High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke. According to the American Heart Association, one in three adults in the United States has high blood pressure. Blood pressure refers to the amount of pressure the blood puts on the walls of the arteries as it circulates throughout the body. A person’s blood pressure is measured using two numbers. The top number is known as the systolic pressure. The bottom number refers to the diastolic pressure.
A person who has high blood pressure has a systolic pressure of 140 or more and a diastolic pressure of 90 or more. The normal range is below 120 over 80. Medication can help keep this condition under control, but natural remedies for high blood pressure can also be used for treatment and prevention.
Potassium is among the natural remedies for high blood pressure. Researchers believe that potassium lowers blood pressure. It also helps the body get rid of excess sodium. You can get potassium from foods such as yogurt, halibut, beet greens, lima beans, bananas, potatoes, turkey and grapefruit. The American Stroke Association recommends that you get 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily. Potassium is available as a supplement and is sold over the counter.
Seniors should talk to their doctor before taking potassium supplements. Potassium can pose health risks to older people who have kidney disorders. The older a person gets, the harder it is for their kidneys to remove potassium from their blood. They should also get advice from their physician about the use of salt substitutes. Many salt substitutes have potassium chloride in them and can cause problems for people who have certain health conditions.
Fish Oil Supplements
Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids. These essential fats are good sources of DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) and EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid). Numerous studies indicate that DHA and EPA can slow down the build-up of plaque in the arteries, lower blood pressure, and decrease the risk for strokes and heart attacks in people who have heart disease. You can get omega-3 fatty acids from fish such as salmon, mackerel, and tuna. Nuts and vegetable oils also contain omega-3 fatty acids.
Fish oil is also available as a supplement. A study published in the magazine Prevention found that people who consumed 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids a day, saw their blood pressure levels dramatically reduced. It also found that DHA was more effective than EPA. Talk to your doctor before taking fish oil supplements. Certain dosages can put you at risk for bleeding and other complications.
Transcendental meditation can help relax your mind and body. Research suggests that it can also help keep your blood pressure under control. To do this form of meditation, close your eyes and sit in a quiet room. Clear your mind from all thoughts, and focus on a word or phrase. For best results, do this twice a day for about 20 minutes. You can find an instructor by calling 1-888-LEARN-TM.
Researchers believe that transendental meditation synchronizes the mind and body, causing chemical changes that allow the body to heal itself. A study published in the journal Hypertension in 1995 did a comparison between muscle relaxation and transcendental meditation, to see which was more effective in reducing stress in patients with high blood pressure. The group who meditated had a much greater reduction in their blood pressure levels.