When I first discovered I had high blood pressure, it was a shock. At my age, having a BP of 178/123 is a little unusual. Besides the usual causes, I was (and still am) under some severe stress, but that needed help fast.
Since then, I’ve learned many ways to get my blood pressure down and keep it that way. For me, this does include medications, and it may for you. However, some of it you can do on your own.
Stress: Who isn’t under a lot of stress? Fears of job loss, money issues, health problems in the family (or us), and various other problems create so much stress, it shows in our body. If this is chronic, one of the outcomes is high blood pressure.
You may wonder how you can reduce stress without drugs. In many cases, there are ways to do so. One that I use most frequently is visualization. I’ve chosen a Bible passage that lets me imagine using all of my senses in a peaceful, serene setting. It can be done any time of the day or night, and it can be done as often as you need it.
Food: What you eat can cause your blood pressure to go up. You may already recognize that a lot of sodium can do it, but so can other foods. Anything with caffeine, whether it’s coffee ice cream or an energy drink will cause your numbers to rise. Candy flavored with licorice root is another food that increases blood pressure.
There are also foods that may help lower your numbers. Garlic is a good example. Adding it to your food is the best way to get it, but you can also use supplements.
Supplements: You’ll want to watch weight loss supplements closely. Not only do they contain caffeine, there are other ingredients that could create problems. Thankfully, one of the worst offenders in the diet pill world has been banned. Ephedra is notorious for causing high readings.
Supplements and herbs can also help. As above, garlic is one example. If the problem is stress, then stress relieving herbs may be a good idea. Chamomile, jasmine, lavender and passionflower can be used for this purpose, either combined or individually.
Exercise: During exercise, your numbers will naturally go up. However, if you exercise on a consistent basis, it can reduce the figures to a normal level.
If you have high blood pressure, solving the problem is going to take a team approach. You can’t do it safely without involving your doctor. He or she can give you guidance about medications, supplements and things to avoid so that you can remain healthy. Make sure the doctor knows if you are taking or plan to take any supplements in order to avoid drug/herb interactions and dangerous side effects.