes stress and leads to the rise in our blood pressure, Just by taking some deep breaths every day, you would be surprised by how much of an effect it can have on our blood pressure.
When deep breathing exercises combined with mediation every day, can act as a natural antidote because when you are meditating, the sole purpose of the whole exercise is to be in the present moment and to focus on your breathing.
Now that gives rise to two things, one is that you inhale a lot of oxygen which improves your systolic pressure and second is, at the same time it also improves your self-awareness as an added bonus and keeps you in the present, reduces your stress levels since while meditating you eventually get better in keeping your mind in alignment with what's happening, rather than being reactive to the environment around you.
Choose the Right Salt
We have all heard from our doctors or from people who were suffering from High blood pressure to reduce or stop their salt intake for their BP. The reason why people with High BP are told to reduce their salt consumption is due to the high sodium in it.
Sodium is an essential mineral that our body cannot make on its own hence our body does need sodium chloride for essential functions such as absorption and transportation of nutrients, to maintain fluid balance or for transmitting nerve signals.
Although for every extra gram of sodium in our bloodstream, it needs more water to process it, which it takes it out from the cells in our body, which causes the blood pressure to rise since the heart has to work harder to pump blood because of excess water in the blood vessels.
Hence, instead of using table salt, you can replace it with pink salt, rock salt or black salt, which does not contain sodium in it and is instead made up of the combination of potassium chloride.
Keep your doctor in the loop when this change, However, I doubt any doctor would object to it.
Get up and Move
I am not saying that you need to run a marathon every now and then, Simply stay active throughout the day.
Let's understand something, our bodies are not meant to be sedentary, it's designed to stay active, every day that we don't move enough, we are robbing our body with what it needs to have a healthy immune function which is blood circulation.
This may seem fine at the moment but it can cause a problem as you grow older and when degeneration takes place, which is bound to happen since aging is part of our life. But exercise can delay that, and also prevents you from troublesome conditions like diabetes or blood pressure and many other things. sounds win-win to me.
For people who are thinking, Do I really have to exercise? Yes, you have to. But it is important to not treat it like another thing to do on our checklist for the day. Find something that you excites you, some people enjoy weight lifting but dislike cardio, for others it might be dancing, Zumba, yoga whatever. you find that thing that fits you.
What if you don't like anything at all? Then you simply walk, 30 - 40 minutes a day, or you can do 20 minutes in the morning and 20 in the evening, or you can divide your walks after every meal that you eat. not immediately, let your body digest and process what you ate for a while, then you set off on your little walks. so in this way, you stay active throughout the day and not just for a certain period and remain inactive for the rest.
Rest and Detoxification
Studies show that even an hour of sleep deprivation can cause great damage to our overall health, This does not happen overnight, It is an accumulation of several weeks or months of the hours which were robbed from our mind and body. When we are asleep that's when all the healing, growth, and repair takes place in the body and the brain.
Lack of sleep has also indicated a link to Alzheimer's disease and Dementia. When we reach the end of the day we are full of toxins and while we sleep the body eliminates the built-up toxins in our cells, muscles, organs, etc. with the use of the Lymphatic system for the body and the Gylmphatic system for the brain. Ever wondered why we wake up with foul breathe and taste, or puss in our eyes. Its the body cleaning up all the toxic contents from the day before.
Don't rely completely on your pill
Sounds simple? What it means is, your body is sick and if you keep relying on a pill to solve that problem for you, that's not going to work, Yes you can keep on living by taking medication for your blood pressure, just keep in mind that it's only treating your symptoms, which it does by many different ways, depends on which medication your doctor has prescribed for you. it does not do anything when it comes to healing.
Use your medicine as a support in the beginning because you will need it, however, it's important to work with your doctor and slowly and steadily improve the other aspects in your life and stop medications altogether.
So what we need to do when we have a high BP situation in our body is to provide it with nutrients that are known to help with naturally lowering it. Such as:
Flavonoids are known to work as an antioxidant in the body, it can either work directly by fixing the endothelial cells or indirectly by promoting nitric oxide in the arteries which results in a decrease in blood pressure.
Foods which are rich in flavonoids :
Nitric oxide promotes dilation of the blood vessels, when that happens it improves the flow of the blood in the arteries hence lowering the pressure.
Foods that are rich in Nitric Oxide are:
Dark Chocolate (70% and Above)
Omega - 3
Omega-3 has so many wonderful benefits for our body, and one of its functions includes lowering inflammation because of EPA and DHA content in it. which are the healthy essential fatty acids.
Foods that are rich in Omega - 3:
According to a study, it was concluded that simply by increasing the consumption of calcium in patients of high blood pressure, there was a decrease in their systolic and diastolic pressure. Keep in mind I am talking about dietary calcium and not external supplementation.
Foods that are rich in Calcium
Now Now, hold up, let's not forget, these above foods that I mentioned is not going to win the battle on their own, yes they will help you significantly, Although you must support it with the other points that I mentioned, When combined all together, I don't see any reason of why your blood pressure levels won't improve.