(NaturalNews) High blood pressure can have potentially serious, even fatal, consequences. The good news is that there are scientifically proven changes to one's diet which can be made to help deal with this condition. While serious cases (e.g. 160+/115+) may require the attention of a doctor and immediate pharmaceutical intervention, too many people and doctors unfortunately turn to medical drugs too quickly, when in reality there are many simple foods and herbs which can help bring mild-to-moderate cases of high blood pressure under control.
Most of us consume large amounts of table salt in our daily diet. And one of the health concerns of high-sodium diets is blood pressure elevation, particularly in those who are sensitive to this mineral.
When it comes to blood pressure regulation, the balance between sodium and potassium in the body is an important one. Thus, other than reducing one's sodium intake, consuming more potassium-rich foods can help bring one's blood pressure under control.
Generally speaking, fresh fruits and vegetables are great sources of potassium. On the other hand, many processed, packaged foods are laden with sodium salt and other harmful food additives. Fruits and vegetables also contain lots of fiber, which help reduce high blood pressure as well.
Fruits rich in potassium include bananas, cantaloupe, apricots, dates, honeydews, mangoes, nectarines, avocados, watermelon, kiwifruit, oranges, pomegranates, and papayas. High-potassium vegetables include celery, spinach, watercress, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower, parsley, Swiss chard, asparagus, winter squash, potatoes, sweet potatoes and artichokes.
Those with kidney disease should note that excessive potassium intake could be harmful to you, and you may wish to seek some expert advice in this regard.
One possible high blood pressure remedy is as simple as drinking lots of water every day. Dr. Julian Whitaker, founder of the Whitaker Wellness Institute in Newport Beach, California, recommends drinking 15 glasses of water each day, about one 8-ounce glass every waking hour.
Water helps relax bodily systems, including one's arteries -- constricted and tight arteries are one of the major causes of high blood pressure. This was his top recommendation for this ailment and, according to him, "Almost all of the blood pressure medications mimic the effects of increased water intake."
Garlic and onions
Research has shown that garlic, both in fresh and supplemental form, has blood pressure-lowering effects. Garlic also provides other benefits to your cardiovascular and immune systems. For example, studies have shown that garlic can help reduce cholesterol levels.
When it comes to reducing blood pressure, eating as little as one clove of garlic a day could help, according to some studies. Some experts suggest that garlic's health benefits are best reaped by eating it raw and chopped about 10 minutes before consumption.
Onions could help lower blood pressure too.
Other specific vegetables
Some vegetables contain specific compounds which have been shown to help lower blood pressure. Tomatoes, for example, contain at least seven such compounds, including gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA), while broccoli contains at least six compounds which help bring blood pressure down. Carrots, too, have at least eight such compounds.
In traditional Chinese medicine, celery has a long history of use for lowering high blood pressure. Eating as few as four celery stalks could produce beneficial effects.
The above suggestions can help for many cases of mild-to-moderate high blood pressure. For serious cases which require medical drugs, once lifestyle and dietary changes have been made and the situation is under control, medication use can be slowly tapered off, under the supervision of a medical practitioner.
A clinical nutritionist and retired chiropractor discusses some ways of reducing high blood pressure quickly here.
Sources for this article include:
Gottlieb, Bill. Alternative Cures: The Most Effective Natural Home Remedies for 160 Health Problems. Rodale, 2000. Print.
Duke, James A., PhD. The Green Pharmacy. New York, NY: Rodale, 1997. Print.
Murray, Michael, ND, and Pizzorno, Joseph, ND. Encyclopedia of Natural Medicine. 2nd ed. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press, 1998. Print.
About the author: Reuben Chow has a keen interest in natural health and healing as well as personal growth.