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Ten totally natural, science-backed tips to lower your blood pressure

by , 09 March 2016

High blood pressure has earned the name “silent killer." And sadly, it's well-deserved. Heart disease, sexual dysfunction, stroke, kidney failure and aneurysms can all result from elevated blood pressure.

And, with 1 out of every 3 South Africans suffering from this malady, its impact is huge!

Sure, there are many medications that can be prescribed for hypertension. But for a good number of people, elevated blood pressure is a lifestyle disease related to poor nutrition, sedentary lifestyle, stress, poor sleep, obesity, smoking and other factors that can be controlled or eliminated.

In other words, freedom from medication is an attainable goal for many. Read on for a list of 100% natural, inexpensive and side effect-free approaches to treating high blood pressure. PS: These great tips are suitable for people of all ages!

Ten natural remedies to treat high blood pressure

#1: Aromatherapy
The use of essential oils has grown enormously in popularity, and many report a relaxing effect. In a study of spa workers, essential oil vapors reduced blood pressure and heart rate when used for an hour (but no longer). Oils to consider using: Lavender, ylang ylang, clary sage and frankincense.
#2: Probiotics
The role of your gut health, or microbiome, has dominated medical news over the last five years. And in several studies, probiotics were shown to alter blood pressure. I recommend taking a high quality broad-spectrum daily probiotic with over 10 million colony forming units and eating fermented foods, like sauerkraut and pickles.
#3: Asparagus
You’re probably familiar with the famous odor of urine after eating asparagus. But did you also know that the hundreds of active chemicals called cladophylls in this popular vegetable also have positive effects on the heart? Eating asparagus can help lower blood pressure while also packing in lots of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
#4: Meditation
Meditation has been growing in popularity, and research shows that regular practice is associated with a drop in blood pressure. There are many different styles, so you can find one that works for you. Join in the movement!
#5: Yoga
While meditation is certainly a part of this, the movement and sweating that come with yoga practice offer added health benefits. Best of all, this ancient practice is suitable for both the young and old, and studies suggest that yoga can help to lower blood pressure.
#6: Flaxseed
Flaxseed is a rich source of alpha linolenic acid that can reduce inflammation, plus help lower blood pressure. I recommend adding two tablespoons of ground flax to your daily diet — you can work it in to everything from smoothies to yogurt and baked goods.
#7: Beetroot
Beets are a rich source of nitrates and can help relax blood vessels, resulting in lower blood pressure. Whether cooked or juiced, the impact of beetroot juice on blood pressure is worth exploring.
#8: Blueberries
This popular berry is another great source of nitric oxide and can help lower blood pressure. The additional benefits of blueberries on brain and bowel health make them a true superfood.
#9: Sauna
Whether dry, steam or infrared, saunas have been shown to offer some heart benefits . In fact, one study found that in older adults, sauna therapy lowered blood pressure by over 10 mmHg — quite significant.
#10: Sleep therapy
Poor sleep can result in inflammation, stiffer arteries and elevated blood pressure. Identifying and treating sleep apnea, avoiding stimulants before bed, applying sleep hygiene methods like dark and cold rooms, and limiting bright lights for at least 30 minutes before sleep can all assist in better sleep and lower blood pressure.
The bottom line: Time-tested lifestyle factors — eating a diet rich in brightly colored fruits and vegetables, exercising, maintaining proper body weight and avoiding smoking — are the foundation of blood pressure control. Focus your effort on achieving a daily practice of these core habits!

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