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High Blood Pressure

What can I do about my high blood pressure?

Question

I have suffered from high blood pressure for the past year- In July I had a mini-stroke and am now on several drugs, including aspirin. My doctor wants me to have my blood Pressure checked every week. Do you have natural remedies and cures for high blood pressure?

Answer

Blood pressure refers to the rate at which blood is pumped around your body. Your blood pressure is measured in two figures, say the 20/90. The first and higher one is called the systolic, the second the diastolic. The systolic refers to the pressure when the heart contracts and the output of blood is maximum. The diastolic is the lower Pressure, when the heart relaxes to let in blood from the lungs.

Blood pressure should always be carefully monitored by your doctor. However, it does fluctuate when you have been active or are stressed. Checking it every week will give your doctor a good picture of what is happening.

Patients who are taking drugs for blood pressure should not come off them unless they are closely monitored, as this may lead to complications such a s stroke, brain or retinal haemorrhage, or kidney problems. You can, of course, follow the advice I give below, but please do not attempt to stop taking your medication without the cooperation of your doctor.

However, for patients who have been recently diagnosed and are below the danger zone (under 125/85 for the under-40 age group' under l50/90 for the over40s), the official medical advice now is to try lifestyle changes such as those I outline below for a year before taking drugs. Very often, this will result in many of the symptoms decreasing significantly, unless hypertension runs in the family or is due to kidney-related problems.

Natural Remedies and Cures for High Blood Pressure:

  • The first thing to do when your blood pressure is up is to lose any excess weight and to control your cholesterol level. I suggest that for one month you eat simple fresh, whole some food, organic if possible, cooked without butter, oil or any other fats. Also do not use extra salt, Build your diet around steamed vegetables and poached chicken and fish, using spices such as black pepper, garlic, ginger, chilli and cumin, plus green herbs such as coriander, to make your food as tasty as possible. Avoid dairy foods, but you can have skimmed milk or low-fat natural live yoghurt.
  • You should also choose 'good' fats and oils – unsaturated fats or lipids- which you find in nuts, seeds, oily fish, olive oil and avocados, rather than the 'bad' saturated fats in full-fat dairy products and red meat This will control your cholesterol. When the blood vessels are frequently constricted, the floating lipids, or fats, are sucked within the arterial wall, creating the plaque, or foam cells, which can cause hardening of the arteries later. This may cause permanent raised blood pressure, requiring diuretic or heart-slowing drugs to keep the condition under control. Research in America shows that lifestyle changes such as fasting, yoga and, meditations in actually reverse the narrowing of the arteries.
  • Every Monday you should go on a fruit and vegetable soup fast start off with a freshly made juice of carrot, apples and ginger. Then, through the day, drink a broth made of vegetables cooked for an hour or so in a chicken or vegetable stock (if this is made from a stock or bouillon cube, choose an organic, salt-free and yeast-free brand). During this period, refrain from drinking coffee, which tenses up the muscles, and alcohol. Also avoid any foods containing salt, such as smoked or cured meat or fish, and any canned, processed or ready-prepared foods.
  • Exercise is vital. This should not be competitive or stress you in any way. Walking and swimming are good, but most helpful of all is yoga. This is for two reasons. Firstly, the relaxation exercises are very beneficial to the brain. Secondly, the breathing practiced in yoga retains carbon dioxide in the blood. The brain interprets this as a threat and forces the blood vessels to dilate, which is exactly the type of action we need when blood pressure is high.
  • You can practise this breathing exercise in bed in the morning and evening. (cover yourself with a quilt because your body temperature will drop.) Inhale for three seconds (without letting your shoulders rise or getting tense), then exhale slowly for six seconds. Breathe in and out through your nose. Don't panic if your muscles giver: this is because your body is asking for oxygen and it is the response we want. Do this exercise for ten minutes. The aim is to do it without arousing logical thought processes. So once you have practised a few times to get the idea of the timing, do it without counting. Try not to concentrate, just feel the soft passing of air through your nostrils.
  • After you have finished your month of controlled eating I recommend taking the Ayurvedic medicine Rasagandha (tablets), which contains a blend of herbs that relaxes your skeletal muscles and mind and therefore dilates the blood vessels. Take one tablet each evening with your meal. If you suffer from water retention, take two to three cups of Gokhru tea (bags) daily.
  • The herb valerians. Take ten drops of valerian tincture in the morning and evening. Acupuncture is also good for this.
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