Natural ways to lower high blood pressure
The Lawton Constitution
High blood pressure kills people. Maybe not right away, but over the long term, hypertension increases the chance that a person will have a heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or dementia.
The trouble is that medications to control high blood pressure often have side effects. That's why many health professionals like to encourage their patients to start with lifestyle modifications. Losing weight, exercising, eating lots of vegetables and cutting back on meat and sugar can lower blood pressure for many people.
There are plenty of other nondrug approaches that may help get high blood pressure under control. Some health care professionals might be surprised to learn that there is science to support many of these strategies.
No sauna bath handy? You also can lower your blood pressure with slow breathing or meditation. People who hate the idea of meditating may find the RESPeRATE device, which helps pace respiration, useful (
What you sip also can help with blood pressure. Hibiscus tea, made from red Hibiscus sabdariffa flowers, can lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure about as much as common medications (
Hibiscus works through a classic mechanism. It inhibits angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE). This is the way commonly prescribed blood pressure medicines such as lisinopril work. In one study, hibiscus tea lowered ACE as well as lisinopril (
Tart cherry juice works through an identical mechanism (Food Chemistry,
Another beverage that has been well-studied is beet juice. A study published in the
Perhaps the tastiest nondrug approach to lowering blood pressure is dark chocolate. One study found that people eating a bit less than an ounce of high-potency dark chocolate a day lowered their blood pressure significantly (ARYA Atherosclerosis, January 2015).
There are many ways to lower blood pressure with and without medications. If nondrug strategies are inadequate, doctors can choose from a wide range of effective antihypertensive medications.
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- King Features